7 Strategies To Protect Customer Identities In A Work-at-Home Environment

Landing a job in today’s tough economic times is difficult. People often must commute many miles because their local community has limited opportunities. With this in mind, more and more customer care call centers are initiating opportunities for agents to work from home. Rather than driving a long distance to sit at a desk, agents now have the luxury of doing their jobs and providing customer care from the comfort of their own home.

The main concern with agents working from home is security of the customer’s information. In a time when data breaches occur almost every week, customers are often uncomfortable giving out their personal information to an unknown voice on the phone.

Here are seven strategies to use to protect customer identities and confidential information when agents work from home:

1. Leverage managed, thin client devices for the Work-at-Home agents. First, ensure that agents do not use their home computers without additional software to protect data. Second, keep confidential customer information secure with a company-provided thin client device. These devices include technology and software already in place to keep the computer at the server-level.  Third, with no further output options (printers, external storage, etc.), customer data cannot be extracted.

2. Deploy end-point encapsulation on the thin client device with a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).  Provide a completely secured environment through both hardware and software. The cloud-based VDI lockdown will prevent access to the Internet or private documents and will only allow the agent access to client-approved areas.

3. Only allow the device to unlock after two-factor authentication. Implement a token generator and a user profile for access rights. Access to the network and support tools are only available when the agent enters the correct username and password and token.  

4. Employ agent biometric profiling. After the agent passes through the two-factor authentication, require a biometric validator such as a thumbprint or keystroke cadence snapshot as well to authenticate the agent. This validates that the agent is the right person and ensures authorized access. 

5. Use technology to mask and distort confidential information. Install software that garbles touch tones associated with customer-dialed numbers such as credit card or Social Security Numbers. This software shields the customer’s personal information from the end agent. 

6. Install anti-virus and malware protection on every device as part of the Virtual Desktop. Upon login, the agent must provide validation and verification of the end-point to confirm that there is no malware or virus that could breach the customer information. The cloud-based VDI environment will be securely locked down against malicious software.

7. Monitor and track activity to keep agents honest. First and foremost, require prospective agents to pass background and criminal checks. Next, monitor and track agent activity. This activity includes screen shots, voice recordings and keystroke movements. Also, keep a log and report of who is logged in where, when and why. Then monitor for unusual behaviors or patterns. If the worst-case scenario happens and customer information is breached, the agent at fault can quickly be identified.

Keeping customer information locked down is key to a good reputation in the customer care industry. A security breach can tarnish a company’s reputation, which could in turn damage the relationship with its call center. The above seven strategies protect both your customer’s information and your reputation. 

1 comment about "7 Strategies To Protect Customer Identities In A Work-at-Home Environment ".
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  1. Terry Toms from None, July 25, 2012 at 10:57 a.m.

    I am a big supporter of 2-step authentication, and my advice is; if you haven’t yet implemented 2-Factor authentication, I’d encourage you to take some time today and look into it. You are not going to find a more secure and easier user experience anywhere. So activating the two-Factor Authentication technology where you can telesign into the network by entering a one-time PIN code, it is worth the time it takes to set it up and have the confidence that your network won't get hacked and all your customers personal information isn't up for grabs. This should be a prerequisite to any system that wants to promote itself as being secure. I wish others would follow suit.

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