April 27, 2009

India's National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) and its standards arm, the Data Security Council of India (DSCI ) both in New Delhi, and Washington-D.C.-based BITS, a division of The Financial Services Roundtable, have come together with The Santa Fe Group, a New Mexico consultancy, to lessen the risk in global outsourcing relationships. As a key part of their collaboration, the organizations will focus on promoting the Shared Assessments Program, an industry-sponsored approach to vendor risk management and compliance.

The Shared Assessments Program provides financial institutions and other organizations that outsource critical or high-risk services and their service providers with an efficient, cost-effective means of meeting internal and external vendor compliance and audit requirements. By focusing on principal information services control areas in alignment with ISO 27002:2005', the program offers efficiencies and cost savings while raising the bar on security in the industry.

A Memorandum of Understanding among NASSCOM, DSCI, BITS and The Santa Fe Group formalizes and expands the organizations' existing strategic relationship. Together, they have sought to enhance international awareness and use of Shared Assessments through joint education and communications initiatives. "The MOU reflects a new level of cooperation and commitment around providing more robust risk management tools — tools that support the growing and increasingly complex nature of business process outsourcing," said Som Mittal, President, NASSCOM, India, in a statement.

"The Shared Assessments Program will help foster trust in Indian service providers," said Dr. Kamlesh Bajaj, CEO of DSCI, which will implement the Program.

BITS President Leigh Williams said, "This agreement will help us increase global awareness and educate members of the international outsourcing community about the benefits of Shared Assessments, including the cost savings the program offers in this challenging economic climate."

More than 6,000 individuals from a range of organizations, including financial institutions, have used some of the Program tools to date. Participants may also become members and thereby influence Program standards.

"The Shared Assessments Program represents an unprecedented and growing collaboration among leading financial institutions and service providers, both in the US and internationally," said Catherine A. Allen, a former founder and head of BITS, now chair and CEO of The Santa Fe Group, which manages Shared Assessments for BITS.

NASSCOM, India's premier trade body, has more than 1200 members, 250 of which are global companies based in the US, EU, Japan and China.

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