5 steps to assess offshore support risk (and 5 steps to address critical needs)

To ensure continuity of critical operations, all businesses should take these practical steps to engage, assess, and partner with offshore service providers.

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Companies all over the globe are experiencing the impacts of the current pandemic first-hand, including service providers.  Beyond their focus to protect their workers, service providers are now further challenged to meet support commitments to their clients.  Unlike the stock market crash of 1929 or the financial bust of 2008 where the economy was drastically impacted, today’s COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the lives of service providers' employees and contractors.  The effects are most pronounced where service providers are contracted for offshore Run support to their clients as they, themselves, adhere to government-imposed orders to restrict movement, adhere to curfews, and even stay-at-home. 

While it is likely many companies have already reached out to their offshore service providers, there are five critical and practical steps all companies must take as they engage, assess and partner with their providers to ensure continuity of critical operations through this very challenging time. 

1. Current state assessment of manpower.   A host of countries have issued either stay-at-home orders or some form of movement control, lockdown, or curfew orders, and all countries have quarantine orders for suspected and known infections. This has caused a level of uncertainty of the Run support capacity offshore service providers have actively engaged with their accounts.

Reach out to your service providers to understand the extent of the available Run support resources for your environment.  Understand how support is being provided today and what risks your provider sees in being able to sustain support in the near-term.  Note that many service providers and their employees are facing challenges with telecom infrastructure, connectivity to their own facilities, and even equipment access (WiFi, broadband, laptops/desktops).  Assessing the available base of people who can provide your support is crucial.

2. Data privacy and security concerns. Most countries don't have strong, if any, data privacy laws.  Ask very specific questions of your service providers about how they are maintaining security procedures and data privacy commitments for your most critical applications and data.  Gain assurances that no one is accessing your company’s secure data from unsecured locations.  Be prepared to make critical decisions on taking application support in-house for any areas where sensitive data cannot be compromised.

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