Intellectual PropertyOutsourcing03 Reasons Your IP is at Risk with Offshore IT

Have you been considering your options for outsourcing your IT and software development to an offshore agency? At first blush, it might seem like overseas developers are the way to go. They can have attractive hourly rates and their teams are often just as skilled as developers here in the United States. However, there’s a lot more to consider than just what you pay for an hour’s worth of work and when you look at total cost of ownership, those great prices may not hold up under scrutiny. What’s worse, putting your proprietary information into the hands of an offshore company can put your software development projects and your overall intellectual property at risk. Here are three main issues you need to consider before onboarding and offshore IT team.

  1. Copyright Security Issues – Even when you hire a company to develop your own software, it doesn’t necessarily mean the full copyright or ownership rights to the code will automatically transfer to you once the final payment is made. In fact, there are a few countries (San Marino and Turkmenistan, for example), that don’t honor US Copyrights at all, while others have been known to loosely interpret the laws. Where this can cause a problem is in continuing updates or changes down the line. Let’s say the company you chose to build your IT infrastructure goes under or you want to move your digital IP assets onshore — if you don’t own the code, updating or adding on to it can be extremely challenging. In some cases, it can mean having to hire someone new and start from scratch, which can waste valuable time and of course, the intellectual property already invested in.
  2. Lack of NDA Protection – The same issues can be said about any non-disclosure agreements you may have signed with your offshore development team. While it’s extremely important to have an NDA in place in an effort to protect any trade secrets, your database structure, or any future development plans, they may not hold up legally outside the United States. This means, if your software engineers shared or copied any of your proprietary information, you may not have a legal leg to stand on if you want to seek compensation for the breach. This includes if they hand over any insights to your competition, copy it for other businesses they code for, or even distribute it to the general public.
  3. Project House Turnover – One of the biggest risks for your intellectual property stems from project house turnover and the lack of IP and business knowledge retention. Even if you chose a country where your copyright is protected and an NDA will stand up in court, you can’t control the employee turnover from the company you hire. And many offshore software development companies have high turnover. What’s more, the majority of offshore teams work in a rotating fashion — moving from one project to the next — without any real relationship to you, the client. Once your software development is done, they move on to the new project and take all of your intellectual property and business knowledge with them. This means, the next time you have updates to the software, or want to continue building off of it with a new project, you have to start the training process all over again.

Being able to increase your solution velocity doesn’t have to be limited to local contractors and employees. Outsourcing your software development can still be a wise investment. However, knowing what to look for and understanding your strategic initiatives will be key. At Gullview Technologies, we aren’t a typical IT project house. We pride ourselves on being a strategic partner with our clients. When we set to work, we’re in it for the long haul — which is why we have dedicated teams who stay with a client from one project to the next. Your time and critical business knowledge are extremely valuable, and we’ll take care of them as if they were our own. If you’d like to learn more about how Gullview Technologies works to keep your intellectual property safe with our rural America, “Lakeshore” model, reach out to us at (218) 454–7711 today. We’ll sit down to discuss your long-term IT infrastructure goals and show you how our talented teams will make all the difference.