Security concerns are common in the contact center. After all, as the epicenter of interactions between your audience and your business, your contact center consistently processes and collects huge amounts of sensitive information.
The sheer volume of data moving through the contact center daily makes it vulnerable to countless errors and inconsistencies. Plus, as criminals continue to search for ways to capture more personal information, contact center solutions are becoming a common target.
While contact centers have always needed to show significant caution and care when dealing with data and transactions, security risks are gradually increasing. The arrival of new contact center channels, combined with increased adoption of the cloud for hybrid and remote work has prompted new challenges to emerge.
Here are just some of the ways you can reduce your risks and keep your system secure.
1. Choose the Correct Contact Center Vendors
The first, and perhaps most important step you can take to minimize your risks in today’s contact center and CCaaS landscape, is to ensure you’re using the right vendor for your technology. A good CCaaS (Contact Centre as a Service) solution provider should have a fantastic range of security and privacy tools for you to access to keep data secure.
When shopping for the right vendor, don’t just focus on budget and feature sets. Make sure you also think about concepts like:
- Data sovereignty: The ability to choose how and where your data is stored from within the contact center will make you more effective at keeping information safe. Look for a vendor that gives you complete control over your data flow.
- Encryption: As standard, all of the best contact center vendors should be able to ensure your information is encrypted at rest and in transit. This means securing your information whether you’re connecting with customers through a telephone call, messaging, SMS or video.
- Intelligent security: Intelligent security measures like AI systems which can monitor your networks and search for risks in real-time can be extremely valuable. You can also look into options like biometrics for identifying consumers.
You may also want to check the certifications held by your contact center vendor. For instance, ISO-27001 and ISO-9001 certifications are common in the contact center industry. It’s also worth looking for PCI-DSS compliance for payment card processing, and SOC 2 certifications for healthcare data.
2. Segment your Networks
Hybrid and remote working practices are on the rise. If your business is made up of a group of different professionals working in various environments, it’s important to think about how you can keep these professionals safe. Protected connections for your CCaaS platform and session border controllers can often come in handy here.
However, it’s also worth thinking about the way you manage your networks. Network segmentation allows you to split a network into various subnets, so administrators can better regulate traffic flow between each environment. An unsegmented network will often be at bigger risk of security threats, as it offers one large, single surface, more vulnerable to attacks.
Segmenting your network not only strengthens your security standing, it can also generate higher performance levels too. There are often fewer hosts per network to worry about, which can minimize local failures and traffic issues.
3. Manage Data Accessibility
As mentioned above, one of the main reasons contact centers often struggle with security and privacy, is that they’re dealing with huge volumes of data on a regular basis. While this information can be extremely useful when it comes to learning more about your business and customers, it’s also very dangerous if it happens to fall into the wrong hands.
Around 95% of data breaches are a result of human error. This means you need to have the right strategies in place to prevent employees from accidentally exposing your data. There are various steps you can take to manage data accessibility and reduce risks. For instance, you can set up an automated system to automatically remove access to your CCaaS system for any employee who leaves your business.
You can also implement a zero-trust policy, which only allows people with specific administrative permissions to access certain data records and information. Implementing strategies like multi-factor authentication methods can also be useful too. This ensures if someone outside of your business manages to gain access to an employee device like a smartphone or computer, they won’t be able to access their system with just a username and password.
4. Identify and Repair Gaps in Data Management
Most of the major security risks that affect the contact center revolve around the management and use of data. It’s important for every business to have the right systems in place to determine where data is stored, how it’s handled, and how it can be secured. For instance, with a cloud-based CCaaS system and an AI solution can you automatically remove personally identifiable information from the data you need to store for compliance and training purposes.
Contact centers can also install monitoring tools which track things like potentially fraudulent calls or unusual activity in the contact center. This makes it easier to pinpoint issues as they arise, and implement strategies to improve the protection of your data straight away.
Another way to identify and repair gaps in the way you manage data, is to implement a strategy for keeping on top of your software updates and patches. As technology in the cloud evolves, firmware updates are often released to minimize the threats discovered in previous versions. Automatically updating your technology and ensuring updates are rolled out to remote employees immediately can help to keep risks to a minimum.
5. Provide Agents with Ongoing Training
As noted above, your contact center employees frequently stand as one of the biggest threats to your company’s security. There are various steps companies can take to address this issue. For instance, implementing monitoring tools to track unusual behavior from your team members can help to protect you from inside threats. What’s more, removing access to crucial tools when an employee leaves a business can reduce your risk even further.
However, the unfortunate truth is most of the risks created by your employees will be unintentional. As threats facing the contact center continue to ramp up, we’re seeing a higher number of issues emerging from things like social engineering, where people try to trick contact center agents into opening dangerous files or sharing information through email and other channels.
Providing your agents with training into the kind of threats they’re likely to face on a regular basis is a good way to ensure they’re ready to defend themselves against common attacks. You can also offer training as a way to ensure employees comply with standard security practices. For instance, you might offer tips on how to create secure passwords, or how to back up crucial information in the contact center.
The more informed your team members are, the more protected they’ll be.
Reducing Risks in the Contact Center
The unfortunate truth is that risks in the contact center are evolving all the time. As criminals become more digitally savvy, they’re finding new and improved ways to break into critical systems and databases to collect sensitive information.
The only way to ensure you can stay ahead of the criminals, is to put the right strategy in place for protecting your ecosystem. The 5 strategies above should form a strong foundation for your security plan. However, it’s worth making sure you examine and audit your efforts on a regular basis, to ensure they’re having the right results.