Contingent workforce programs have many challenges centered around data, systems access and management of physical assets. As contingent labor saturation rates have continued to rise — reaching 22% from only 12% back in 2009, according to SIA’s most recent buyers’ survey — their risk exposure in those areas continues to rise as well. It is not uncommon for organizations to have tens of thousands of nonemployees who have access to all these elements, which can put sensitive information and material goods at risk.

When it comes to securing data and systems access as well as physical assets, contingent workforce programs need to create a strategy to ensure a risk mitigation mindset. Here’s how you can leverage strategies to help reduce the risk of something going wrong.

Improper Data Access

When enterprise organizations engage outside third-party talent to support their business needs, there is a risk of these nonemployees gaining access to confidential data such as customer lists, financial information or even a “secret recipe.”

Identify those elements to which you do not want your nonemployees to gain access. Once you have this list identified, work with your IT and security teams to remove access to these data elements with a strong exception policy. This will help reduce your organization’s risk exposure.

Improper Systems Access

Similarly, systems access can also be an area of concern and risk for buyer organizations. You should create a robust list of systems that exist within your organization and identify those systems which contain confidential data. Some systems you might want restricted from contingent worker access are financial platforms, customer relationship management tools and security technologies.

Once you have created a list of these systems, create a strategy to help guard against your nonemployee population from accessing them, including a specific exception policy when access is warranted. Having full visibility into who has access to your systems and limiting those individuals who do not need access will help reduce risk without assuming that this is already being managed by a different department.

Physical Asset Management

Most buyer organizations provide physical assets to their contingent workforce, such as laptops, cell phones and a VPN. In most cases, this is a requirement for these workers be able to accomplish their work requirements. With the recent surge in remote work, the challenges specific to physical asset management have become even more difficult to handle.

Create a list of all possible physical assets that can be utilized by your contingent workforce. Once the list is created, review the asset distribution and collection processes to ensure they limit the loss and continued access to these physical assets upon the conclusion of the workers’ assignments.

Contingent workforce program managers must take these risk elements seriously and not assume their organization or another department has it all taken care of. It is your responsibility to double-check access and control of assets in cooperation with key stakeholder departments that can help reduce the risk of inappropriate access.