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Cyber Security for Business Process Outsourcing Companies

Posted by: MK CS Team
Category: Cyber Security

Contrary to the perception that developed after the debacle of 2015, the BPO industry has continued to grow. In 2015, the valuation of the BPO industry dropped to $88.9 billion from $104.6 billion but the industry recovered well and is now valued at $93 billion.

The emergence of new players like the Philippines has surely impacted the dominance of India but it has strengthened the supposition of organizations in offshoring and outsourcing. Business process outsourcing today makes up for a strong protagonist in keeping the global businesses moving and these statistics prove it:

  • 74% of IT organizations are reliant on BPOs.
  • 59% of organizations leverage outsourcing as a cost-cutting measure.
  • 80% of organizations see their relationship with outsourcing partners positively

Is BPO Truly Secure and Reliable?

In the contemporary VUCA world, where cyberattacks, data breaches, and attempts of internal sabotages are a common affair, BPOs are always on the radar. The kind of valuable data, which includes credit card details and social security numbers that BPOs function makes them more vulnerable than the other organizations.

Hackers find BPOs to be an easy target because these enterprises generally do not have requisite IT muscle to obstruct or prevent an attack. Functioning on software or tools that lack support from developers and have vulnerabilities written all over them and not abiding by the secure coding practices are the biggest reasons BPOs experience data breach.

Also Read: An Illustrated Guide for Building a Secure IT Environment

What Cybersecurity Measures BPOs can take to safeguard themselves from Attacks?

1. Incessant Upgrades Stop Vulnerabilities from Developing 

When software packages and operating systems are not updated for a long time, they get corrupt. Files downloaded from the Internet and viruses from local storage devices attack the system and lead to data breaches or give birth to vulnerabilities.

Benefits of constantly upgrading software packages and operating systems:
  • Latest security patch gets installed which protects against contemporary threats
  • Latest updates ensure that all vulnerabilities placed desperately are removed
  • These updates are designed to protect data against upcoming threats

2. Ensure Secure Coding Practices are Followed Strictly

A recent study revealed “95% of organizations that experience breach go out of business within six months”. In the Internet laden world, the news travels fast and damages reputation within seconds. BPOs can have a tough time defending their reputation if their databases are compromised.

Ensuring secure coding practices is like believing in “prevention is better than cure”; it ensures that employees are leaving no stone unturned to protect customers’ essential data.

Enforcing strict adherence to secure coding practice takes immense commitment at all levels. Everyone from security guards to executives and managers to important stakeholders must adhere to specified rules.

Here are some of the common practices every BPO should implement:

  • Restricting storage devices and cellphones on the production floor
  • Strict adherence to InfoSec rules
  • Ensuring that only authorized personnel have access to the server room
  • Facilitating checks at the entry and exit gate
  • Training employees to follow regulations when dealing with customers

3. Fulfilling Compliances Helps Avoid Attacks and Evade Fines

BPOs undertake tasks that often include outbound calls, where agents pitch services and take payments. BPOs also actively participate in up-selling that prepares the third party for API integration.

Highly confidential details, online payments, and third-party integrations, all these features require organizations to fulfill different compliances. Failing to fulfill the compliance requirements can invite a fine, malign brand reputation and impact growth.

Must Read: Cybersecurity in E-commerce: The Key Certifications & Compliance

Here are all the essential compliances every BPO should furnish:

GDPR: Started with a motive to protect data of European Citizens but it is so wide and diverse that Google has made it a compulsion for all sites. Every site whether they operate on data of European citizens or not needs to furnish GDPR compliance. Google even down rank websites that are not GDPR Compliant.

PCI DSS: Earlier PCI DSS legislation was applicable on websites or organizations that took payment through credit cards but in recent updates, PCI Council has made it a compulsion for organizations that receive online payment through credit, debit or prepaid cards to furnish 12 PCI DSS requirements.

What impact does furnishing PCI DSS Certification have on Organizations?
  • It saves companies from getting fined somewhere between $5000-$100,000
  • Renders all attempts of internal sabotage obsolete by restricting access to servers
  • Ensures that all hardware and software are up-to-date as per the PCI Council
  • Protects credit, debit and prepaid cardholders’ data from unauthorized access
  • Prepares for other important compliances

HIPAA: The government understands the power of data and the impact it can have especially when it is related to health. When landed in hands of unauthorized personnel, health data can be used to seek illicit ransoms. To ensure healthcare data of all individuals are protected from unauthorized access, organizations that deal in healthcare data needs to furnish HIPAA compliance. The compliance relies on a set of measures that is similar to PCI DSS’s 12 requirements to ensure the protection of data at all cost.

FISMA: The Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) is a federal law passed in the U.S. in 2002. This act makes it mandatory for federal agencies to develop, document, and implement a proper information security and protection program. Some of the important FISMA requirements include information system inventory, risk categorization, certification & accreditation, and risk assessment.

4. Prepare for Smooth & Secure Third-Party Integration

While the Internet provides organizations with the power of getting more done in less time by collaborating with proven experts from around the world but it comes with an additional set of challenges.

To ensure organizations work without worrying about the impact of obscurities like hackers, phishing scams, DDoS attacks, and credential stuffing, governments and councils have developed ISO Family Certification that offers following benefits:

The trust of Customers: Customers from around the world look for ISO certification before buying products or services. In multiple countries, the government promotes ISO certification as one true mark of trust and quality.

Smooth Integration Process: Multiple MNCs are skeptical about onboarding new players on their platform or access API keys of third parties. Their previous engagement with outsourcing agencies has dented their trust and now they are willing to take every step only after proper scrutiny.

ISO Certification ensures that all such third-party integrations are carried out with great ease and grace.

Safe from Government Sanctions: The increasing number of attacks and cyberbullying has coaxed governments into taking steps that protect common people and businesses from thieves and hackers. In the coming times, the government is going to make ISO a compulsion for every organization just the way Google has made GDPR Compliance a compulsion.

Final Thoughts

BPOs from India and the Philippines are leveraging the latest BPO trends like tailored outsourcing and state-of-the-art technologies like Artificial Intelligence to ensure the quality of customer experience. Going forward BPOs will have to fight battles at the cybersecurity front too. Leveraging the above-mentioned trends and cybersecurity measures can help BPOs of all sizes offer quality service without compromising on the importance of data privacy.

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