How to Manage Offshore Security Bridges

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By Pratik H

The biggest threats facing any kind of offshore outsourcing today are security threats. A business owner will hire any top-tier talent to do the work but they will also fear the threats of a security bridge.

Like it or not, security is a subject you have to think about from day one before you even commit to work with an outsourcing provider.

Don't take anything that is said out of face value. Signing an NDA  alone is not enough. Your trade secrets, sensitive data, and your IP are going to be in the hands of people who will work to bring your project to life.

That said, you must learn how to manage offshore security threats. And in this article, we are going to highlight 3 main points of vulnerability you need to be aware of:

  • Internet breaches

  • Physical access to the software

  • IP theft.

When creating a project, it is vital to integrate security measures into the project from the beginning. Most importantly, how you will protect the bridges against any security daily.

Let’s get started.

Hackers and Thieves

They are lots of criminals who could steal your data or software. These are probably hackers who work at home and have a way to gain access to your offshore development centers.

Sometimes thieves can be disgruntled employees who will vandalize the servers. If you can ensure your team takes a few precautions, you could save your data.

You may have a great idea, but it would be worthless if someone else stole the idea from you and went with it on the market.

The fastest way they can do this is to copy your idea. But the worst part is, this is not even illegal. This is a lot common in some countries and if you don’t have the right precautions, there’s nothing you can do.

Ways to Protect Your Data from Hackers and Thieves

Hacking and thievery are common at any offshore software development firm. Since you are outsourcing it means your data will be traveling over the internet, where a breach will occur.

Since you have less control over the offshore development centers, you won't be aware of who will be accessing your data.

What that means is, your project may be handled with people without your knowledge, which causes a lot of potential risks.

So is there a way you can protect yourself against these threats? Yes, and it starts with picking the right partner. You can always ask them about the right network security measures they have in place.

The right questions will help you understand your offshore development center properly. Here are a few things to take notes:

  • Network monitoring procedures

  • Enterprise-grade firewalls

  • IT policies regarding access to the file, sharing, and messaging services. 

  • Daily security audits policies

The team you have in place must take data security seriously, otherwise, you will need to reconsider the contracts.

One thing you also need to take note of is offshore software projects don't end when your project hits the market. When your software is in the public domain it is an easier target for thieves.

That said, when you are speccing your project ensure that security remains one of your most important priorities. Talk with your team and find out the ways they will employ to protect your data.

When it comes to encryption technology ensure your partner uses the latest technology which is the best. Also, have a way to think of a breach when it happens. All the security holes must have patches.

A lot of developers have post-release after-sale services and it would be great if you make use of them. 

Ways to Protect Your Data from Physical Threats

Network security can't be of help to you if someone has physical access to your software. Security breaches happen when a thief or hacker has physical access to  the network or computer.

Just like you do for a network security breach, physical breach requires lots of planning and vigilance. Issues like this need to be discussed with the offshore team. You need to know their level of preparedness and security protocol in case of a physical threat.

There are lots of measures an offshore company can take to prevent a physical breach:

  • Keycard or biometric access control

  • Phishing awareness training

  • Security cameras

  • Physical security personnel, like guards or local police

  • Poor Internet connections and power supplies

Sometimes you may not have a say in their physical security if it is weak. The only thing you can do is to ask the right questions before you sign the contract.

The offshore center also needs to have a policy whereby sensitive data never leaves the building in front of security personnel. Items like devices and laptops used in the force should remain in office unless there are exceptions to the rule.

But that shouldn’t apply to computers alone, even flash drives, external hard drives, and cloud storage services must be for office use and never leave sight. An excellent outsourcing company will have clear policies that address security measures.

Ways to Protect Your Project from IP Theft

With a lot of companies outsourcing software projects, there’s a potential problem of an offshore team doing the work for one client and selling to another company. Or they just decide to release the copycat of the product.

This kind of scenario happens a lot. To protect IP theft, you need to work with a reputable partner. Here’s how you can go about it.

Comprehensive and Strong NDA for IT Vendors

If you want to prevent dishonest IT professionals from stealing your IP ensure you have strong legal terms. They will need to sign an NDA. A good NDA which has been vetted by a lawyer. The lawyer you choose needs to be familiar with the laws in their country.

When there’s a dispute, you will need to file a suit. This is easier to do in their country than crossing international borders. If you have an excellent budget, make sure that you retain the attorney in that country.

Besides procuring legal advice, these attorneys will act as an agent, service papers or appear in court when needed.

Second, you want to ensure that you have full ownership of the code and any other sources made for your product. This will ensure that your file, code, and other resources are not used by a third party person.

Ensure your contract has a statement about full ownership of the final product. Otherwise, your developers may think that they can use the software as they wish. Before they sign the NDA, make sure that your local attorney reviews them first.

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