The Satyam Scandal

We at GetFriday understand the concerns raised in the wake of the Satyam scandal. The scandal is unfortunate and particularly shocking given that Satyam is the 4th largest IT firm in India. But the Indian industry believes that this is an isolated cased and an aberration. It may be recalled that some of the best Indian firms like Infosys have earned their reputation through adhering to good business ethics and the highest standards of corporate governance.

It should be noted that other countries and industries also have bad apples. The likes of Enron, Worldcom and the recent Madoff case come to mind. Even in this case, the audit firm involved was PriceWaterhouseCoopers, one of the big 5. No matter how well planned a system is there will always be people who will find a way around it.

The Indian regulatory system is strong and robust and is expected to act as swiftly as possible to ensure that the hard earned reputation of India Inc. is protected.

GetFriday:

We are not a listed company with public investors. We are closely held with the majority stakeholder being the TTK Group, a business conglomerate that is synonymous with trust, since 1928. The group is known for its conservatism and its unblemished reputation. Over the last 80 years, the group has worked with many international companies and brands including Cadburys, Ponds, Sara Lee and Durex. Many of its brands have been household names in India now for decades.

While being a client is quite different from being an investor, we would like you to know that GetFriday is backed by an 80-year-old group with a rock solid foundation.

Issues that are relevant to the context:

1) Security of financial information

Right from the inception of GetFriday in 2005, we realized that the security of financial information was critical to our success. So we implemented a system that does not allow the assistants to access any credit card information.

While online shopping on behalf of clients is an everyday affair at GetFriday, we have ensured that assistants can go only up to the check out stage and then have to hand over the shopping to their team-lead for completion. This is thanks to our secure Safe-Access system that requires two levels of authorization for any transaction. Each transaction is tracked and the details stored so that there is a clear audit trail.

This has ensured a trouble free and safe operation with zero fraud reported so far since 2005.

With our online billing system, all information is double encrypted, password protected and then secured with a pass phrase (never stored on any system). The information resides on a secure network with firewall protection and is PCI compliant to ensure that the information is secure. Again, the audit trail clearly fixes accountability and responsibility based on access.

2) Confidentiality of Personal / Business information

As a matter of utmost precaution we ask all our assistants to communicate and handle tasks only through our CRM system (Pivotal from CDC Software, a top ten ranked CRM vendor globally). This ensures the tracking and safety of client information. Communicating on personal email ids is prohibited and even on official email ids is allowed only when there is a maintenance break or unscheduled breakdown on the CRM system. Our privacy policy and confidentiality clauses as per terms of service require every assistant to not share information pertaining to one client with another. We conduct regular training sessions and sensitize staff on the importance of these measures. Employees are required to sign an NDA and confidentiality agreement as part of their employment contract with us. If some clients require specific NDA’s signed then we review them on a case-by-case basis and then take it forward on a mutually agreeable basis.

3) Business Continuity

While business continuity is a cause for major concern if someone is outsourcing critical parts of their business, it is imperative in the case of a VA service that there are no long-term contracts and commitments. If clients want to drop out, all that is needed is a month’s notice. Similarly if GetFriday is unable to provide service for any reasons or if the contract is terminated, then it is our duty and commitment to hand over confidential information or destroy it within the specific time mentioned in the NDA and confidentiality agreement. In fact, there can’t be a better option than a service like us which protects and insulates clients from the issues of attrition, sudden surges / drops in business, and unavailability of assistants on account on normal issues like vacation, sickness etc. This is as nice and dependable as it can get for small outsourcing that is not worth a million dollars.

We have maintained utmost transparency with our clients across the globe and always encourage clients who are on a visit to India to drop by and get to know us in flesh and blood. Outsourcing is here to stay, and this scam shall not affect Indian businesses adversely.

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If you have any concerns or question, you can post a comment here or contact us through our website, www.getfriday.com

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