Whether big or small, a customer base is vitally important to any business. Depending on the size and sophistication of a business, a customer list may be kept in one's head, on index cards, in a book or on a computer. Regardless of how that customer list is kept, a business wants to take steps to protect that customer list from being disclosed to people outside of the company, especially its competitors. And by taking those steps, a business may be able to qualify its customer list as a trade secret, which would allow it to take advantage of certain legal protections, such as those offered by the Uniform Trade Secret Act. This Act is an important tool in preventing third parties from obtaining and using a business's customer list.
Though your business may not have "secret recipes" for cola drinks or fried chicken, your business undoubtedly has some process or information that it believes gives it an advantage over its competitors. This confidential information may take many forms such as a customer list that has been created through the years at considerable expense and effort; a product design that a business's competitors do not have; or a pricing formula that generates greater profits. Importantly, if a business takes certain steps to keep this information confidential, the law will help protect it from becoming public information and getting into the hands of competitors. On the other hand, if a business does not take the correct steps your competitors are free to gain access to your information and use that information to their advantage.