If you work for eShares and are going on a business trip abroad, you have to visit a locked closet at the startup’s offices in Palo Alto. Inside it: a safe where employees are required to deposit their work laptops and phones.
The company manages financial information -- like keeping track of employee stock options -- for startups that haven’t gone public. And considering the sensitive information involved, eShares customers often like to do business in person, which means traveling.
“We don't send our actual laptops” with employees when they travel abroad, said Eric Hurkman, chief technology officer for eShares. “We send loaner laptops that have no information on them.”
After an eShares employee returns home, the company wipes the data off the computers.
The protocol is one that large tech companies, which deal in proprietary information, have had in place for years when sending employees to China. But now, a growing number of smaller Silicon Valley tech companies are adopting the security measures in case employees get their devices confiscated by authorities when coming home to the United States.