Audience: CIO and IT Executives | Sourcing, Procurement and Vendor Management | Federal, State and Local Government
Microsoft Premier/Unified Support is an important resource for enterprises and government agencies, providing personalized Microsoft technical advice and expertise to ensure the success of their operations. With the recent addition of the “as needed” model of Unified, the number of support tickets flowing out of the US has increased significantly.
To keep up with the high demand, Microsoft has outsourced most of its Premier/Unified support overseas to maximize cost savings. The company can take advantage of lower labor costs and access to a larger pool of IT professionals from around the world. By doing this, Microsoft can provide enterprise and government customers with Problem Resolution Support (PRS) and increase its support services profit margins.
Microsoft Premier Support outsourced engineers are identified by their “v-dash” email address, which is a unique identifier that allows Microsoft and its customers to easily identify offshore contractors and Microsoft full-time employees (FTE). The v-dash email address is assigned to each foreign engineer when they join the Microsoft outsourcing team and provides them with access to customer points of contact, system logs, and confidential support tickets.
While they have access to more IT professionals, these individuals aren’t held to the same standards as US based engineers.
Because they are not US citizens as defined by ITAR 120.15, these offshored engineers do not have to follow the same laws and regulations that domestic personnel would be required to adhere to. This can lead to a lack of oversight and protection of the customer’s data.
Enterprise risk management (ERM) is becoming increasingly important for organizations dealing with sensitive customer data, especially in the case of Microsoft Premier/Unified Support. This is due to the inherent risks associated with outsourcing IT operations overseas, where there may be less oversight and a lack of compliance with US laws and regulations. With the growing reliance on cloud computing, data sovereignty, and compliance are no longer just niceties; they’re critical to staying competitive in today’s market. To safeguard their operations, enterprises must take the time to understand their ERM risks and develop a strategy for mitigating those risks.
Thousands of enterprises, government agencies, and defense contractors require that their data remain in the United States of America. They further extend their data sovereignty requirement to their IT supply chain vendors to mitigate foreign economic espionage risks. Many enterprises and government entities are either unaware of their non-compliance by using Microsoft Premier/Unified Support or don’t know about viable third-party alternatives competing with Microsoft.
To begin with, they should ensure that any contractors providing support services are US persons and comply with all applicable US laws and regulations.
The US federal government recognizes the importance of protecting customer data and has implemented rigorous background checks for individuals providing support services to its agencies. When outsourcing Microsoft Enterprise Support operations, companies must ensure that all personnel have passed a background check to comply with US laws and regulations.
Enterprises and government agencies should also assess their compliance risk by utilizing a comprehensive risk evaluation process. This includes identifying potential sources of non-compliance, assessing the severity of the risks, and mitigating any identified issues. Additionally, organizations must ensure that they have appropriate policies and procedures in place to ensure proper use of customer data, as well as validate that any data produced stays within the USA.
These companies are fully compliant with all applicable laws and regulations and provide a secure environment in which to store customer data. They also offer 24x7x365 coverage from experienced technicians who are certified in the latest Microsoft technologies. By partnering with one of these third-party providers, enterprises can enjoy the cost savings of outsourcing while still meeting their data security and compliance requirements.
The importance of using domestic USA support engineers can’t be understated. With the growing global economy and reliance on cloud computing, aspects like data privacy, security, and compliance are paramount. By utilizing domestic USA support engineers, organizations can rest assured that their customer data remains secure within the boundaries of the United States.
In conclusion, Microsoft Premier/Unified Support is an essential service for many enterprise and government customers, but it carries with it inherent risks due to its overseas operations. By partnering with a third-party provider that offers US-based support services, organizations can protect their data while still enjoying the cost savings of outsourcing. This helps to ensure that customer data remains secure and compliant with all laws and regulations, while also taking advantage of Microsoft’s advanced technology.