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সোমবার, ১৫ ডিসেম্বর, ২০১৪

Outsourcing: How to Save Your Products of Duplication

There are always questions of product security, steal of ideas and information security when we talk about outsource software development. On the whole, this problem is familiar to the customers, who entrusted their projects or certain tasks to outsource companies. We’ve decided to touch upon the issue of this into single post.
Companies’ heads are always worried about security of their projects of duplication. Let’s have a look at optimal solutions.

FIRST METHOD. DOCUMENTS AND CONTRACTS
Main security method it’s a process of right paper work, signing of contracts and agreements. Non-disclosure agreement – it’s a basic document, which should be discussed, worked out in details and finally signed with contractor. On the one hand, you cannot overestimate its capabilities, as in the modern world leak of information can happen even in western leader companies. According to media news, it’s happens quite often even in countries with developed legislation. Though, you need to take more attentively to NDA agreement. At least you are able to see, that contractor is very scrupulous to details and information which means he’s concerned about clients’ interests. You have the right to assign the rules and partly secure your project with the help of NDA agreement.
In spite of NDA availability in addition to contract with your contractor, it is necessary to describe in details who’s entitled to developed module. NDA should also include following information:
·         Contractors’ rights to publish details in media;
·         How documentation will be transmitted;
·         What conditions need to be fulfilled to keep the information secured
·         What measures should be taken in case of contractual delinquency.
The correct contract for customer is protection of his interests which means the transmission of exclusive rights to the development results. But such type of contracts is not always advantageous for contractor, even if its looks more secure. Every case is individual. Perhaps, some privileges can be still under contractor. For example rights for some program library, which has been developed itself without any further client's requests. It can be program module, which is used by the developer and supported by his own means or any development element, which is not clients’ key property.
I would like to mention that depending on region of the Earth, different development contracts approaches are used and this fact is necessary to know and take into consideration. In order to compensate lost profit, European design-centers usually don’t transmit the rights and documentation to their client, in the course of further product development. In this case you will depend on your contractors.
If you use contractor(s) from Southeast Asia, you need to understand where ODM business model and platform design are prevailing, also you need to understand market specificity. In most cases it’s really hard to prove a fact of recurring use of development and intellectual property violation.
CIS market immaturity has an advantage: you can purchase the exclusive rights on reasonable conditions and prices. As far as market growing it will be more hard and expensive to make it in foreseeable future.

SECOND METHOD. KNOW-HOW AND PATENTS
One of the most effective safeguarding methods is to keep know-how within the company. Know-how cannot be public as opposed to patent that have to be published.
There is a potential risk of important commercial information disclosure. Often, only limited number of companies’ experts got the access to know-how, though even they can share all “secrets” to competitors. That’s why sometimes it’s better to hand over a part of know-how’s to the external team by dividing the information within the company and thus insure against risks.
If company has patents its increasing cost and gives more opportunities to protect its rights, especially within international law. Sometimes it’s better to release the product and begin the process of patenting later. Startups using wrong ways so often: they patent their products and then trying to sell it to investors together with patent. Ultimately, they don’t really understand how to materialize the idea. At this time their patent will finally lose its cost, because on the basis of the same idea and technologies will be implemented by other people.

THIRD METHOD. BE AHEAD YOUR COMPETITORS
The only true way of security is to be ahead of your competitors and enter the market with a unique product and functions. You should understand what will be your next product model, what functions it will have in a new version before your competitors.
Today, it’s popular to earn using additional services, delivered with product. It’s a world practice. Information that we are using every day is stored on cloud services and executed by servers. Thereafter, advanced services are more valuable to client. You should develop and invest to this entry. Thus, document theft on electronic devices will be almost useless, because it doesn’t give a chance to copy your additional services.
Simple example from industrial automation: system maintenance during period of use can take a considerable part of budget or even exceed it. Development can’t be the main value, the most important is the introduction into the market and the possibility to update and maintain product.

FOURTH METHOD. COMPETENCES, DEVELOPMENT AND SALES ALLOCATION
Depending on specifics of work and internal resources availability this method can be implemented in different ways. There are trivial methods of commercial information security: to have different contractors, who are responsible for different tasks, such as development, sales and promotion. Tasks and information allocation can help you to provide control and reduce the risks.
No need to concentrate everything within one company, as it won’t help you to be more protected and competitive. As far as IT sphere grows it’s much easier to carry off your commercial secrets. It’s better to bring out some competences outwards and divide processes into different regions/locations. It gives economic effect and provides security.

FIFTH METHOD. SYSTEMS ENGINEERING APPROACH
Systems engineeringand product development is the most comprehensive approach to protect your investments and know-hows. This business conception means company maturity. In this case technical problem is considered as system, split on separated components. Then there are choice of contractors with proper competences begins. System assembling is implementing on customers side.
Fifth method helps to divide development/technical tasks between contractors, what considerably increases the security.
There are some advantages of this approach:
·         High level of security with hidden principles of systems work from contractor.
·         Customer has a big choice of contractors with defined technical competences. It helps to mitigate risks (major projects work duplication), choose the contractor from services market with high level of quality and defined technical competence.
There is also the disadvantage of this approach:
               
·         An acknowledge representative (systems analyst) should be present from customers side.

As a bottom line Customer Company can outsource certain tasks or project entirely using third-party contractors. Certainly, it helps you to cut down expenses and reduce terms of product development by applying security methods above.

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