Every time companies outsource their business processes or software development projects, they face the need to grant access to their corporate information. That usually prevents many of them from using outsourcing to its full capacity, unless they are able to choose partners, which can ensure full data security. Here is an overview of the options to choose among the outsourcing service providers, and the possible ways of avoiding the main pitfalls in terms of protecting sensitive information.
Near-shore technology shops
These are business process outsourcing service providers and software development companies established in your own country. Yes, they charge a higher fee, but that is covered by no need of expensive business trips abroad, and the necessity to deal with a cultural and time zone gap. You have the possibility to communicate with your partners as often as is necessary, and keep your hand on how your information is used and how many of the outsourcer’s staff are authorized to use your data by conducting regular audits.
In case of any disputes, you and your corporate information are protected by the law of your country and an agreement encompassing all the sensitive issues concerning information security. In other words, there will be less unpleasant surprises while near-shoring due to common mentality and legislature.
Hiring a freelancer
This is the cheapest way to outsource your tasks, but also the trickiest one. First of all – how do you find a real person; through accounts on recruiting sites or through word of mouth? Another danger is how do you make sure the freelancer uses your information safely? No-one can guarantee that your contractor keeps all his or her devices protected enough regarding firewall management, network security, vulnerability scanning, anti-malware or endpoint security.
Unless you hire someone from an agency, in which case the organization you cooperate with ensures all the necessary steps for information security. Thus, opting for a freelancer in order to cut on the costs you may lose control of your business processes and end up paying with your own data security, which is not the price you would like to face.
Outsourcing to a company in a region with lower market price for the service
Such agencies provide you with professional and reliable experts to whom you can grant access to your information. You sign a contract which will take on liability for your information security and will vouch for their staff. This way you may avoid a lot of drawbacks you face when outsourcing to a freelancer.
This option seems to be the happy medium between the two abovementioned and gives you a lot of advantages in terms of qualified staff and funds economy, but you should keep in mind that you are working with a foreign company, which abides by the laws of its country. Is the data protection policy of your outsourcing service provider sufficient? Does the country of your partner have enough legislatures on private information, and how secure is sensitive data there? Do you and your service provider understand data security the same way?
It should be safe to sign a data transfer agreement, eliminating any risks of going to court in a foreign country before you grant access to your information. Such agreement should stipulate whether the corporate and sensitive data may be processed according to the law of your country or according to the outsourcing provider’s countries laws. It should also be kept in mind that according to the legislature of most countries, the confidential information may be disclosed upon the request of an authority.
You may as well resort to the protection of information transmission channels, data encryption, and access management while outsourcing abroad as the means of data protection.
It is a fact that although you may outsource your projects, you cannot outsource the consequences of what happens when your data security is breached. Therefore it is necessary to weigh up all the circumstances before you go for one of the abovementioned variants.
If you need to subcontract some trivial tasks and you are on a tight budget, you may opt for a freelancer, however, if you take the matter of your business security seriously, you would want to cooperate with a reputable legal entity.