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Before You Outsource, Consider Risks and Security

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Enterprises today are still choosing to outsource many IT functions despite the sometimes negative views of the practice. For many businesses, the only way to affordably provide skilled IT services is to sign on with an outsourcing company. If your company is considering the option of outsourcing some of its IT processes, management should create a list of areas of concern and go through each scenario prior to signing on the dotted line with an outsourcer.

The foremost concern for the enterprise should, of course, be security and privacy. How would email, smartphones, instant messaging, VPNs, and even documents and paperwork be affected by outsourcing some IT services to a company overseas? Are your networks ready to handle such risk? Are proper governance and procedural documentation in place to spell out what is and is not allowed and how outsourcing issues will be handled?

A good reference for any business contemplating outsourcing is the book “Managing Risk and Security in Outsourcing IT Services.” This informative book provides a detailed guide to securing your networks, people and processes while outsourcing IT services.

In our IT Downloads area, you can read Chapter 3, Before You Decide To Outsource.  This chapter outlines how privacy and security issues can impact outsourcing. It gives background on setting up secure communication in various areas including mobile devices, email and snail mail. You will also learn how outsourcing affects the overall IT organization with specific information on legality issues, personnel challenges and technical aspects.

As pointed out in this chapter, outsourcing is not the right choice for all enterprises. An interesting description given in Chapter 3 goes like this:

Outsourcing is like giving up a hand-tailored suit that fits like nothing else. Most companies will not achieve this “right fit” by outsourcing parts or all of IT. It might result in a more mature IT environment with less cost, but it needs to be understood that this will be more akin to the suit off the rack with some slight modifications than the handmade IT-Armani suit that every chief information officer dreams of.

Any CEO or CIO with a thought about IT outsourcing to save the budget should at least check out this chapter. It reveals eye-opening issues that the enterprise should deal with prior to even opening discussions with an outsourcing company. Outsourcing shouldn't be entered into lightly and this book provides considerable background on the challenges that will lie ahead for a company that provides IT services via overseas channels.

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