A 7-point blueprint for assessing your offshore IT risk exposure

Offshore service providers are grappling with COVID-19’s impacts, limiting their ability to meet obligations. This guide will help you evaluate your provider’s performance and capabilities.

India, mapped on a dark globe.
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Editor's note: This article is the second in a three-part series to help IT leaders who depend on partners and suppliers in India and other offshore locations for core IT services to better understand the impact of COVID-19 in India, on offshore IT service relationships, and what actions can be taken to protect and support U.S. enterprises.

COVID-19 in India: Impact assessment

In India, as in the U.S., headlines about current conditions regarding COVID-19 vary widely suggesting a range of beliefs from “India is re-opening” to “undersized healthcare and high population density make India uniquely fragile.” Currently, the daily count of new cases and daily reported deaths is continuing to rise.

On May 1, India’s initial nationwide lockdown which had been scheduled to expire on May 3, was extended for two additional weeks through May 18, the second such extension.  The edict continues  conditional relaxing of regulations based on red, orange and green rated containment zones.  Locations with a higher infection rate continue under strict quarantine with restricted movement.  While some news reports mention red zone offices (virtually all large cities) are now allowed a one-third occupancy rate, this is not universal and offices remain statutorily closed in many service parks. India’s Ministry of Home and Family Welfare permits e-passes only for approved critical business and individuals.

Some Indian service providers have smoothly transitioned to remote operations, while others continue to struggle. In evaluating the status of vendors, you cannot assume that issues will be communicated consistent with U.S. culture. Difficult news may be softened.  We suggest “Asking seven times and seven ways” leveraging multiple sources to cultivate respectful dialogue while gaining accurate insight. In other words, “trust, but verify.”

The following seven areas provide a blueprint for CIOs to assess your offshore provider’s performance and capabilities under COVID-19’s restrictions. Your assessment should inform risk awareness and mitigation.

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