How to keep your innovation data secure with startup partnering?

August 13, 2021
Privacy and security are chief concerns when it comes to sensitive and internal information in corporations, especially when you work with an external organization. In this article, you will get an overview on how to keep your innovation data safe and secure with startup partnering.

The startup ecosystem presents an invaluable and under-utilized source of solutions that can create significant impact in corporations’ innovative activities. But partnering with an outside enterprise will undoubtedly raise organizational concerns, especially in the realm of privacy and data. This begs the question - how can you keep your innovation data safe and secure when partnering with startups?

Your job as an innovation unit is to facilitate safe and impactful projects between your company needs and startups. We have developed an infrastructure in which we take care of the documentation in order to remove the barriers to trying startup solutions. 

Top 3 concerns regarding privacy and security

When inviting collaboration with an external organization, innovation units need to delicately balance the availability of company data on hand with privacy and security issues. There are three primary concerns that internal stakeholders bring up when it comes to startup partnerships.

1. How do we maintain the privacy of our personal data? 

We cannot spread our contact data as we need to keep our email inboxes clean, and the General Data Protection Regulation strictly regulates how companies protect EU citizens’ personal data.

2. How do we prevent leaks? 

Our business secrets cannot be revealed to the public as competitors might take advantage.

3. What aspects of the partnership would be shared with others, even within our own organization? 

The results of the project might be less than desirable - if it fails, we would not want it to be publicized. If the project is highly confidential, we would want to keep it under the radar.

How the innovation unit can support safe data handling

Data security and privacy are valid and important concerns when dealing with startup partnering. However, this should not discourage you from engaging in partnering activities as the opportunity to gain learnings, insights, and adoptable solutions through venture clienting is valuable and can significantly cut R&D costs. 

As an innovation unit, you can keep the data safe in the following ways:

1. Listen to and collect the concerns from your business units so we can tackle firsthand your issues with startup solutions. The innovation unit would act as the gatekeeper of information between you and the startup, adhering to the GDPR protocols in place. We recognize the importance of safe data handling and thus would put your privacy concern as first priority.

2. Create standards for legal documents and frameworks which can be immediately put into effect for the pilot phase. This includes NDAs, Data Processing Agreements, and IT security frameworks among others. With this provided data security documentation, you would be able to get the project started as soon as possible and push the long legal process to a later stage after the pilot is completed. At this point, you would be able to know whether the startup solution will solve your problems or not, and decide how to proceed from there on out.

3. Let the BUs know that they are in full control of what is shared about the project and to whom. You can define the success metrics to share when creating case studies to show the results of the partnership, and if the project did not advance as planned, we will not report the end result. If it is a highly confidential project, we will keep it behind closed doors.

We understand that data security and privacy are vital issues to consider when partnering with startups. As an innovation unit, you should make sure they are addressed and prioritized in order to ensure that your internal stakeholders feel safe and comfortable when partnering with startups.


GlassDollar offers an end-to-end PoC management software solution that helps global companies like BSH, Daimler, Telefonica, and Miele scale the adoption of impact-driven technologies.

Are you looking to make your startup collaborations more impactful and scalable? Then book a free consultation with our innovation success managers to identify the next steps towards optimizing your startup partnering activities.

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