If you’re in the business of developing websites, your main focus will be honing the tools of your trade and producing amazing websites. However, that other vital aspect is securing clients to work for, and this means dealing with all sorts of legal weirdness. The one you’ll see most often in a client relationship is the Non-Disclosure Agreement, or NDA. If you have no idea what this is or why it matters, I’ll try to explain it to you as succinctly as possible.

An NDA is a type of contract in which the web developer, typically called the receiving party, agrees to keep confidential certain information it learns from their client, typically called the disclosing party. NDAs can also be mutual, whereby each party agrees to keep certain types of shared information confidential. Frequently, an NDA will specify that the project, such as the development of a new website, should not be discussed except with those who have also signed the NDA.

Why do people use NDAs? For the client, it allows them to be up-front with their demands and interests from their project. Things like sensitive client and company information, or trade secrets are usually what’s at stake, and an NDA prevents you from disclosing that information for personal gain or any other reason, besides a legal inquiry. Many potential clients will ask you to sign such an agreement, and will probably walk away if you refuse, as it implies you’ll tell the world things that the client doesn’t want disclosed.

Of course, you ought to read the NDA before you choose to sign it: the agreement may overreach and prevent any kind of whistleblowing or discussion of the project, or contain a provision that wouldn’t normally be part of a typical NDA. Timing is a good indicator as to whether the client is trustworthy: if they ask you to sign a NDA by the first conversation, they’re either working on something extremely sensitive (e.g. government projects) or they want to tie you to a contract before you even know what you’re really working on.

The length of the contract, and the consequences of breaking it should also be considered. If it isn’t crystal clear for how long the NDA will last, you may not be able to capitalise on your work. In the event that one or both parties breach the agreement, the NDA needs to be clear on the consequences. A breach could lead to legal liability, monetary damage, loss of professional reputation, even a stop-work injunction from a court — not to mention the headache of being caught up in a lawsuit. Both sides should fully understand what they are asking, what is being asked of them, and what the consequences are if one or both parties do not abide by the terms of the NDA.

For many, the legalese of NDAs can be incomprehensible and stress-inducing, but if you want to work with big-time clients, you’ll be expected to sign one, and it’s the gateway to important projects that’ll give your CV an impressive mark of confidence. Chetaru is an web design and development agency based in Darlington that is excited about building a better future with the latest technological and IT solutions available. Chetaru has the IT know-how that your firm needs to succeed and thrive, from beautiful responsive websites to economical SEO services and useful mobile app designs.

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