The modern law firm deals with a massive amount of digital data and information on a daily basis. The volume is so vast that it understandably has started to exceed the capabilities of many traditional in-house IT departments. For that reason, many firms are choosing to outsource some or all of their IT functions to third party vendors.
The biggest draw of outsourcing to digital vendors is that they have the infrastructure to handle the job in a cost-effective manner. The downside is that you don’t get to control the security of your data. You’re also relinquishing some control over your IT, including access to your data center and your most sensitive information. Therefore, you need to make sure your digital vendors are properly vetted, just like any other vendor.
So, the short answer to whether outsourcing to digital vendors means sacrificing data security is that it can if you’re not diligent, but it doesn’t have to.
Reducing the Risks of Outsourcing to Digital Vendors
As with all third-party providers, digital vendors need to be subjected to thorough and systematic vetting before being entrusted with sensitive company information. To start, this means reviewing their internal security policies and procedures, and engaging in continual monitoring. Beyond that, there are certain considerations to put at the forefront when vetting digital vendors.
Today, many digital vendors will be cloud-based, which raises unique concerns. It’s not uncommon for these cloud-based vendors to share servers and resources with other companies. Given that potential exposure, it’s critical to really dig deep to understand the vendor’s security controls. This includes the physical security of their data center, as well as knowing who will have access to your data and how that access will be granted. You’ll also want to know whether the digital vendor is, in turn, outsourcing any of the work to vendors of its own.
It’s important to remember that the business of your digital vendors is not your business, so they may not be immediately familiar with the intricacies of the kinds of data you handle. That’s why it’s crucial to lay out your security concerns and requirements in your contracts, and take the time to discuss the specific needs of your business before the engagement begins.
Balancing the Risks of Outsourcing with the Rewards
The obvious draw of outsourcing your IT functions and services to a third party is that digital vendors can typically do the job more cost-effectively, because they already have the built-in infrastructure to handle vast amounts of data. If you tried to do it yourself, you’d have to first invest in updating your own systems and servers to make them capable of handling all your needs. Such a prospect is both expensive and time-consuming. These vendors are also experts in their field, meaning you can entrust the technical concerns to them while you focus on your own business development.
We all know that cybersecurity threats will always be a risk with outside vendors, just as they are with your own systems. That shouldn’t stop you from reaping the benefits these vendors provide. Taking the proper steps to ensure that adequate countermeasures are in place will allow you to capitalize on cost-effective vendor solutions without sacrificing data security.