A checklist for ensuring data and systems security when working with IT outsourcing partners

If you don't want to disadvantage yourself by not strategically leveraging IT outsourcing you do need to update your IT security to reflect the intrinsic added risk

IT Consulting/Digital TransformationUPDATED ON July 5, 2023

John Adam K&C head of marketing


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As an IT outsourcing provider, our role is as a strategic partner that allows our clients to efficiently scale their software development and maintenance resources up and down with project cycles. We also give our clients access to nearshore talent pools and cost savings without the need to build up the often HR and recruitment infrastructure that involves. In the contemporary digital economy, that’s becoming an essential rather than useful quality. 

However, while IT outsourcing’s strategic advantages are well-known and increasingly leveraged, working with third party companies does intrinsically add complexity to IT security policies. To what extent will vary with the nature of the project and client organisation but data security should always be a consideration when working with third parties. Especially when it involves access, or even proximity to, potentially sensitive IT systems. 

As such, if you already work with one or more IT outsourcing partners, or are considering the move, your data and IT systems security policy and systems have to be adjusted to take that into consideration. 

These are 10 important considerations to have in mind and, if appropriate, act on so you are confident your data and IT systems security policy in systems are appropriate and sufficient to your specific requirements and risk profile. 

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10 important tips to keep data secure and prevent cyber threats

If some of the essential guidelines listed down are followed, you can outsource without having any security concerns. Here is a list of 10 tips to help you outsource your IT services in a secure manner.

Select the Outsourcing Company Wisely

Data security is a serious concern, and not all companies will deliver to your expectations. So, picking the right one is an important step while outsourcing. 

Get an outsourcing partner that follows a strict security policy to protect data from any misuse. Furthermore, check if the outsourcing company has strong intellectual property protection laws.

Try to see if the outsourcing company’s procedures match your standards. Find out how they secure their servers, what software solutions they use, and if they have faced any serious security breaches lately.

All in all, research the IT outsourcing partners you choose to work with. Instead of trusting their website, try to ask around. Search for independent reviews and approach their former clients for feedback on their performance.

Set Clear Expectations

The primary step to take while working with an outsourcing company is communicating what expectations you have from them. Start by identifying the most important parts of your data that the company should focus on.

Establish strong communication by discussing expectations, like project scope, data ownership, timelines, and responsibilities. Ask to see what plans they have for protecting your data.

Make them run you through their procedures and how they will handle your data. Discuss their services as well.

Enquire about what measures your outsourcing partner has implemented to maintain security and privacy from cyber attacks. Also, communicate openly about what will happen if you become the victim of cyber attacks later on. 

Provide Training on Handling Data

Training data security is crucial for all employees who actively handle and process customer data. If you do not provide education to your employees, you are exposing your databases to potential security risks.

You should train employees on sensitive data handling to protect data at all process stages. They should also know how to protect their devices when they are away.

Also, you should audit employee handling of customer data frequently. You can keep up with compliance and regulatory procedures and ensure employees know them.

Limit Data Access

Limiting data access is another means of ensuring data safety when outsourcing. Put access controls in place so people can access only the data they need.

Start by allowing other companies to work remotely using your cloud services. This enables you to monitor their tasks closely and have proof in case of data breaches.

Access to data should also be limited to only what is required to carry out their work obligations effectively. This not only safeguards sensitive data from loss or theft but it also ensures more efficient data management.

Perform Regular Backups

It is important to perform data backups regularly to have a complete IT security strategy. There should be solid backups in place to ensure companies have access to crucial data even after accidental file deletion or complete data theft. Store your backup data in a safe location to protect it from loss.

Review Security Logs

Security logs hold loads of information to help a company minimize exposure to intruders, malware, and data loss in its network. These logs provide detailed insights into the nature of any major threats to their data security.

When you have this information, spare some time to get what measures are in place to protect data from these cyber threats. Even if the third-party service providers may not share details, get basic information on how they address and defend against threats to keeping the data safe during the data capture or entry process, data storage, or other data services.

Keep Security and IT Solutions Separate

It is common to confuse your data security, and IT teams since both handle copious amounts of sensitive information like customer credentials or data. Both teams use and understand technology more deeply than others. However, they do so for different purposes.

While IT teams manage information systems and equip personnel with tools as required, data security teams protect those systems and ensure nothing affects them. Therefore, addressing these two departments separately is the right approach.

Form In-House Tech Security Teams

To ensure your data is safe right from the moment it is generated, it is important to have expertise in the company’s IT and technology, apart from having in-depth knowledge of the entire data life cycle.

You can shrink the data security load by creating an in-house security consulting team. Having an in-house security team is the most efficient approach to pooling expertise in an effort to manage data security.

The new team can work with your outsourced team to ensure they deliver the best results without costing as much as a full-fledged team.

Check Technology and Security Requirements

Technology is advancing rapidly, making it compulsory for your cybersecurity strategy to keep pace. The company’s in-house and outsourced IT and data security teams should regularly review the latest technology and monitor upcoming security threats repetitively.

What’s more, they should also consult with all third-party data service vendors, like SaaS platforms, involving data collection and entry outsourcing companies, to verify if they are informed about the new threats and formulate different ways of preventing/handling them.

Choose a Safer Browsing Experience

When working remotely, it is common for employees to perform their job duties using a shared or private network. Malicious actors can easily intercept traffic exchanged over a public network.

So, employees should be encouraged to use a virtual private network when accessing sensitive data. Different types of VPNs are available for different operating systems, like macOS, to offer a better, safer browsing experience.

Final Words

Data is the most valuable asset of an organization and IT systems security non-negotiable in today’s digital economy. Any breaches could result in significant reputational and financial damage; as such, they should be given utmost priority. By following the above-mentioned tips, you can go a long way towards securing your data against cyber attacks and other forms of breach. 

K&C – nearshore outsourcing the way you need IT

K&C is a Munich-based IT outsourcing services provider with a track record that goes back almost a quarter of a century. We’ve had contracts with some of Europe’s best known corporations for almost as long as that and would love you to be the next client relationship that lasts for years!

Optimise your budget for IT talent with our 3 nearshore rate tiers and range of delivery models from fixed price and staffing to full-service outsourcing.

How much could you save? Get our rates or ask for a fixed price quote today!

Optimise my IT costs now!
How much could you save? Get our rates or ask for a fixed price quote today!