Companies looking to improve security and business continuity should consider outsourcing their infrastructure to external service providers, says Gartner Inc., a Stamford, Connecticut-based research firm. External service providers often provide a better return on investment because they already have invested in sufficient security measures and have business continuity in place. Enterprises, however, still need to verify the vendors' capabilities and to address their requirements in the sourcing agreement, Gartner notes.

Business continuity requires that the ESP have the proper procedures in place to back up crucial data and recover an enterprise's systems. When the ESP does not have multiple data centers with the capability to handle disaster recovery, both parties should select a mutually acceptable third party to provide a disaster recovery site, Gartner says.

"With the current pressure for increased security and business continuity, outsourcing various information technology functions can be an attractive alternative," says William Maurer, Gartner vice president and research director. "The key is that the enterprise must document its requirements and verify that the ESP has the capabilities to adequately meet its needs."

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