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Customer Inter@ction Solutions
June 2007 - Volume 26 / Number 1
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Five Steps To Securing Data In The Contact Center

By Tom Aiello, Envision

Recent high-profile security breaches have underlined the importance of safeguarding sensitive customer information from the contact center to the enterprise. Failure to protect customer data has resulted in damaged reputations, costly penalties and dissatisfied customers.

Contact centers can take proactive steps to safeguard customer data by protecting information stored in millions of agent-customer recorded interactions. Demand to share the voice of the customer with enterprise decision-makers and increasingly high agent attrition rates have made this a necessity. Companies interested in becoming more proactive with guarding their customer data across and throughout the contact center and the extended enterprise can take the following steps.

1. Perform A Risk Assessment
The first step to protecting your customers’ data in the contact center is to perform an assessment of your current data management processes and policies. A detailed assessment will help you uncover your current risk exposure and identify whether you have security gaps that need to be addressed. In order to perform a risk assessment you will need to create a checklist to establish a baseline of information regarding your current security level. For example:

• Who currently manages sensitive customer data in your center and how are you currently sharing that information?
• What types of sensitive customer data do you process?
• Where are those data processed within your contact center? Is the information processed in a safe and secure environment?
• What is your level of staff turnover annually? With agent attrition rates as high as 40 or 50 percent annually, turnover may expose you to additional risk.
• Are you complying with industry guidelines or regulations? HIPAA, PCI and other industry regulations require you to protect sensitive customer information.
• Are you currently outsourcing your customer service? Your outsourcer may not have the same protection you expect or require within your organization.

2. Analyze And Perform Root Cause Analysis
By performing root cause analysis, you will be able to understand where you have data protection gaps. By analyzing your root cause analysis results, you will have the information you need to take action to better protect your data. Prioritize your security risks from lowest to highest and compare your findings with your ability to address each area.

3. Evaluate Your Options
Selecting the plan of attack to address your security issues requires strategic analysis of the costs and benefits of each solution. Addressing security concerns within your contact center requires a complex approach of understanding how people, processes and technology work together to protect customer data. For example, reducing agent attrition rates in your contact center or
securing the location where customer data are being managed may reduce corporate risk.

4. Create And Communicate Your Security Plan
The assessment provides you with a baseline for measuring your current security practices and to perform root cause analysis to gain insight into how you can safeguard sensitive data in the future. Based on your current workflow, you can realign how people and processes work together to safeguard data. Write a plan and communicate it across your organization to ensure that your people and processes are aligned to protect customer data as they move through your organization. Today, technology is available to help you protect sensitive customer data as soon as the information is being collected and then shared across your organization. Technology makes it possible to protect financial and personal data as they are processed and then stored in millions of recorded customer-agents interactions each day. Whether you’re interested in minimizing your risk with data collected on CRM screens and/or recorded calls, technology is available.

5. Measure And Optimize
Your security plan should be evaluated regularly and be flexible to identify new vulnerabilities that may emerge as your business grows and to ensure that your current plan is working effectively.

Tom Aiello is Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Marketing at Envision (www.envisioninc.com). He has more than two decades of experience in the contact center industry in sales management, marketing and business development.

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