What other private information could be at risk?

November 18 2016, by Michael Davies | Category: Telecom

Author Michael Davies – Chief Operating Officer

Privacy and information security represent considerable challenges for businesses today. We know because we also face demands and cost decisions to address risk for our data security, as do all our customers.  As in so many cases, the immediate dollar saving now can become a hefty risk for businesses later.  The recently reported breaches of customer privacy and data theft in overseas call centres such as the in the Sydney Morning Herald, truly bring this to life.

The theft and resale of confidential customer information revealed this week is an example of “insider risk”, where people employed in external call centres have taken advantage of access to such information.

Decisions about offshoring integral business functions are often made with a view to reducing cost, with labour arbitrage being the primary driver for the move.  While security is absolutely a consideration in any offshoring business plan and system security is often very carefully managed, the reality is that staff and their loyalty to the company is a pivotal aspect of any security proposition.

It begs the question as to what data other than customer information could be exposed through uninformed outsourcing overseas of other functions: network operations which give a window into network designs and, by extension, vulnerabilities?

Research recently released by Macquarie Government managing director Aidan Tudehope – cyber security report shows many businesses are struggling to understand and manage their own, internal cyber security risks, let alone the arm’s length risks created by service providers moving core data regarding customers’ communications networks offshore.

For us, there is no question we could save money by moving away from employing Australian staff and taking customer contact centres and operations overseas.  The decision not to was one founded in the belief that our security, service experience and contribution to the IT industry would be materially better delivered in Australia.  Our high-performing service staff are often starting their IT careers, many move into positions in other parts of our business or in fact get picked up by our customers to bolster their IT teams.  We personally believe this contribution to skilled staff in country is crucial to the long term needs of our industry and our country.  #SoUntelco.