How cloud technology provides a secure and simple gateway to protecting customers’ information
The cashless society seems to be on everybody’s lips these days. With payment methods such as mobile phone-based payments, contactless cards, and online banking on an exponential growth trajectory, your finances are usually managed primarily as numbers on a screen rather than coins in your pocket. Naturally, crime has kept pace and changed tack accordingly, as personal information has become a critical asset and a prime target for cyber-thieves.
The list of organisations whose digital walls of defence have been breached by malware or spyware is expanding at a frightening rate. In the UK over the last 12 months, more than 40% of businesses experienced cyber security breaches. For large businesses, this figure rises to 72%. Many organisations are struggling to keep up with the relentless pace of developments in cyber-criminals’ methods and technology, leaving them vulnerable.
All modern businesses must adopt a digital strategy in order to effectively engage with their customers, but it is also these activities which make them targets for hackers. For e-commerce businesses where payment processing underpins their entire business model, the risk is particularly potent. According to cyber-security firm Shape Security, 80% to 90% of logins to these sites are carried out by criminals using stolen data – this is the highest percentage of any sector.
These organisations must work even harder to gain and keep the trust of their customers. With KPMG reporting that more than half of consumers would either take a long break from shopping with a retailer that suffered a data breach, or stop completely, the perception of security can have tangible effects for businesses’ bottom lines.
How can organisations protect themselves from cyber-crime and reassure their customers that transacting with them is safe?
From the customer’s point of view, they are urged to avoid making transactions on unsecured websites. For businesses, they must also ensure that they adhere to the highest possible security standards across any potential customer touchpoints – including any transactions made over the phone or via engagement with a contact centre.
PCI DSS is the highest international standard for payment security, setting out stringent requirements for the processing of sensitive information. This extends to cover how contact centre agents engage with customers making a payment, as well as any associated recordings of calls.
Businesses can easily run into trouble when processing payments over the phone, especially when confronted with regulations that dictate that sensitive information must not be stored by or accessed by agents. Manual measures, such as the ‘stop-and-start’ method which pauses the call recording while customers are providing card details, are ineffective and difficult to implement on a large scale.
However, it can be a lengthy, expensive, and challenging process to implement a level of security around payments that adheres to PCI DSS requirements. As a result, businesses are increasingly looking to cloud-based solutions and established providers which have processes in place, from the infrastructure to the application layer, which are fully compliant, and then can be rolled out quickly and effectively to ensure that all payments are secured. For contact centres, simple wins such as tone muting for recordings and automatically disconnecting an agent for the duration of a customer’s payment detail submission can ensure full compliance and fully protect both the business and its consumers from any sort of fraud.
However, when cyber-criminals unfortunately do succeed, an organisation with a contact centre equipped with flexible inbound and outbound communications across every channel stands at an advantage. Businesses can rapidly set up dedicated helplines, which will help with maintaining the perception of good customer service. With massive increases in contact volume during breaches, contact centres must be able to scale on demand to meet customers’ expectations. A quick and pro-active customer service response to a cyber-security incident can make a large contribution to reducing the overall damage to the brand’s image.