This document written by Practice Protect helps outsourced providers, their, prospects and clients understand how Practice Protect and the Offshore Technology Assessment helps remote and outsourced or offshore teams.
Who is Practice Protect?
Practice Protect are a specialist offshore IT company that provide cyber security and offshore technology advice to outsourcing clients and prospects at no charge to approved outsourcing partners. Practice Protect provide advice for accounting firms ahead of and during their offshore expansion and work closely with a clients’ IT provider to implement recommended solutions.
How does Practice Protect know about offshore technology & security?
Practice Protect are based in the Philippines and provide IT services to thousands of accounting firms operating offshore. They know the common challenges that are specific to integrating offshore team members securely into a clients’ existing IT such as server speeds, training tools and security applications to control access.
How does Practice Protect help?
The Practice Protect team provide a 30-minute Offshore Technology Assessment at no charge to clients of approved outsourcing providers which answers any specific objections, provide advice on a specific client or prospects IT systems including:
- The best way for offshore team members to access your current server and cloud systems without impacting productivity including a latency test to ensure data speeds are adequate.
- The right hardware and software to effectively communicate with and engage remote team members.
- Best practice tools and applications to minimise your clients’ training time investment including process building tools.
- How accounting firms provide secure access without losing access visibility or control of their data.
Your client will walk away knowing they have the right systems and tools in place for offshore success as well as confidence knowing their systems will accommodate their offshoring requirements.
Who should attend the Offshore technology Assessment?
The offshore technology Assessment is a non-technical business level overview focused on tools to assist accounting firms interact and collaborate with offshore teams. It is attended by internal operational team members that offshore team members report to. IT team members are typically not required to attend the offshore technology assessment.
The following FAQ is compiled based on common client questions asked during the sales or account management process:
How will offshore team members gain access to my systems efficiently?
It’s important to understand that offshore team members access onshore systems the same way a local team member working from home would which is typically Microsoft Remote Desktop or other standard remote access systems. However in some cases, an internet speed factor called ‘latency’ which measures the amount of time it takes for data to travel between two points on the internet can impact productivity due to global internet congestion given the long distances and jurisdictions data may need to travel through. Around 1 in 5 firms experience latency challenges that impact on remote team members’ productivity. When this occurs, a ‘Private Global Gateway’ is required which is a direct data tunnel between Philippines and USA/Australia or Canada and costs between $15 and $25 USD per user monthly. During the Offshore Technology Assessment, a latency test is performed to diagnose potential latency issues. This can be requested prior to moving ahead to provide the IP address of the onshore systems is provided.
How is data security addressed at a Practice Protect approved outsourced provider?
The outsourced provider take responsibility for the security of their physical and virtual IT systems with measures such as but not limited to disabled USB ports, internet browsing restrictions and other measures at all facilities. However, that doesn’t protect a firm from the risk of having team members (onshore or offshore) from accessing company systems outside of it’s internal IT controls via passwords stored in their heads. That isn’t necessarily anything sinister, it can be as innocent as a remote team member entering a company password on a home computer that is shared by other family members or infected with malware.
To restrict systems access to TOA’s facilities and demonstrate due diligence in the face of increasing risk of cyber-theft, accounting firms use specific industry tools and policies such as authentication gateways and other measures to mitigate risk. Practice Protect demonstrate this in more detail during the Offshore Technology Assessment.
How can we maintain access visibility?
Accounting firms can monitor remote access productivity via Practice Protect which is an industry specific authentication gateway tool.
How will we communicate effectively with our offshore team members?
It’s absolutely key that audio, video and screen sharing requirements are assessed prior to engaging remote teams. We recommend noise-cancelling headsets for onshore workstations, omni-directional microphones in meeting rooms, webcams installed in meeting rooms and on workstations along with instant messaging and collaboration software such as Skype for Business or Zoom.
Practice Protect provide more specific information based on a firms’ existing systems and offshore plans during the Offshore Technology Assessment.
How will we maximise the value of our training investment?
Training an offshore team member is no different to a new starter in your own office except that you’re relying 100% on technology rather than tacit interactions around the office. Effective tools to leverage your time investment by recording training demonstrations for future team members and process documentation tools are an essential component of the Offshore Technology Assessment.