When a company considers outsourcing their call center, several benefits come to mind like cost savings and flexibility. However, data security is one area that is a major concern. This article helps explain how company data is vulnerable and what a company can do to reduce their security risk when purchasing outsourced call center services.
The two main types of data in a company’s data center are application and document. Application data is accessed by front-end applications like customer relationship management systems, enterprise resource planning applications and custom applications. Document data is information found in documents like emails, spreadsheets, presentations and word documents. Because of the volume of documents that move through company personnel on a daily basis, it can create unintentional exposure to confidential information if it gets in the hands of the wrong people. For example, computer hackers can profit from selling customer or proprietary data to data thieves, corporate spies or organized crime rings.
It’s important to be aware of where data is vulnerable. In the software itself, many databases are not powerful enough to protect the data they contain and enforcing who is able to use the data can be challenging. Also, logging data is a useful security feature mainly to help when investigators need to go in and trace a criminal’s path after they stole the information but cannot protect the information once it is stolen. Lastly, the applications themselves can be vulnerable to attack and while company IT departments do their best to patch up applications where needed, it’s impossible to update every application in their system.
Companies must walk a fine line between protecting their data when working with an outsourcing vendor and making sure that it is not too restrictive. Otherwise it can make the process too difficult for the outsourced call center staff to do their job, which in turn will make it more expensive for the hiring company.
Once a decision has been made to move forward on hiring an outsourcing call center vendor, it’s important to have a solid security policy that both Management and IT Departments are in agreement on, which explains what is sensitive data and what is not and how each type of data should be handled. Second, hiring the right service provider is essential so companies need to look for a vendor that has strict security policies that are enforced and security training for their staff. Also, companies need to conduct regular application and database audits and regular network security audits to identify current or potential issues that can make company data vulnerable. No data base is completely protected but these steps can help ensure that a company’s exposure to potential data breaches when working with an outsourcing vendor is minimized as much as possible.