The Hosted Call Center - Is There a Bigger Risk?
March 26, 2012
We often think of the call or contact center as the primary interaction point between the customer and the company. Seldom do we explore the security risks involved in this industry, but that doesn’t mean the risks aren’t real and even increasing. For companies exploring the possibility of the hosted call center platform, the thought of any increased risk is enough to delay action.
This recent inContact blog highlighted the writer’s visit to the RSA (News - Alert) Security Conference in San Francisco. This conference, which was first held in 1991, has morphed into the largest gatherings of security experts and cryptographers in the U.S. The highlight was the keynote address, appropriately so.
The keynote was delivered by Arthur Coviello Executive Vice President, EMC Corporation (News - Alert) and Executive Chairman, RSA, who stressed the importance of changing the way in which networks are secured, even in the hosted call center. Firewalls and passwords are not the only protection options and simply adding more controls is not enough to keep malicious attacks at bay.
The security model of the future, according to Coviello, includes incorporating a risk-based approach where risk is the function of vulnerabilities that already exist, the value of the assets being protected and the likelihood of the attack. Patterns and trends must be identified through threat analysis and detection.
What does this truly have to do with the hosted call center? For companies who are leveraging the hosted call center, they need to examine how the provider’s operational model impacts or mitigates risk. The provider should have risk mitigation as a primary goal, while also focusing on minimizing the data that exists within its system. The less data the provider maintains, the less data that can be breached in an attack.
The hosted call center provider should rarely, if ever, host any sensitive data, instead offering tools such as Web services and database connectors to allow applications to consume customer data from a customer source. That data can then be used within a script to determine how to process a contact and then the data should be discarded.
Headlines continue to focus on the risks that could be involved with sharing information with the call center, especially when it is housed offshore. This Guardian post questioned the security of information when the control of the center is not within the bounds of U.S. law and regulations. The companies using these sites are subject to such laws if they hope to continue to do business with U.S. consumers – but how powerful are these controls?
This is a question to ask of any vendor offering the hosted call center, or even support in-house. Customer data and supporting networks must be protected. It’s not only imperative for legitimate business practices, it’s also essential for quality customer care.
Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli
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