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How to protect customer data when outsourcing support

How to protect customer data when outsourcing support
How to protect customer data when outsourcing support
Learn the best practices for protecting customer data when outsourcing support services. Ensure the safety and security of sensitive information with our expert tips.
Posted in: Business Management
How to protect customer data when outsourcing support
How to protect customer data when outsourcing support

74% of firms who experience data breaches claim that third-party providers were responsible. However, when researchers delved deeper, they found the blame was shareable as only 49% of companies properly vetted the vendor's security protocols.

According to the team at supportyourapp.com, the Support-as-a-Service company, it's critical to vet any vendors with whom you plan to work. You have a duty of care to your clients to ensure that you store their data responsibly.

Should you share it with a third party, they must adopt appropriate levels of care. If they do not, your company remains liable as the client shared their information with you.

Does this mean you should avoid outsourcing functions that involve sharing sensitive customer data? Not at all. What it does mean, however, is that you must instead be careful when you do so.

The following tips will make it easier to protect your data before you share it with a third-party provider. 

Map Your Data Flows Accurately

The first step is to understand the journey your client data takes from the first entry until you dispose of it. Next, we recommend mapping the data flows and identifying any bottlenecks or potentially troublesome areas.

Look for:

  • ways to streamline data management by removing outdated steps,
  • data security accountability strategies at every stage of the journey,
  • ways to remove extraneous information and halt its collection,
  • methods of creating a robust set of guidelines for data management, and how to enforce those guidelines.

Once you are sure that your company's data management policies are airtight, you can start to assess the potential risk in outsourcing. 

Assess the Potential Risk

 Before you start to look for a new outsourcing partner, you need to understand the risks you may face in terms of:

  • Data sensitivity,
  • privacy laws and regulations that apply to clients in the regions you serve, and
  • your transaction volumes.

You need to be sure that your potential partner can adequately protect your data.

High-level encryption is a good start, but how does the company vet potential employees? Do they perform a security clearance or background check? How do they manage access to their systems and offices?

High-level security means little if a contractor fixing an electrical error can walk over to an empty computer and download information.

Also, do employees work remotely and, if so, do they use their own devices? Who else can access these devices at home and are their wireless networks secure? Physical data security is as important as cybersecurity.

The level of protection overall is only as solid as the team behind it. How adept is the business's IT security team? Has the company developed any proprietary software, and, if so, what kinds of bugs are there in it? Poorly developed software may indicate a lack of the knowledge you need to protect your data. 

Consider Hiring a Security Expert to Test the Vendor

 Companies are adept at marketing themselves and so will not highlight security weaknesses. If you deal with highly sensitive data, you need to perform a complete security check.

This may include:

  • Ordering a risk profile: It's far less expensive to hire an assessment and rating service than to deal with the fallout of a data breach. Approach this as you would if you were taking on a business partner, as it's your reputation at risk.
  • Pen test the company: Pen testing is part of performing your due diligence if you deal with sensitive information. A reputable company will welcome the opportunity to have their systems tested in this manner. After all, this rigorous procedure helps them identify potential shortfalls as well. 

Wrapping up

There is a risk when entrusting your data to a third-party provider. However, you may minimize that risk by thoroughly vetting the party concerned.  

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Sunday, 21 April 2024
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