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Tips For Keeping Conversations Secure In A Strategic Partnership

     
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In business, it can often make more sense to partner with another company than to develop a particular skillset, product, or asset internally. By joining forces, both companies can leverage the strengths of the other to become a stronger business.

Strategic partnerships require a certain degree of information sharing ,which, if not carefully thought out, can put intellectual property at risk.

The conversations that are necessary to determine the terms of a strategic partnership and to manage the relationship once the partnership is in place pose one of the largest risks- and are, at the same time, unavoidable.

Though risk cannot be avoided completely, with some forethought and planning it can be carefully managed and greatly reduced.

Creating A Contract: Covering All Bases

There are many factors to consider when creating a contract for a strategic partnership:

-Co-inventorship
-Intellectual property ownership
-Technology transfer
-Exclusivity
-Competition
-Poaching of employees
-Rights to business opportunities created during the partnership
-Splitting of profits and expense
-Duration and termination of the relationship

And this is only a partial list of all the factors that should be considered—which means that establishing a strategic partnership requires extensive thought and negotiation. This can lead to multiple iterations of contract reviews and updates by each company's legal team. The process may also require sharing secure information in order to evaluate the true value that each member of the partnership is bringing to the table.

Keeping that kind of detailed and sensitive data secure, while also making sure all the parties involved are able to access and view the appropriate version of each document, can be difficult. Using a secure cloud storage solution is one possible solution and can help ensure that no one accidentally views an old version of the contract, while also protecting sensitive information from the vulnerability of other data sharing options, such as email.

Remote But Secure

Often the very nature of a strategic partnership—two different companies working together—means that everyone who is involved in making the partnership work cannot always be in the same room. Even after a contract has been created, team members will need to share sensitive information with new partners. Manufacturing specs, supplier and distribution agreements, and financial information, for example, will need to be reviewed by employees on various teams to ensure all the terms in the partnership are being upheld.

Again, using a secure cloud-based storage system, such as a secure virtual data room (VDR), can be an effective way to facilitate this process. A VDR offers the ability to set user-based permissions, allowing information to be shared with those who need it, without disclosing it to those who do not.

Can you think of other ways that a VDR might lend security to your strategic partnerships? Let us know in the comments.