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Top Secret

Confidential data should be handled with care.

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This story appears in the June 2007 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Whoever controls the flow of information controls the deal. That's why tough deal-makers are notoriously tight-lipped. But if you must give up a secret, consider a confidentiality (nondisclosure) agreement. It'll specify what is secret and who does and doesn't get to know.

What is confidential? If you're the one with the secrets, the broader the definition, the better. If you're on the other side, however, that all-encompassing definition can hurt you. It's generally unfair to ask someone to keep confidential information that becomes publicly available, information they already have, information they got from someone else who has nothing to do with the deal, information they developed on their own or information they may be required by law to disclose.

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