Foreign Intrigue: Continuity Is A Legitimate Concern - InformationWeek
08:09 AM
Faster, More Effective Response With Threat Intelligence & Orchestration Playboo
Aug 31, 2017
Finding ways to increase speed, accuracy, and efficiency when responding to threats should be the ...Read More>>

Foreign Intrigue: Continuity Is A Legitimate Concern

'You want to make sure that there's not some law that trumps everything you've put in the contract,' attorney Epstein says.

One of the biggest challenges facing offshore IT services companies is convincing customers their data will be secure with a company thousands of miles away, in a country with a different language and culture, run by a government whose regulations and concepts of intellectual-property ownership may be alien to those in the United States.

The conflict between India and Pakistan is perhaps the biggest security problem for Indian companies. Most have taken steps to reassure customers, such as opening operating centers throughout the world, including data centers and redundant servers in lower-risk locales; performing data replication to home sites; and installing fiber optics and satellite communications systems. Wipro Technologies, for example, has a backup center in Chennai, far from where fighting with Pakistan has occurred. Satyam Computer Services Ltd. plans to set up a business-continuity center in Singapore, its first outside India. Some firms are certified under the British Standards Institute's BS7799, a set of controls for security management that's recognized as a worldwide standard.

Companies doing business with offshore outsourcing companies should build security protection into their contracts, says Jason Epstein, an attorney with Baker Donelson Bearman & Caldwell who specializes in outsourcing. Most contracts contain a "force majeure" clause that essentially excuses both parties from liability for issues outside of their control, such as acts of God, war, terrorism, and epidemics. But companies doing business in potentially volatile regions should carefully negotiate the terms of that clause, he says.

A contract also should include detailed business-continuity procedures. And it's important to be aware of a country's intellectual-property laws. "You want to make sure that there's not some law that trumps everything you've put in the contract," Epstein says.

Concerns about intellectual property, as well as security and business continuity, could make or break some emerging regions, particularly China. The country's IT labor force is even cheaper than India's, and several companies, including Satyam, are building facilities there for offshore programming. But Michael Doane, an analyst with Meta Group, says a controlling Communist government, the lack of English-language skills, and weak enforcement of intellectual-privacy rights should make business-technology executives think twice about working in China.

Return to main story, "Gaining Ground"

Illustration by Ken Orvidas

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
IT Strategies to Conquer the Cloud
Chances are your organization is adopting cloud computing in one way or another -- or in multiple ways. Understanding the skills you need and how cloud affects IT operations and networking will help you adapt.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll