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Cybersecurity

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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Cryptocurrency

Should Your Business Accept Cryptocurrency Payments?

Cryptocurrency users have grown in number in recent years, and so has the variety of cryptocurrencies they are adopting.

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Ethereum Cryptocurrency

The payment options you accept in your physical or online store can be important in convincing your would-be customers to complete their transactions with you. If a customer cannot find their preferred payment option in your store’s list of accepted payments, they might not push through with their purchase and look for a business that aligns with their preferences.

Losing business in this way can be devastating for an establishment trying to set itself up for success in the digital age. As such, businesses should carefully consider whether or not to accept payments in the form of cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency users have grown in number in recent years, and so has the variety of cryptocurrencies they are adopting.

Would it be a good idea to add this mode of exchange to your establishment’s list of accepted payment methods? In most cases, the answer is yes—especially if you’re eager to enjoy the following benefits and prepared to deal with the complications that come with it.

1. The Pros and Cons of Transacting in Cryptocurrencies

Having a Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Moreno wallet for receiving cryptocurrency payments from your customers can provide you with the following advantages:

2. Access a Wider Range of Customers

Once you start accepting cryptocurrencies in your digital or physical store, you make it easier for techie customers to purchase your products or services. Your market will not be limited to people who pay in cash or credit, as it will also include a portion of the people who have invested in cryptocurrencies in the past few years.

You’ll also be able to accept payment from anyone from anywhere, given that you can live up to your side of the bargain by delivering your goods or providing your services to the place where the customer indicated.

3. Ability to Provide Better Customer Experiences

Privacy is becoming rarer these days, and many customers would like to use their assets without compromising their data or being subject to scrutiny. Using cryptocurrency, your business is catering to their needs without risking their personal details. The same can be said for your business, as the protection offered by transacting in cryptocurrencies goes both ways.

4. Conduct Business with Lower Transaction Fees

One of the main draws of accepting cryptocurrency is a lack of a central system to regulate the flow of coins and tokens. This allows individuals and organizations that transact in cryptocurrency to choose an intermediary that can offer them the most favorable transaction fees.

Cryptocurrencies Bitcoin

Instead of paying 2 to 4% of each transaction to a credit card company or an intermediary, a business can cut down that cost or even eliminate it entirely. Also, there’s no need to wait for payments to clear foreign banks when transacting with crypto, even if the person paying you is based in another country.

At the same time, accepting cryptocurrencies also opens up your establishment to the following risks:

5. High Level of Price Volatility

It’s a well-known fact that cryptocurrencies are quite volatile. The price of the coin you use, BTC, ETH, or XMR, can change dramatically in a day. This, in turn, will affect how you will translate the value of your cryptocurrency assets and include them in your financial records.

You need to be able to quickly and regularly exchange the crypto coins in your wallet for digital or physical cash to protect your business from the drastic changes that the cryptocurrency market often goes through.

6. Technical Barriers and Upkeep

Cryptocurrencies are still developing and will continue to change to reflect the communities that support them. It’s a must to familiarize yourself with the current technologies behind this asset.

Still, you also have to keep an eye out for up-and-coming developments that can impact the coin you support and the community behind it. You need to be prepared for the changes this asset will continue to go through if you want to use it effectively for your business.

7. Regulatory Uncertainties

Cryptocurrencies offer a fairly new way of trading, as the first cryptocurrency was only released in 2009. Laws can be pretty slow in keeping up with technology, and digital coins and tokens can sometimes exist in regulatory limbo.

This can mean that, in many places, the people and organizations that use cryptocurrencies cannot expect the same level of protection afforded to consumers who use more traditional means of trade and exchange, such as fiat money and credit cards. It can also be difficult to determine how cryptocurrency assets should be declared in forms and regulatory reports.

There are many benefits when catering to customers who wish to conduct their business using digital coins. Accepting payments in the form of cryptocurrency as early as now can boost your establishment’s reputation among progressive-minded customers who see the role that crypto coins and tokens will play in the future.

Also, being a part of the cryptocurrency community early on will enable your business to easily adapt to future technologies that may develop from such a dynamic environment.

However, it’s important to consider whether your business is prepared to face the possible complications of going this route. Only by being fully aware of these risks and possibilities can you maximize the opportunities that cryptocurrencies present to your establishment.

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