5 Ways to Improve Your Contact Center Security

July 07, 2023
Written by

When it comes to the security of their personal information, customers today have higher expectations than ever, and rightfully so. After all, according to IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach report, for 83% of companies, it’s not a matter of if a data breach will happen, but when.  

We don't need to tell you that a single security incident or data breach can have far-reaching consequences that tarnish a business's hard-earned reputation. As the frontline of customer interactions, contact centers play a crucial role in shaping a company's brand image and reputation.

Fortunately, by examining potential threats and digging into best practices, we’ll arm you with the knowledge and tools you need to maintain contact center security (and your customer’s trust).

Why it matters

In an era where data breaches dominate headlines, businesses need to prioritize the security of their contact centers. Strengthening data security measures not only protects customer information but also preserves brand reputation.

Below, we'll get into how a proactive approach to security measures instills confidence in your customers and sets your call center agents up for success.

Common threats (and how to combat them)

Due to the sheer amount of data call centers handle they tend to be attractive targets for those seeking to exploit potential vulnerabilities. These attempts come in many forms, so we’ll break down each threat––and how to fight it––below.

Threat: Social Engineering Attacks

One of the most prevalent threats to contact center security is social engineering attacks. These shady tactics rely on exploiting human nature and are often used to deceive employees and gain unauthorized access to sensitive information. Phishing emails, for instance, trick employees into revealing login credentials or clicking on malicious links. Impersonation involves posing as a trusted individual, such as a customer or colleague, to manipulate contact center staff into divulging confidential data. Pretexting is a form of social engineering that involves creating a false pretext or scenario to manipulate employees into sharing sensitive information. Other forms of social engineering attacks include TDoS and IoT attacks, ransomware, and hacking.

Solution: Prioritize Employee Training and Awareness

The most effective method for combating social engineering attacks is to invest in comprehensive employee training and awareness programs. By educating your contact center staff about ongoing security threats and prevention measures, you’ll empower them to effectively recognize and respond to potential risks. Training should focus on identifying phishing attempts, spotting suspicious requests for information, and verifying the identity of an individual before sharing any confidential data. By cultivating a vigilant and informed workforce, businesses can create a strong line of defense against social engineering attacks.

Threat: Insider Threats

Insider threats are another significant risk to contact centers and typically involve using one’s permissions to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information. When people think of this type of threat, they often think of former disgruntled employees. And, with an average call center attrition rate of 42%, they wouldn’t necessarily be wrong. However, other factors including just plain carelessness can also be at play. That said, malicious intent or not, the threat still stands. Mitigating insider threats requires a multi-faceted approach that combines technical controls, proper access management, and a strong security culture.

Solution: Take A Multi-Faceted And Digital Approach

One way to stop the unauthorized access of data is by implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) and/or single sign-on (SSO) protocols. This makes it significantly more challenging for unauthorized users to gain entry into critical systems and sensitive data. It also helps to protect against password-related vulnerabilities, such as weak passwords or password reuse, which are often exploited by attackers.

It’s also vital that organizations implement strident data governance policies, including reviewing employee permissions. Ensure the right people have access to sensitive information by granting permissions based on necessity, job title, seniority, and other relevant factors. This not only reduces the risk of internal attacks but also enables swift access revocation in case of a breach.

Threat: Outdated or Misconfigured Tech

Much like trying to sail a boat with a hole in it, outdated software and misconfigured systems are inadequate security measures that fail to protect against evolving threats. By exploiting these weaknesses, Bad Guys™ can gain unauthorized access to sensitive customer data, leading to severe consequences like identity theft, financial fraud, reputational damage, or worse.

Solution: Encrypt and Secure Your Communications

Implementing encryption and secure communications is vital in the fight against unauthorized access in contact centers. Encryption safeguards data by converting it into an unreadable format that can only be deciphered with the appropriate decryption key. By encrypting data both in transit and at rest, organizations protect sensitive information from unauthorized interception or tampering. Secure communication protocols, such as Transport Layer Security (TLS) or Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), provide an additional layer of protection by establishing encrypted connections between the contact center and its customers. These protocols ensure that customer interactions and data exchanges occur securely, mitigating the risk of unauthorized access and data compromise.

Threat: Fraudulent Activities

Fraudulent activities pose a significant threat to contact centers, with identity theft and fraudulent transactions being common forms of attack. Malicious actors may attempt to steal personal information from customers or exploit vulnerabilities in payment processes to carry out unauthorized transactions. Protecting against fraudulent activities is essential for both preserving financial integrity and maintaining a trusting relationship with customers.

Solution: Perform Regular Security Audits

Periodic audits help identify vulnerabilities in your contact center’s systems, processes, and controls. These audits evaluate security measures, identify potential weak points, and ensure regulatory compliance. In addition to internal audits, engaging third-party experts for comprehensive assessments brings a fresh perspective and specialized knowledge to the evaluation process. These experts can conduct thorough penetration testing, vulnerability assessments, and security reviews to uncover any weaknesses that may be exploited by fraudsters. By regularly assessing and strengthening security measures, contact centers can stay one step ahead of potential threats and proactively protect against fraudulent activities.

Bonus Tip: Partner with Trustworthy Vendors

All modern organizations work with vendors or partners with companies to optimize and automate workflows, drive revenue, and enhance the overall customer experience. To mitigate risk, evaluate each vendor's security measures and practices and identify how they measure up against your own. Twilio's User Authentication & Identity suite helps businesses optimize conversions with customizable verification solutions. For example, call centers can use Twilio Lookup Identity Match and Twilio Verify to confirm identities during account registration and for subsequent possession checks.

Drive conversions from your contact center conversations

Speaking of how Twilio empowers conversions while keeping your customer data safe, Twilio Flex is a digital engagement center for the entire customer journey—a sales tool for pre-purchase conversations, a cloud-based contact center, and an in-app digital concierge.

Secure Your Contact Center

If you’re looking to give your contact center agents the context, data, and channel flexibility they need to turn ordinary conversations into opportunities to drive repeat sales, learn more about Twilio Flex.