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How To Protect Sensitive Data When You Outsourcing

Companies of any scale have been leveraging this practice, trying to cut development costs and access the rich talent pool. However, despite offering significant benefits, IT outsourcing often causes serious data security concerns.

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Why Should You Outsource the IT Department in Your Company

According to Statista, by the end of 2021, the total value of IT outsourcing services will exceed $413.72 billion compared to $395.57 billion in 2019.

Companies of any scale have been leveraging this practice, trying to cut development costs and access the rich talent pool. However, despite offering significant benefits, IT outsourcing often causes serious data security concerns. According to the statistics, about 65% of companies that have used this solution have faced an information breach.

But how to keep data secure while taking full advantage of outsourcing services? This article has gathered guidelines that will let you protect company data and enjoy collaboration with an outsourcing software development company.

1. Ensure In-House Security

When it comes to outsourcing custom software services, first, make sure that you have a robust in-house data security policy. Here are some important tips to follow:

  • Distinguish between sensitive and common data using data classification.
  • Use different ways to protect digital content, such as encryption, digital rights management (DRM), tokenization, etc.
  • Establish strict access control using passwords, PINs, etc.
  • Educate your employees not only to use strong credentials but also to change them regularly.
  • Guide your employees on how to handle and protect the company’s sensitive data.
  • Build a strict Internet usage policy. Internet access in the company should be restricted to business needs only since personal web usage significantly increases the risks of malicious access to valuable information.

2. Choose the Right Outsourcing Vendor

Following the establishment of an internal security policy, the next step is selecting the outsourcing company to meet your security requirements. When choosing among various vendors, opt for the one that:

  • Provides strict security policy.
  • Has a good reputation in keeping customers’ sensitive data protected.
  • Educates its employees about the importance of sensitive data protection and signs non-disclosure agreements (NDA) with them.
  • Considers customer data protection as a core company value.

To understand if vendors meet the following criteria, investigate their data protection measures. It’s reasonable to ask outsourcing companies to define their strategies to store and process valuable information, data and database protection approaches, and practices implemented for vulnerabilities management. What is more, ensure that your potential vendor employs optimal cybersecurity technologies to provide an added level of data protection.

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A trustworthy outsourcing company guarantees data security on three basic levels:

  • The physical level ensures that a third-party vendor can protect your data from physical actions and events such as natural disasters, fires, thefts, etc.
  • The technological level includes various hardware and software tools used to protect data from cyber threats. These solutions encompass email filters, antiviral software, DLP software, etc.
  • The administrative level provides a smooth and efficient security policy. It handles PoLP, Internet use, data protection, NDA agreements, and other issues to prevent sensitive data breaches.

3. Use Principle of the Least Privilege (PoLP)

The principle of the least privilege implies that a user, an application, a program, or a process should have only the minimum of the rights necessary to fulfil their functions. Not only does it reduce the risks of a cyberattack, but it also prevents the spread of malware since it’s impossible to elevate privileges to increase access to a company’s critical systems and sensitive data.

PoLP has to be an integral component of the IT outsourcing policy. When granting privileges to your outsourcing vendor, make sure they have only the necessary amount of access to the company’s valuable assets and continuously review the given rights.

4. Conduct Regular Security Audits

Make sure your company conducts regular application, database, and network security monitoring. This way, you will reduce potential security issues, identify and address vulnerabilities as soon as possible. Moreover, it’s a valuable practice to determine whether your outsourcing vendor still maintains data security controls and follows the established outsourcing rules and regulations.

5. Keep Reviewing Your Data Security Measures With Vendors

When cooperating with a third-party vendor, you should never lose control. Even if you have long-term and productive relationships, it’s important to check if your outsourcing partner continues to meet security standards. Here are some aspects to pay attention to:

  • Make sure that the vendor deactivates unused user accounts. Otherwise, such accounts can be compromised and used with malicious intentions.
  • Find out if your outsourcing partner monitors outbound internet traffic and emails for potential data breaches.
  • Ensure the vendor’s user accounts meet necessary security requirements (strong credentials, adequate privileges, etc.)

