In a rather alarming report conducted by the data-based security company Eckoh, it was discovered that many call centers don’t report data breaches. This could be due to a myriad of reasons, including high call center turnover rates, settling lawsuits out of court with clients, and keeping data breaches out of the news.
As a leading provider of secure outsourced call center services, 3C Contact Services tells their partners that there are steps they can take to prevent data breaches.
Perform Background Checks
The importance of performing background checks on new employees and business partners is something that cannot be emphasized enough. Last month, AT&T was slapped with a $25.0-million fine after call center employees for AT&T’s in Mexico, the Philippines, and Columbia stole and leaked important information from thousands of U.S. customers (it’s estimated that nearly 280,000 customers were affected). This breach was widely publicized and served as a wake-up call for many in the call center industry.
When hiring new agents, especially if you work with sensitive information, always perform a criminal background check and carefully monitor your employees’ activities. If there is any suspicious activity, take necessary action immediately. This may include dismissing the agent or possibly involving the police. And if you’re thinking about employing the services of another business, it’s best to check that they’re taking these security precautions seriously as well.
Limit Your Agents’ Access to Personal Data
While most employees and call center agents are honest, there are solutions that you can use to limit your agents’ access to sensitive customer data. For example, there is software available that lets your agents field calls without having access to personal client information.
In fact, only certain trusted employees, such as your management team, should have access to your clients’ personal data. Avoid having sensitive data on anything other than a centralized location. An agent may breach data without knowing it if they have important information on a laptop or a USB stick—if it gets stolen or misplaced, then that could be considered a serious data breach.
Have an Emergency Plan in Place
Should the unthinkable happen and there is a data breach, hire an expert to handle disaster recovery for your organization. This expert can help you take the proper precautions to ensure the data breach does not happen again. Finding reliable security for your sensitive data should be at the top of your list when you incorporate your business.
Contain the breach immediately after it occurs to limit the amount of data that has been leaked. Change your passwords as well. Your first call following a breach should be to your security provider so they can take the necessary steps to limit the damage that has already been done.
Let Your Clients Know Immediately
Now comes the hard part; in the event of a data breach, you’ll have to let your clients know immediately. But first, fully assess everything that has happened and prepare a statement of what you will tell your clients. Let them know that you have taken steps to prevent the breach from happening again.
If you take the proper precautions, such as limiting agent access to client data and using the proper security precautions, including background checks for your agents, you will greatly reduce the chances of a data breach occurring in the first place.
Hire a Secure Third-Party Contact Service Provider
For many businesses, investing in the proper networks, conducting background checks, and keeping an eye on sensitive data can be time-consuming and costly. For these businesses, hiring a third-party contact center that emphasizes the importance of keeping your data secure may be the best option. To learn more, contact 3C Contact Services today.
Ballard, E., “Most call center data breaches unreported: Eckoh,” Market Watch web site, April 27, 2015; http://www.marketwatch.com/story/most-call-center-data-breaches-unreported-eckoh-2015-04-27.