Where is your data safer -- Australia or India?

Although Western companies may feel hesitant at offshoring tasks involving sensitive information to countries such as India, their fears could well be unfounded.

Although Western companies may feel hesitant at offshoring tasks involving sensitive information to countries such as India, their fears could well be unfounded.

At a conference it hosted earlier this week on security and global sourcing, the Indian National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom), used the recent UK data breaches to highlight India's strengthening data security abilities, according to Ovum analyst Samad Masood. Nasscom presented research showing IT buyers now rate India on par with Western Europe and the US in terms of data security capabilities, he continued.

"Leading Indian IT and BPO firms by necessity have very stringent security processes in place," Masood said in a research note. "These processes are often stronger than their Western clients."

James Turner, advisor at analyst firm IBRS said it's difficult to measure the comparative security levels as so many breaches go under the radar. "Until you can measure those it's difficult to make claims," he added.

"Let's not forget that Western security standards include people like the NSA (National Security Agency) who have some of the finest security," he said, but continued that those suggesting Western security is definitely better would also not be correct.

"It's not as much that they're as secure as we are, its that we're as insecure as they are," he said. Turner added he had worked in Indian companies which were still running Windows 95, but suspected there were still many Australian companies doing the same.

Australia is, however, approaching data security pretty seriously, Turner said, highlighting the review of Australian Privacy law which, if approved, could mean that small businesses are no longer exempt.

The review is also looking to make Australian firms responsible for the data they send overseas, meaning that Indian companies dealing with Australian companies will have to show they can comply with their clients' data security standards.

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