• May 30, 2024
  • Catagory cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is an Executive Management Concern

By : Sanjeev Spolia

Cybersecurity hasn’t been just an IT management issue for a long time, but executive management can’t afford to sit on the sidelines when data breaches continue to threaten the reputation and financial stability of the organization.

The executive management of many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) often make the mistake of thinking the organization isn’t of interest to threat actors, when in fact their cybersecurity risk is just as significant as large enterprises. They assume their IT teams have put in place the necessary technology and resources to protect the organization, and that the cloud-based applications they run are completely secured by the vendors and service providers.

Cybersecurity is also a line item in a budget, and executive management may feel as though they cannot justify the necessary spending given the pressure to manage wages, shareholder expectations and other costs while keeping the prices of their own products and services competitive.

It can also be difficult for executive management to understand the return-on-investment (ROI) of strategic cybersecurity spending, but the upfront and ongoing costs of robust security are cheaper than the financial consequences of a data breach.

The disruption caused by a cybersecurity incident will cost your business money because it invariably leads to the inability to operate at full capacity – your business can be completely unable to serve customers for not only hours, but days or longer.

This inability to serve customers not only leads to a loss of business and revenue due to the disruption itself, but also due to loss of reputation, which is damaged in the eyes of customer and suppliers. Depending on your regulatory obligations and your industry, you may face audits, investigations and even fines, which are far more expensive than investing in strong cybersecurity.

Executive management must stay in the loop and understand where the organization stands when it comes to its security posture. They must demand regular assessments, so they have confidence in what cybersecurity defences are working well, which ones need improvement, and which ones are non-existent.

By having clear visibility into the cybersecurity strategy of the organization, executive management can understand how investments can be made to improve security and how they align with business uptime objectives and regulatory compliance obligations.

Developing your own internal cybersecurity risk assessment will allow you to tailor it to the realities of your business, but you should consider aligning with well-established cybersecurity frameworks and the seek the input of outside experts. A managed security services provider can help assess your current state of security and help you implement protection and response strategies will give everyone peace of mind, including executive management.  

  • October 3, 2019
  • Catagory Business Process Services

Choosing a Business Process Services Provider Demands Forward-Thinking Risk Management

By : Terry Holland

Choosing a business process services provider is like any vendor selection scenario—there’s an element of risk management.

If you’re to get the benefits of handing over tasks to a third party, then you must put careful thought into what you need from a partner. By infusing your criteria into a detailed selection process, you can reap the rewards of handing over repetitive tasks while reducing the risk.

Having a stringent selection process in place will lead you to an experienced business processes services provider with a track record of anticipating any potential pitfalls who sees your success as their success.

What to consider when choosing a business process services provider

Even If you’re only looking to hand over a single, simple process, choosing a business process services provider requires a lot of forward thinking.

You should start by being certain that it makes sense to offload these processes—there should be a solid business case for doing so that defines the scope of the arrangement, which is essential for risk management. Choosing a business process services provider means not only considering your immediate needs but having an operating model that can scale up and down with the ebb and flow of your business.

Be prepared to do a lot of work upfront to define the business relationship and evaluate potential candidates. Choosing a business process services provider should be a comprehensive and formal exercise. Consulting all stakeholders touched by the processes you want to hand off should be part of your risk management process, as their understanding will paint a clear picture as to how these processes are threaded through your organization.

Your approach to choosing a business process services provider should lay out your key objectives, anticipate any risks, and outline exactly what you wish to hand over to a business process services provider, all of which needs to be articulated in a request for proposal (RFP) that’s shared with a short list of qualified vendors.

Risk management reduces bumps

You can’t avoid risk when partnering with another business. Engaging in a well-thought out risk management exercise when choosing a business process services provider will minimize headaches down the road.

The risks involved when outsourcing processes and workflows vary depending your industry and how your organization is structured. For bigger companies with multiple business units, handing over a single process such as data entry to a third party won’t likely expose it to a great deal of risk. For smaller organizations, however, the process under consideration may be more integral to overall operations and product and service delivery.

No matter what, the most common risks are data breaches, either through employee error or hacking, non-local employees, quality control, maintaining strategic alignment, political instability when processes are moved offshore, and changes in technology.

Because many business process services providers have operations offshore, many risks will also involve geography, political climate, and cultural climate. Your risk management strategy should focus on four key areas:

  • Security: Choosing a business process service provider also means new connections between your information systems and theirs via Internet communications. This introduces security and privacy risks.
  • Communication: You will get the most value cost-wise when you work with a provider with offshore operations, so be prepared for language barriers that might affect your transition of processes, feedback and customer service.
  • Underestimating costs: Remember there are other costs involved beyond those related to the workflows you’re handing. Be ready to pay for upgrades costs, renegotiated contracts, as well as the time and money you need to select a provider. Layoffs, internal changes with your organization, and upgrades to software and hardware that support the processes on your side are all things that can affect the overall cost, among others.
  • Becoming too dependent: Your business process services provider can quickly become integral to your workflows, which means your delivery of products and services can be affected by their internal challenges, such as staff shortages.

Just because you’re handing over business processes to a partner doesn’t mean there’s no work for you to do related to these operations. You must commit time and resources to manage the relationship.

As a managed IT services provider, proactive risk management is table stakes for Supra ITS, and we bring the same rigorous approach to our business process services practice. As a vendor of record with the Government of Ontario and thoroughly vetted for the government’s security requirements, Supra ITS has developed a comprehensive set of information security policies and procedures which meet or exceed the government’s IT standards.  These standards have been audited to comply with ISO: 27001 standards.

Our business process services practice comprises a North American team with deep business knowledge, analysts, supervisors, data entry operators, managers and IT support teams, all of whom are Supra ITS employees. By have a single point of contact to steer governance, we’re able to keep lines of communication clear avoid any surprises such as unexpected costs or sudden staff shortages.

Pick a provider who can grow with you

A good business process services provider will stay away from your core business processes and help you decide which workflows make the most sense to for them to take on in alignment with your business cases. They will see you as a partner, not just a customer.

Supra ITS has expanded its business process services offerings through its FleetGain brand because we saw a desire from existing customers to offload back office processes to a partner with a team that understands its role in improving productivity and the bottom line. We see business process services as just the beginning of broader, long-term relationship with organizations looking to improve their agility as part of their digital transformation.

Terry Holland is Director, Logistics and Supply Chain Services for Supra ITS.