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Considerations for mitigating risk when outsourcing critical communications

Business-critical communications require airtight data security.

Organizations often outsource their communications function to concentrate on their core competencies. This includes trusting a third party to design, produce and deliver critical content across the communications life cycle — whether mailing printed material or digital content.

Properly vetting a potential provider is crucial since cybersecurity attacks are on the rise and can prevent third parties in the transactional space from getting critical communications out in a timely, compliant manner.  In fact, if trajectories from recent years continue, it will be the first time that more than 4,000 ransomware victims posted on leak sites.

As such, here are some data security- and risk management-related learnings and recommendations for outsourcing your crucial communications.

Know how third-party prospects ensure security

A security incident could result in an extended halt to an organization’s ability to communicate to its customer base. It’s easy to understand how detrimental such a breach could be to an individual and their ability to access critical information.

Look to providers whose core competencies include shoring up their infrastructure to keep customers information secure. This includes knowing what data security measures the providers have in place to protect sensitive information should a ransomware or other type of breach occur.

Understand how potential suppliers diversify and mitigate risk

To lessen risk even further, consider business solutions and services providers that diversify their own suppliers. Rather than having an unlimited number of suppliers, consider relying on a group of vetted vendors to call upon when needed.

When an outsourcing partner diversifies its suppliers, it must take the time to source, prequalify and onboard those groups, which helps mitigate risk should problems occur.

As part of this diversification, understand if communications providers have a robust disaster recovery plan in case unplanned events occur — think natural disasters, technology failures, human errors, system incompatibilities and/or cyberattacks or other breaches.

Communication is key

Additionally, look to third-party vendors that are open to two-way communications, so you know what touchpoints are critical and what connections are possible — like IT teams, security teams and operational teams. Seek continuous feedback, consistent engagement and even monthly or quarterly business reviews to ensure your objectives and end goals are being met.

Such crucial communications can be in the form of personal outreach, email updates and follow-ups showing that your customers/end-users have received the appropriate physical or digital information due to them.

A third party should keep up on industry news and events so it can propose communications. A competent and trustworthy communications outsourcing partner should pass this information on to clients and suggest sending out letters or emails to their customers informing them to be aware of such attacks. This would also include offering tips for reducing the likelihood they fall prey to cybercriminals.

Choose a vendor wisely

Unfortunately, data breaches are a daily occurrence and are increasing in frequency. You don’t want them to get in the way of critical communications going out to your customers’ clients.

Therefore, properly vet third parties. Know how they mitigate risk and what they do to diversify their own supplier networks. Seek their track records and understand how they secure customer data.

There are plenty of companies to outsource crucial customer/patient communications to in the transactional space, but not all of them are created equal. Learn more by visiting our Multichannel Communications Management page. 

About the Author

Pamela Visconti is the business leader for our Multichannel Communications business area. With over 25 years of experience in the industry, her responsibilities range across all aspects of the operation including P&L health. Pamela is responsible for the client relationships supported by the Multichannel Communications team, and she strives to ensure a positive client experience by harboring a strategic relationship with each client. Her industry experience includes both offset and digital print services in direct mail, commercial print and transactional print for various verticals.

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