No matter your industry, you've probably heard about the consequences of a data breach. From falling share prices to lost customer trust (think of Equifax), a single, high-profile cybersecurity incident can jeopardize an entire organization. And, because contact centers process and store vast amounts of sensitive data, they're often prime targets for fraudsters and cybercriminals.
Even if data security and compliance aren't your forte -- or a key part of your job description -- understanding the importance of minimizing risks, especially as you procure, manage, and maintain enterprise communications technologies, is an imperative. After all, a breach can also adversely affect individuals within an organization, leading to job loss. In fact, a Trustwave and Osterman Research survey showed that 38% of organizations consider a data breach that becomes public a fireable offense for IT professionals.
Just imagine if you were the person who decided to put off a software update with a critical security patch, or didn't verify a technology vendor's compliance with the latest security standards. You may find yourself not only out of a job, but also out of a career, as you'll have to explain to future employers why you waited to fix that vulnerability in your VoIP network.
It's your turn to be a champion for contact center data security and take a proactive approach to protecting your company and your customers' sensitive information. Here are three ways you can do this:
- Voice your vision -- As you champion your cause, convey a sense of urgency for data security among your team members and other contact center players. Share some of the adverse effects of a data breach at your next department meeting. Bring up cybersecurity topics in the news at lunch. Rattle off some telling statistics (did you know that the odds of experiencing a data breach are as high as one in four, as Ponemon Institute found?) Although damage to your company's reputation and lost revenue may not be of prime concern to those below the C-suite, discuss how a breach could affect your colleagues' jobs. That will light a fire under their toes.
- Chat up the C-suite about costs -- While upper management may not necessarily care about how a cybersecurity incident may affect your job, you will have executives' full attention if you talk costs. By speaking their language, you'll find an easier task of obtaining buy-in for supporting your security vision. For instance, share how protecting your contact center's data also protects the entire organization from reputation damage and loss in customer trust, both of which directly affect the bottom line. Need some additional statistical fodder? Last year, the average cost of a data breach was more than $3.6 million, Ponemon found.
- Remove data from your IT infrastructure -- Unfortunately, you can't prevent every possible data breach, no matter how much time and effort you put into raising awareness among colleagues and C-level folks. Therefore, when exploring new contact center technologies, take heed of those that not only encrypt or tokenize data, but also, more importantly, remove sensitive data from your IT infrastructure – completely. For example, if you collect customer credit card payments, consider solutions that allow callers to input their information directly through their phone keypads. Such solutions mask the dual-tone multi-frequency (DTMF) sounds with flat tones so they are never exposed to agents/customer service representatives, CRM systems, desktop applications and call recordings, which may be breached.
With data breaches showing no sign of a slowdown, everyone within an organization -- including contact center decision makers -- must do their part to keep sensitive information out of the wrong hands. If data security and compliance are low on your contact center's to do list, take the initiative now and lead the charge toward protecting data, and, when possible, removing it from your IT infrastructure. So, why wait to be breached?
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