Information Security is a big issue when it comes to outsourcing. With the recent incidents of data breach, including the alleged security breach of Qatar’s largest bank earlier this month, more and more businesses are becoming wary of outsourcing their services to third party providers.
What is Data Breach and how does it happen?
Data breach is when sensitive, personal, protected or confidential data has been accessed, viewed, stolen or used by unauthorized parties. A very common concept of data breach is when an attacker hacks into a corporate network to steal confidential data. These data may include log in credentials, personal information like Social Security number or other sensitive information.
One notable example is the recent hacking of Verizon Enterprise Solutions, a telecommunications giant which suffered from the theft and resale of its customer data. The offer was posted in an closely guarded underground cybercrime forum, selling the contact information of some 1.5 million customers of Verizon Enterprise for $100,000. Verizon is still in the process of alerting affected customers and only time will tell how much this security breach will affect the company as whole.
How do you secure your data?
When thinking of outsourcing or if you’re already outsourcing, here are some tips on how to make sure that your data and processes are protected.
Find a vendor that has a solid and comprehensive information security policy. For example, ISO 27001:2013 is an information security management standard that “specifies the requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining and continually improving an information security management system within the context of the organization.” This means that the certified company implements a systematic approach to securing and managing information being processed by the company.
Protect your data by employing the use of database monitoring gateways and application layer fire walls before outsourcing. These devices can help you enforce usage policies. Such devices can also prevent privilege abuse and vulnerability exploitation.
Design a specific system of handling data and educate your employees or your outsourcing vendors on how information should be managed.
Back up your data. Make sure you have a copy of your data in a secure and encrypted location. If you have physical records, make sure they are stored off-site in case of emergency.
Having no established information security system is a big and costly mistake. It is not just the responsibility of your outsourcing provider, but you, as the business owner, as well. Take steps to avoid potential data breach.