With global outsourcing a relatively new concept for small to medium business owners, it’s natural to have a few uncertainties when embarking into the great unknown. One of the issues most commonly brought up is that of privacy and security of client data.
So how do you commence your working relationship with an offshore Virtual Assistant and still feel safe?
- Keep passwords secure: When working with a VA, it’s inevitable that they will need to access some of your systems via login. Make sure your virtual assistant has their own unique username and password to these systems so they leave their digital ‘fingerprint’ and you can track when they access them. This applies to your website, social media, project management, email , file storage and other cloud based systems.
- Don’t give out financial information: Financial information such as access to bank accounts and credit card information should be kept secure. If your VA is accessing your accounting program for bookkeeping purposes, ensure they have their own log in and profile. If it is absolutely necessary to divulge your credit card information, be assured that financial institutions have stringent controls on expenditure or purchases in foreign countries which will protect you if any such fraud occurs.
- The Host with the Most: Make sure you host all of your systems and business documents on your own server or cloud accounts. You need to be the creator or owner of all working files and systems that you share with your VA so you maintain control. So don’t let your VA create and share documents from their own folders, or set up cloud based systems that you’re going to use with their own accounts.
- Clear and Direct Communication: Provide clear directives to your virtual assistant regarding confidential business information. State that any document or design that your VA creates whilst contracted to you is your copyright and stamp or otherwise mark ‘Confidential’ to serve as a notice to your VA not to be careless with your information.
- Limit Knowledge: Your virtual assistant should be on a need to know basis for any sensitive business information. Create a sharable file that is purely for tasks that you and your VA work on together, and leave the rest of your operational files separate. If they do need to work on a confidential document, allow them access to the document for the time needed and then ‘un-invite’ or change access privilege once work is completed.
- Use administrator privilege: Many systems and programs that your VA will use allow you to choose the level of access they have. You can grant your VA certain types of access which will limit their roles and capabilities within the system. For example you may set up your VA as an ‘Editor’ on your website, which will allow them to be able to publish and manage posts but not give them access to other features within the site.
- Back it up: Keep all data backups secure from external manipulation. Unless you know of a specific reason why a virtual assistant must have access to that backup, do not grant it to them.
Also be assured that when you use an outsourcing provider like Virtual Elves, our virtual assistants go through a rigorous screening process, conducted by a Virtual Elves HR representative living onshore in the Philippines. The virtual assistants who join our close knit team are all specifically seeking long term stable income, which their families depend upon and are not willing to jeopardise their living with any underhand actions.
Working with any remote assistant requires trust, whether that be onshore or offshore. With this in mind, knowing that trust takes time to build, we recommend that you start slowly with your VA. Begin with delegating small tasks and build up to the transference of responsibility gradually once your relationship matures.
Don’t know where to start in setting up your business for global outsourcing?
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