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Secure your applications and services

 Your services and applications are critical to your ops. Make sure you have the keys. 

Companies use a multitude of vendors to manage digital assets. These assets range from infrastructure products to web content and curation. Somehow, companies that prize confidentiality of data are cavalier about control of these assets. Make sure you secure your applications and services for business continuity.
Applications are the backbone of your company, providing you with the tools and resources you need to run operations. Yet, too often companies do not request administrator access. Instead, they allow external vendors to manage their assets in sweet oblivion. What if you had to end a contract with a vendor? Are you confident right now that you would have appropriate business continuity? 
Would you allow your auditors to open bank accounts without providing you access? Would you allow a Human Resources firm to not give you full access to employee files? Technology vendors should be no different than other vendors contracted to run your organization.
The root cause of this issue is that too often business users view technology as a black box: confusing and best left to experts. I will let you in on a little secret, not all technology vendors are experts. As you outgrow a vendor due to changing environments you do not want your data to be a hostage.
Outside vendors should manage and support your digital assets, not own them. Clients often want one point of contact or responsibility to handle troubleshooting requests. That strategy persists with a reputable and responsible service provider. A service provider can act as your liaison between vendors and your users, reducing the time you spend on fires.
Owning your assets through your own contracts allow your organization to be service provider agnostic. Provider agnosticism leads to organizational nimbleness, allowing the opportunity to end toxic relationships. Too often organizations stay with a service provider due to high switching costs.
Owning your assets is a compliance requirement. Organizations must make sure they know where their data resides at all times. I have worked with clients that believe their data resided in a reputable data-center, only to find it in an unsecured closet. Make sure to map your data, ensuring that any breaches suffered by vendors do not affect your critical assets.
Last, owning your assets allow controlled costs. Service providers have a tendency to add markups on market costs, sometimes upwards of 15%. These costs add up across platforms and could keep you from acquiring tools your business needs. If a markup exists ensure you are receiving a true benefit for your expenditure. A markup of 15% is not justified for ‘user management’ if you are only adding 10 employees a year.
It is time to take control of organizational assets. Your clients and employees will thank you for reducing administrative overhead, and cost. You will be able to implement solutions best suited for your company, rather than your provider.

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