Cybersecurity is a key consideration for businesses of all sizes. This is especially true in today’s increasingly digital world, which has expanded even further as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and is presenting new security and compliance risks.
The threat is particularly acute among small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Compared to enterprises, SMBs generally have smaller IT teams and limited resources to dedicate towards ensuring data protection and security, thereby potentially placing sensitive corporate and customer information at risk. In addition, breaches can lead to significant financial and reputational damage from which many SMBs would be unable to recover, highlighting the importance of protecting customers and their personal data.
These challenges are further amplified when applied to the contact centre in SMBs. While it might not be the first business area that comes to mind when talking about cybersecurity, the digital nature of modern contact centres means businesses have to be aware of the potential threats that they and their customers face.
Being able to effectively protect against these risks while ensuring regulatory compliance and maintaining the same level of customer service, is vital to fostering customer trust as a component of long-term loyalty.
The impact of digital-first
In today’s contact centres, threats can come from many different angles. Contact centres are expected to provide a digital-first service for customers through a combination of mobile, social and traditional channels that includes email, text, chatbots and messaging apps. Connecting with customers where they want to connect is now a necessity, along with enabling anytime, anywhere conveniences. This makes it easier for customers to get the personalised help they need, thereby providing an improved experience in order to drive customer satisfaction.
Ultimately, contact centres are having to modernise in order to future-proof their operations and keep pace with rapidly changing customer expectations. This digital-first requirement is essential to retaining customers and increasing revenue in the modern competitive landscape, requiring SMBs to ensure they have strong security and compliance measures in place across all channels.
This is particularly important given the ever-growing volume of sensitive data being collected, most notably in industries such as healthcare, financial services and insurance. Contact centres in these industries are constantly dealing with sensitive personally identifiable information and protected transactions, and it’s their responsibility to safeguard this data as effectively as possible.
If that wasn’t challenging enough, the current climate where agents are working from home and accessing critical systems from external networks is causing further complications. When employees work remotely, they additional layers of security that are provided when working in the office are no longer present. This creates potential security risks for organisations that must be addressed.
With all this in mind, it’s clear that security and compliance in the contact centre have to be front of mind for SMBs. With a digital-first contact centre strategy now being the order of the day, the onus is firmly on SMBs to ensure that their confidential data stays protected.
Security at the centre
With so many factors to consider, SMBs should turn to technologies such as voice authentication and cloud to help ensure that they and their customers are protected against potential threats. Voice authentication is a biometrics solution that analyses hundreds of behavioural and physical speech characteristics to authenticate and verify a customer’s identity, thereby streamlining contact centre authentication and fraud prevention across multiple channels.
The caller’s claimed identity is verified during the first few seconds of the interaction with an agent or mobile application, through either an active or a passive process. Active authentication requires the customer to recite a certain number of specific phrases in order to confirm their identity, whereas passive authentication takes place in the background without any effort from the customer. This more advanced, real-time form of authentication increases security while at the same time providing a superior customer experience.
Then there’s the cloud. While many contact centres are already turning to the cloud to help them adapt to changing customer expectations and future-proof their operations, it also offers many security and compliance benefits. For example, cloud-based contact centre environments, or contact centre-as-a-service (CCaas) offerings, now offer security standards that match or surpass on-premises systems. They include built-in security features that maintain data protection, giving businesses peace of mind that their valuable customer data will be safe.
Cloud contact centre solutions can also enable greater compliance with regulations such as GDPR, Consent to Record, Cyber Essentials and PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard). Failure to comply with these regulations can result in significant fines, making it vital that SMBs pick a cloud solution that aids compliance activities. With the right cloud platform in place, SMBs will be able to leverage other technologies such as interaction analytics and intelligent call recording software to help them stay on top of compliance requirements.
As the awareness of cyber threats increases and as new regulations continue to be introduced, it’s vital that contact centres embrace technologies such as the cloud and voice authentication in order to boost their security posture. With these tools in place, SMBs will be able to rest safe in the knowledge that their data is secure and that customers are getting the best possible experience.
Guest Blog by Paul Jarman, CEO, NICE inContact
Paul Jarman holds the position of NICE inContact CEO; responsible for the enterprise, midmarket, government organizations and business process outsourcers (BPOs) who operate in multiple divisions, locations and global regions. A pioneer of the cloud movement, he was instrumental in guiding inContact from its roots in telecommunications to its strategic offering of cloud-based contact center solutions and has been a part of every major enhancement the company has made since 1997.