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September 2004

Outsourcing best practices: Identifying offshoring risks

Offshore production of clothing brands like Wrangler, Lee and Nautica is an easy fit for VF Corp. But, after many years' experience manufacturing designer jeans and lingerie in Latin America and China, VF--like so many companies that outsource operations and services abroad--is dealing with a new wrinkle: infosecurity. "We design our security infrastructure to support the business need," says Eric Anthony, VP of IT services for North Carolina-based VF, the world's largest apparel maker. "And no part of the business operates without proper security oversight." That may sound familiar, but many companies are just waking up to the unique threats inherent in overseas operations. And some just don't get it at all. The normal caveats in dealing with service providers are compounded by time, distance, divergent laws and regulations, and, sometimes, hidden layers of contractors, subcontractors and sub-subcontractors. A misstep at a factory might mean a missed stitch in a pair of jeans; mistakes in security can spell disaster for ...

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