In a world increasingly dominated by cloud computing and outsourcing, vendor management has become a core competency of running a great IT department. Let’s break down three things you need to know about choosing the right tech partners.

1. Know how to navigate lock-in

Naturally, most vendors are going to do everything they can to lock you into their ecosystem and make it difficult for you to leave once you sign the contract. No matter what add-ons and discounts they offer, make sure you actually calculate the value of what you’re getting versus the penalties and additional costs you’ll incur if you have to change horses in the future.

2. Don’t make a decision without peer input

Never sign a contract without talking to other companies that have worked with the vendor. Sure, talk to the ones they offer as shining examples. But, also do your own research and talk to at least a couple companies that the vendor didn’t put forward in order to get a more balanced view of what kind of partner you’re dealing with.

3. Make sure cybersecurity is part of the plan

Many of the most infamous cybersecurity breaches in corporate history have been caused by weak links between partners. Make cybersecurity standards a prominent factor when making deals with vendors and don’t be afraid to ask for a cybersecurity audit before signing on the dotted line.

Special report

To learn more, read our full special report “How to Choose and Manage Great Tech Partners.” You can read all of the articles on ZDNet or you can download them in one PDF on TechRepublic, available for free to registered users.