You can take all available legal steps to help prevent the theft of your intellectual property, including requiring employees, vendors and clients to sign nondisclosure agreements (NDAs). You can limit access to those required to have it. However, these days, your biggest intellectual property theft threat may come from hackers.
That's why it's essential to put as many safeguards in place as possible on your systems to keep unauthorized users from breaching them. Otherwise, you may have your intellectual property stolen and not even realize it until you see it popping up somewhere else.
Increased security measures can be expensive. However, a multi-layered online security system may be necessary to prevent a much more expensive theft of valuable information.
System protections like web application firewalls are crucial. However, relatively simple things like the proper training of employees are also key. Everyone with access to confidential information should be required to use strong passwords that can't be easily guessed and to ensure that they aren't written down anywhere. Employees should be trained to note any suspicious activity and report it immediately.
Don't underestimate the importance of physical security of your premises, computers and other equipment. If you're just starting out and working from home, having your computers in a largely unsecured garage can be an invitation to theft. So can working on your laptop at the local Starbucks.
It may be worth the investment to bring in a security consultant. They can review your security measures and help train your employees.
If your intellectual property is stolen by hackers, talk with an attorney to determine what steps you can take to protect it from being misused and what legal steps you can take to hold the thieves accountable for their actions and any damage they've caused.