Without a doubt, outsourcing services provide businesses with a competitive advantage, as many services typically offered in-house, like payroll, come to the ambit of trained experts outside the organization, allowing them to save money and time. This enables companies to become more focused on core business functions, and in the long run, remain on the top of the industry ranks.
However, despite the advantages outsourcing provides, companies become inevitably exposed to security risks that may pose a threat to their intellectual property. With this, it becomes crucial for them to observe the following steps to ensure confidentiality when outsourcing services:
Select a Reputable Outsource Service Provider
The first step companies must undertake when they transition to outsourcing is to select a reputable company with appropriate security measures in place. According to a Trustwave Global Security report, bad outsourcing decisions cause 63% of data breaches. These breaches are frequently caused by faulty IT support systems, which companies were unable to thoroughly evaluate due to a focus on costs and service level agreements.
To ensure that their data will remain secure despite being in the possession of third parties, companies must spend adequate time in selecting the right outsource service provider with strict security policies that would protect their intellectual property from any misuse.
Execute a Written Agreement
Written agreements enable parties to limit their transactions to the purposes for which they intend. Once executed, such agreements serve as proof of their intentions and demonstrate their ultimate understanding of the transaction they have entered into.
When companies engage in outsourcing, it is crucial for them to execute written agreements with the outsource service provider as to how their data will be used, transferred, or shared for the purposes mentioned in the contract. This limits the ability of third parties to access their data and subjects them to penalties in the event of a breach, allowing businesses to preserve their confidential information even if it is not in their possession.
Follow the “Principle of Least Privilege”
The Principle of Least Privilege provides that an outsource service provider should be given only those privileges needed for it to accomplish a task. So, if a particular data is not indispensable in performing a specific task, the service provider will not be permitted to access it. This allows companies to limit the usage of their data and information, providing only the amount necessary to get the job done and nothing more.
Constantly Monitor and Audit On-Going Activities
Audits enable companies to check how an outsource service provider is complying with their executed agreement. On the other hand, it enables providers to perform a due diligence review on their compliance. This enhances their security practices, and allows companies to identify weaknesses and potential problems with the database and network for improvement.
How to Tell if an Outsource Service Provider is Secure
A reliable outsourcing company builds its security on three foundations:
- Administrative Security
Administrative security refers to comprehensive security policies that regulate system access, information protection, and internet use to prevent confidential information from being disclosed to unauthorized individuals. To this end, it becomes crucial for the provider to be willing to sign non-disclosure agreements and provide clauses therein pertaining to codes of ethics and anti-bribery laws.
- Physical Security
Physical security refers to data breach prevention measures surrounding the location where the confidential information is being processed. This includes an action plan in case of natural disasters, a physical office and building security, fingerprint access, and CCTV cameras.
- Technological Security
Technological security concerns itself with the prevention of cyber attacks and the preservation of data which are electronically stored. This may include firewalls that protect confidential information from external access, data encryptions, and secure file exchange tools.