A staggering 73% of the world’s leading organizations claim that IT project security is a major aspect influencing their decision making when it comes to managing projects remotely. We asked Igor Tkach, Managing Director at Daxx, to share a few best practices that can help ensure IT project security. Without further ado, we present Igor’s checklist to help you keep your remote IT projects safe while managing projects remotely.
Checklist: How to Ensure Project Security in Remote IT Projects
The first and most important thing you should do to ensure IT project security while managing projects remotely is find an outsourcing software development partner that can provide outstanding security services.
Why do I recommend picking tech agencies over freelancers? Because many outsourcing companies have security certifications that guarantee they’ve implemented all possible security processes and measures to keep their clients’ data safe.
When choosing a vendor, choose one that doesn’t monopolize the management of your infrastructure security.
I recommend visiting your prospective tech partner’s offices and seeing for yourself what security measures they implement to ensure IT project security. If you can’t visit, find out as much as possible during an online call.
✔ Check Security Certifications
Tech companies in popular outsourcing destinations such as Ukraine invest in security certifications that guarantee that the company operates according to the latest international data security standards.
The ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 27001 are the most popular and by far most demanding software security certifications. Also, obtaining these certifications is quite expensive, so if your prospective tech partner has them, you can rest assured that they invest in data security.
✔ Learn About the Physical Security Systems Used While Managing Projects Remotely
Physical safety of data carriers while managing projects remotely is often underestimated. Check if the vendor has both a surveillance system and a security guard at their premises.
Many tech companies in Ukraine have installed biometric fingerprint door locks and card-pass systems in recent years. With those, even employees within the same company can’t enter spaces they’re not supposed to visit. Find out if the company has a working fire alarm system and whether the premises and everything within them are insured.
✔ Ask If the Developers in Remote IT Projects Sign Security Contracts
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA) are the two pillars of remote IT project security. These can be two separate documents; an IPR contract can also exist as a separate clause within the NDA. This document clarifies that the client is the only owner of the intellectual property (usually code) produced by the developers provided by the vendor, and the vendor cannot claim any ownership over it and use any part of the code in any kind of way.
Additionally, request information concerning security workshops for the vendor’s employees. Seeing how they educate remote developers about cybersecurity is crucial to keeping the IT project you’re managing remotely safe.
Phishing and social engineering are the most common types of cyber attacks, and even the most tech savvy employees need a reminder now and then. Ask your potential tech partner about the measures they take to educate their employees about cyber threats.
✔ Clarify Who Has Admin Rights While Managing Remote Projects
There are two common approaches in ensuring IT project security while managing projects remotely.
Approach #1. You work with a team of dedicated developers that work directly for you. For instance, Daxx programmers develop software on the side of the client. That’s why the client has full control over the development infrastructure and its security. This option is safer because it means you can give, deny, and stop access to your development infrastructure.
Approach #2. You work with a project outsourcing vendor that has access to your infrastructure because the product is fully developed on their side. Again, if you want to have control over project security, you should consider working with an outstaffing company.
✔ Ask If Developers in Remote IT Projects Connect Through a VPN or Directly
Various data breach protection systems can save your business information from hacker attacks. That’s why while managing projects remotely it’s crucial to know whether the remote developers who work for you use a VPN, a proxy server, or any other protection.
When your potential tech partner uses VPN for remote projects, it means that the connection first goes through the office machine and only then travels to the client’s servers and enters the development infrastructure.
Choosing to work with a vendor that doesn’t use any connection security system, you risk having your source code, business data, passwords, and personal information stolen.
✔ Check Whether Developers in Remote Projects Can Take Their Computers Home
Most companies allow their developers to take their corporate computers home or even use their own to work. However, far fewer companies ask their programmers to sign a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy that practically binds a programmer to only connect to secured internet networks and bear personal responsibility for the loss of data.
✔ Find Out Where Your Tech Partner Stores Data
Again, if you’re working with a project outsourcing vendor who does the development on their side, the data will be stored locally. If you’re cooperating with an outstaffing company, the development is being done on your side. Consequently, all your data is stored on the servers you use to work with an outstaffing company that leases talent to you.
✔ Make Sure the Company Has a Procedure for Managing Data Breaches
Even after your data has been breached, there’s still a chance of saving a part of it and securing your digital product. So instead of getting satisfied with a list of preventative methods aimed at ensuring client data security, go one step further and ask about the actions your prospective vendor would take in case data breaching occurs.
✔ Ask Whether Your Tech Partner Has Ever Conducted a Penetration Test
A penetration test is a kind of ethical hacking during which a company experiences an authorized simulated cyberattack on its computer system with the aim to evaluate vulnerable parts in their security.
Penetration testing is a common practice among companies that offer software development outsourcing services to international companies.
✔ See If Your Tech Partner Can Implement Additional Security Measures at Your Request
Say, your prospective tech partner checks all the boxes. But what if your project is quite dynamic? If this is the case, our security requirements might change pretty often. So you should make sure that your vendor is open to introducing new security policies and installing necessary software, including one you’ve written yourself.
✔ Run a Security Check of the Developers Who Work on Your Project
Now that you know how your vendor organizes security processes, what software they use, and which one you can use yourself, you should get more information about the very people who will write the code for you. Some clients request a background check of potential programmers while others request recommendations from previous employers.
During an interview, don’t hesitate to ask how the candidate ensured the security of the apps they’ve developed in the past. Most frequently, developers mention the OWASP list and the measures they take in their daily routine to prevent broken authentication, sensitive exposure, broken access control, and many other vulnerabilities.
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Major IT Project Security Benefits in Outstaffing Companies
Managing projects remotely while working with an outstaffing company is a superior option in terms of IT project security. Outstaffing companies like Daxx are tech vendors that help you find and hire software developers in remote locations. So the team members you get are fully dedicated to your project and work just like your in-house team members.
You Control the Development Infrastructure
You give the offshore developers you’ve hired with an outstaffing company access to your company’s infrastructure and they join it remotely. You can grant and restrict access when necessary.
Vendor Adapts and Implements Security Software and Measures
At Daxx, we’re open to installing security software and implementing additional security measures. For instance, a couple of our clients requested an installation of custom-written security software on laptops of developers they hired with us, and our system administrators were able to see to their request in the shortest terms.
Exercise Custom Approach to Every Client
Security measures aren’t limited to antiviruses and VPNs. Actually, it’s a common practice for an outstaffing vendor to organize separate working spaces with fingerprint authentication on the doors. Besides, security compliance is guaranteed by dedicated specialists such as security managers, system administrators, HR/account managers, and developers who know and use the security measures.