Is your customer service department immune to security risks?

The need for IT tools and enablers for your customer service department is undeniable. With the wide range of modern technologies available, these departments can offer, immediate, precise, and scalable solutions. The same applies not only to B2B organizations but also for B2C. Having said so, nobody can be too careful about data breaches. Especially considering the volume of tech tools being in use for customer support and service, the risk of data breach remains an alarming concern for these teams.

The European Union has already taken strict measures against the global business laxity towards data theft. According to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes into effect May 25, an organization can face a penalty up to 4 percent of their annual revenue in case of misplacement of customer information. According to recent research, data breaches have grown year-over-year by 38 percent. There has been a significant growth of 56 percent as far as intellectual property theft is concerned.

As tech gurus of today say, data is the new gold in the new world. So, the concern is real, but is there a solution? Well, let’s find out.

Threats your customer service department are prone are to

There’s no way a customer service department can address customer issues without getting access to customer information. A lot of this information is extremely sensitive in nature, including data such as account balances and credit card numbers. There are risks of data leakage while transferring sensitive information among your enterprise’s own teams and applications and to third parties. Stolen laptops can also cause havoc since these official laptops are loaded with customer information. The stolen laptop may or may not land in the hands of a hacker. In case they do, valuable information could still be protected just by disk encryption. But that’s not going to promise full security.

Smart storage is the key

Storing customer information in email or local storage is just inviting trouble. Data should be maintained in a system that can be accessed separately in a controlled environment for usage and regular security review. No personal email account should have customer account information or passwords.

Encryption: The great solution

customer service department

Encrypting data at all times is one of the most secure ways of protecting valuable information. In this way, data can be secured even when it is in motion. If all data is encrypted at all times, along with the presence of a good data loss prevention tool, the chances of data theft is reduced to a great extent. Hackers might still be able to access cloud storage systems or the hosted databases by stealing passwords. However, the information accessed will be useless as it would exist only in the form of strings of letters and numbers. That data would not be identifiable. If the cybercriminals cannot decrypt that data all those codes will be simply worthless.

A blanket single solution for all applications

Security software can be useful but it has limitations. Most of them have a single-track approach to solving the issue, which is either blacklisting or whitelisting capabilities. A security software that establishes a more comprehensive security model is hard to find. Reactive security measures can’t be the only thing a company relies on and neither can software patches be relied upon entirely.

A cybersecurity system would serve its purpose only if all employees can use it with ease. Earlier, firms used on-premises hardware with complex access management software along with a different security policy for each and every platform and cloud service. Today, most firms go for a single solution for all their data security requirements. All these systems have a centralized control point that makes way for simple and fast configuration. Modern cloud security tools do not define security policies of each application. They allow firms to easily deploy encryption solutions to make sure that employees can use it at all times.

Know your cloud service provider

customer service department

Not all cloud services are the same. The level of responsibility also varies from service to service. Software as a service (SaaS) providers make sure that their applications are secure. They ensure the secure transmission and storage of data, but that is not necessarily the case with cloud infrastructure.

For example, an organization may have total responsibility for its AWS Elastic Compute Cloud, Amazon Virtual Private Cloud, and Amazon EBS including managing applications, operating systems, and data protection. On the other hand, Amazon will maintain the applications and the operating system for Simple Storage Service, while the organization will be responsible for data management, identity policies, and access control. The tools required for encrypting the data for Simple Storage Service will be provided by Amazon but it’s the organization’s responsibilities to enable the protection of while entering or leaving the server.

Therefore, it’s very important to be in the clear with the provider to understand who would be in charge of each cloud security control.

Importance of extensions

You must take your website security very seriously. You may want to train your customer service department personnel to use HTTPS browser extensions for Firefox, Chrome, Opera and other browsers while transmitting sensitive files. These extensions force an encrypted connection between the website and the browser using the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol. An SSL certificate for your website and online properties will encrypt the connection as well as authenticate the site identity. If you’re a customer, you may want to see the certificate before you decide to provide your personal details to an organization.

Consider VPN

customer service department

Another important aspect to consider for the security of your organization’s customer support teams is a virtual private network (VPN) for all its online activities. This is highly recommended for support personnel who work remotely or use public WiFi. A VPN will create a virtual tunnel between the destination on the Internet and the computer. This will shield the data being sent from prying eyes. It will also remain encrypted within the tunnel in case hackers try to breach it.

Reduce the risks

As you can see, your customer service department is not immune from risks. However, with the proper measures taken, the risks can be reduced to a negligible amount. It is an equal concern to both customers and the company.

Photo credits: Pixabay

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