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Three essential pillars of contact center security best practices

Read on to learn which threats are not covered by built-in security and how partnering with OnX allows administrators to adhere to the three pillars that defend against cyberattacks.

The contact center world has undergone significant changes due to the rise of hybrid working models. Now, administrators have to oversee agents across the globe, utilizing new methods of reaching customers through voice, chat, instant messaging, video, and SMS messaging.

With this new way of working, administrators benefitting from increased efficiency must also contend with higher security risks. While administrators have historically depended on Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) vendors’ built-in security features, built-in security does not address other threats, such as those that target contact center employees.

There is an increased demand for solutions that seamlessly deliver the best security for your CCaaS solution. Administrators must combine built-in security with add-on tools implemented by industry experts to achieve total defense. Read on to learn which threats are not covered by built-in security and how partnering with OnX allows administrators to adhere to the three pillars that defend against cyberattacks.

Contact center security threats

There are three common contact center security threats: Hardware failure, data leaks, and weak network security.

  • Hardware failure occurs when storage devices fail. Whether due to data corruption, natural disasters, or other events, administrators need backup systems in place for business continuity.
  • Data leaks are primarily caused by accidental leaking of sensitive data or a malicious attack. As ransomware becomes increasingly sophisticated and hackers utilize social engineering schemes, targeting a security system’s weak points is easier than ever.
  • Weak network security can be caused by an unsegmented network scenario. When a contact center network is not segmented from the rest of the organization, a data breach in one area of the company can affect the contact center and vice versa.

This blog will focus further on data leaks and an unsecured infrastructure. For more on creating secure cloud backups that protect against hardware failure, read Seven core strategies for cloud disaster recovery solutions.

The pros and cons of built-in protection and add-on security

Threat actors often target weaknesses outside built-in security. This means protections that end at the front end leave a significant vulnerability in the security of platforms provided by CCaaS vendors (such as employees, poorly written software, and unsecured infrastructure).

Maintaining security is not just necessary for compliance, it is also crucial for enhancing a company’s reputation. Investing in backend security beyond built-in solutions helps keep customers safe and improves a brand’s image. Luckily, a few simple steps combined with insight from security experts can significantly reduce the risk of data breaches, as well as develop a response plan in the case of a successful attack.

Also read: Strengthen your IT security foundation with these patch management best practices

Contact center security: Three pillars against cyberattacks

Pillar 1: Secure technology

When building your contact center architecture, always ensure your organization utilizes zero trust principles. Perform a threat modeling exercise to identify and secure vulnerabilities before implementing the target architecture:

  • Secure identities: Multi-factor authentication (MFA) should be required for contact center employees and implemented continuously.
  • Secure interfaces: Use a web application firewall (WAF) to safeguard exposed web applications, voice traffic, and VPN access.
  • Encrypt data: From social security numbers to driver’s license numbers, all personally identifiable information (PII) should be encrypted in transit and at rest (backups) to prevent hackers who use PII for unauthorized access or disclosure.
  • Update the technology stack: With malicious actors constantly looking for vulnerabilities, keeping the technology stack current with regular patches and vulnerability scans is crucial.
  • Monitor, log, and alert: All auditable events should be logged—with a SIEM tool or other log aggregation tool—and organizations need monitoring and alerting capabilities to be notified of suspicious activity.
  • Restrict data: Mitigate risk by limiting access to sensitive data through:
    • Implementing a data classification program that masks sensitive information from employees. For example, only the last four digits of a PII number can be displayed.
    • Implementing the principle of least privilege to manage employee permissions closely, granting only access that employees need to perform their tasks then remove access and permissions as soon as an employee leaves employment.
    • Deletion of credit card information the moment a transaction is completed to maintain security even if customers are slightly inconvenienced.

Pillar 2: Secure operations

  • A culture of security: Creating a continuous security improvement program for contact center employees requires buy-in from leadership and employees alike. Provide quarterly training on identifying malware, phishing scams, and social engineering schemes. Employees must know how to create strong passwords and dispose of sensitive data physically or digitally.
  • Constant testing: Security audits and penetration tests should be routinely performed with support from a security partner. Administrators should regularly schedule antivirus and malware scans and block untrustworthy websites or applications. At-home agents need secure devices that monitor usage.
  • Ever vigilant: A data breach can and will happen. Organizations should invest in an Incident Response Plan with steps in place for a data breach, covering actions such as notifying customers and maintaining business continuity.
  • AI and bot protection: To guard against bot and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, organizations should implement a WAF and train users on the latest AI-generated scams.

Pillar 3: Secure customers/users

  • User authentication: Organizations must ensure secure authentication for customer login portals to reduce the risk of a breach. Use phishing-resistant MFA to address 99.9% of account compromise attacks.
  • Data privacy policy: State privacy laws are constantly changing, making it more important than ever to communicate to customers how an organization’s contact center uses its data. Transparency is vital to build trust and establish brand loyalty. Providing customers with a way to delete their data, known as the “Right to be Forgotten,” is an important step in building this trust.

Partnering to build your pillars

With the influx of hybrid working models, new security challenges are constantly appearing. Security breaches have serious ramifications. Many companies face fines, ransoms, or reputation damage. Some never recover. Organizations need the right partner to help them build the pillars of contact center security.

Partnering with OnX gives organizations access to decades of experience in telecommunications. The OnX team has managed transitions across hundreds of contact centers as they move from legacy systems to cloud-based communications. Our team knows how important it is to identify the security challenges that are unique to your organization.

Rely on our team of security experts to perform security assessments and help you choose the right CCaaS platform. Expertise is available to you on how to merge CCaaS with Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) systems, allowing you to create a secure, more cost-efficient, streamlined system that boosts workflows and enhances collaboration across the entire organization.

Contact an expert from OnX today.