Did you know that security breaches commonly take place within customer service call centers? Sure, hackers are gaining skill when it comes to getting into your computer system, but if they can find a way to get their hands on your recorded calls, things become much easier. It’s pretty obvious when you think about it, as most calls involve personally identifiable information (PII). In other words, when you’re speaking with customers, you’re likely to ask them for something like a Social Security number, their mother’s maiden name, or other information that can help hackers get ahold of their account information. This makes your customers—and your company—vulnerable to major theft.
You’re probably putting time, energy, and resources into protecting your online channels for customer communication, but what about your call centers? They’re just as important when it comes to security. You want to make sure you’re serving your customers, not the criminals attempting to get their information and finances. Cybersecurity should be a huge priority, but because it often doesn’t feel “urgent,” it can fall to the wayside. But when you’re suddenly facing a data breach, you’ll wish you had taken the time to ensure your systems were in place.
So how can you protect your clients from threats, both internal and external? Here are six simple ways to beef up your security inside your call center to make sure thieves can’t get their hands on private information.
1. Ditch the Auditory Revealing of PII
First things first: You really don’t need to ask those personally identifiable questions out loud. Instead, invest in software that allows customers to type their answers into a keypad. This is much more difficult to hack and will allow employees to see if they’re approved without hearing the answers themselves. This will help protect against both internal and external theft. Nobody needs to say his or her Social Security number out loud. Asking these types of questions on a phone call is becoming more and more outdated, much to the disappointment of hackers and thieves.
2. Utilize Multifactor Authentication
Something as small as a onetime password can make a big difference when it comes to security. By authenticating who you’re speaking with through a texted or an e-mailed code, you’ll lower your chances of accidentally revealing important information to a fraudster. The more ways you can confirm you’re talking to a customer, the better—but keep customer experience front of mind. It’s tricky to balance multifactor authentication with a customer experience that doesn’t turn into a massive headache. Another option? Social media authentication. If you can find a way to link their information to their Facebook account, there are a lot of options for authenticating through the messenger app.
3. Invest in Biometrics
Technology has allowed for amazing updates to cybersecurity systems. More and more businesses are investing in apps that allow for physical confirmation, like fingerprints or iris detection. This heightened level of security will greatly increase your customers’ protection. Although biometrics are an investment in both resources and time—employees and customers will have to be properly trained in their use—they can make a huge difference in your security in the long run. Once customers are in your app using their biometrics to authenticate their identity, they can chat with customer service representatives with no further questions necessary. It’s much easier to figure out someone’s Social Security number than it is to hack the person’s fingerprint.
4. Increased Employee Training
Employees need to be frequently trained on call center security. Although it’s hard for companies to justify time and resources spent training employees—after all, they could be talking to customers and making sales!—investment in training is absolutely essential to a secure call center. Think of it this way: If you skip the training process, or minimize it, you’ll likely run into security problems down the road, resulting in more money lost, as well as a decrease in customer trust. If employees skip steps in order to make a call go quicker or to get to a result more efficiently, important information can slip through the cracks. Employees need to understand the risks of cybersecurity, how to speak to customers in a way that protects their information, and how to navigate any complex or encrypted systems. That way, you can rest easy knowing that your call center agents are keeping security as front of mind as you are. It’s just another step of truly serving your customers—by putting their financial information’s security first and not taking unnecessary risks.
5. Send Important Information to the Cloud
More and more businesses are sending recorded calls to the cloud instead of keeping them on their own servers or hardware, and it’s no surprise why. Sending information to the cloud may feel like an extra security risk—after all, it’s out of your hands and now on someone else’s server. But clouds are protected by security experts and people whose entire jobs rely on keeping customer information safe. Furthermore, by digitizing everything, you’re protecting yourself against a thief stealing hard drives containing essential customer information and are making employee theft that much more difficult. Try to keep as little information as possible in your company, and export as much as you can to the cloud.
6. Update Your Software
Lastly, and perhaps most simply, don’t forget to update your security software. It’s so easy to forget to do this, especially when you’re getting e-mail reminders in the middle of the workday. It seems as if software is constantly being updated, and staying on top of it can be obnoxious. But often, software updates are related to security and fix bugs that hackers have found. The updates are created to fix specific holes or security gaps, and if you don’t update, you may miss out on an important new feature.