6. Ensure a Legal Backup

Although the contract doesn’t ensure complete data protection, it can serve as a legal backup. Sign an agreement with the outsourcing vendor, defining essential security requirements. For example, in this document, you can specify that it’s prohibited to transfer your company’s sensitive data to complex media, or that the data transmitted online should be encrypted, etc.

Final Thoughts

Outsourcing has gained widespread popularity, providing companies with a vast number of operational and financial benefits. Although there are some potential risks related to data security, they should not become an obstacle to experience outsourcing.

By building a robust in-house data security policy, selecting the vendor that follows high-security standards as well, and conducting regular privacy and security audits, you will be able to achieve a win-win situation, enjoying the advantages of outsourcing and keeping your sensitive data safe.

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Computer Network

How Zero Trust Networks Operate

But how do zero-trust networks operate, and what exactly makes them more effective than other types of security?

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Network Bandwidth

Zero-trust network access (ZTNA) is a way of limiting who is allowed to access enterprise networks. As the name implies, ZTNA doesn’t make any assumptions about unknown endpoints, users, or applications other than that they might be untrustworthy. To combat the ongoing risks associated with allowing dangerous actors or applications to exploit network vulnerabilities, ZTNA draws a hard line in the sand and requires proof of authentication and authorization.

It’s worth noting that ZTNA works by only affording information that must be known, and only that much. While this might seem restrictive, it’s not overly cumbersome when you consider the problems resulting from a data breach. In essence, ZTNA reimagines what it means to secure networks. Instead of creating a perimeter of security—a concept popularized by firewalls and other similar technologies—ZTNA instead focuses on building trust on the individual access level.

There are a few reasons why the traditional ways of securing networks, while still valuable, aren’t sufficient for in-depth protection in today’s world. A big part of the issue is that more and more operations are moving to the cloud and remote locations. As networks have to expand to meet this demand, older forms of perimeter protection can’t keep up. But how do zero-trust networks operate, and what exactly makes them more effective than other types of security?

1. What Are the Key Features of Zero-Trust Network Access?

When thinking about ZTNA, it’s helpful to conceptualize it as part of the DNA of your network. Implementing a ZTNA means that every aspect of how your network security functions must follow its protocols. By creating this kind of zero-trust network access, organizations can do a much more thorough job of controlling who’s allowed to access corporate data. These are a few of the key features that are essential to ZTNA:

Comprehensive, Secure Connection – No matter where legitimate users are located, they need to access enterprise networks safely. Good ZTNA creates an ecosystem where all connected users and applications can confidently connect without worry.

Computer Network Expert with Microsoft

Integration with Cloud Platforms and Applications – Your networks aren’t just your own in today’s world. The vast majority of organizations utilize public and hybrid cloud models and use large suites of third-party apps. Integrating internal ZTNA policies with these essential network technologies will help keep your enterprise safer in this ever-changing landscape.

Keep Them Separated – An actual zero-trust architecture doesn’t compromise when segregating potential threat vectors and authentication tools. Keeping each piece independent facilitates a complete zero-trust environment.

Get Experts on Your Team – No matter the skill of your internal IT department, having the expertise of ZTNA experts from a security service provider will create whole new levels of safety.

Don’t Compromise on Reaching Users and Devices – It needs to be comprehensive for ZTNA to be fully effective. This means every user and device connecting to enterprise networks must pass muster.

2. How Do Technologies Integrate Zero-Trust Network Access?

Certain technologies integrate ZTNA into larger, overarching tools. Secure access service edge (SASE) is one example of this. With SASE, you’re getting a combination of a software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) with a lineup of cutting-edge security tools.

The best SASE offerings out there today will typically have an option for enterprises to enact ZTNA protocols on their networks. Having ZTNA come as part of a more extensive offering can help drive cost savings and foster a more airtight and seamless security architecture.

The world of cybersecurity is constantly changing. It’s the job of enterprises to keep up with this, or else risk the loss of critical data. Adopting zero-trust network access policies can help organizations keep threats at bay.

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