blogbg-img.jpg

Nebu’s Market Research Magazine

Subscribe to Email Updates

Security for Virtual Call Centers

6 Security Tips for Home Worker Interviewers

Security for Virtual Call Centers

Eric van Velzen
Posted on 26 May 2016 in CATI
by Eric van Velzen
5 min

When you work with traditional call centers, you have the benefit of controlling the whole environment from the hardware elements to the services. The challenge occurs when your interviewers work from home. You might feel out of control, especially from a security point of view. This should not necessarily be the case and this is what we address in this article.

Virtual Call Center

1. Choose the right environment

Home worker interviewers in most cases only need an internet connection, which sounds to be a very low entry barrier. To provide high quality calls, we need to find the right place to conduct the interviews. It is easy to get public free Wi-Fi, but consider who else can hear your discussion in a public area, or who can analyze your network traffic. Note, if needed, you can use a softphone, that can encrypt the communication. Same consideration has to be taken at home, in case any family member has a job or activity that is also conducted from home and can violate the contract with the interviewer, if the other family members can hear part of the interviewer. Interviewers need a calm place, where disturbing noises are excluded (shouting kids, driller machine in a garage, etc).

2. Secured, stable internet connection

Interviewers need an internet connection that has the required bandwidth and latency parameters, in many cases this is relatively easy to test. If a cable connection is used (directly from the provider, or from the local router) then you can establish a permanent connection. Best to have a non default username / password pair applied for the local router and an expert needs to provide the instructions of which ports need to be open, which protocols need to be allowed - on a switched on firewall. Be sure, that DHCP will not give IP addresses too frequently. Where Wi-Fi is used, the Wi-Fi network needs to have the proper encryption method and level set, and a strong password assigned to the SSID. You need to have a secure connection to the system, from where you conduct the interview (https for the web part, and preferably a secure connection to the audio part).

3. Secure your workstation environment

The interviewing environment needs to be clean and well maintained. It is good practice, to switch on and execute regular operating system upgrades, and the same practice needs to be applied for the used software components as well. Virus scanner should be applied, where the virus database should be refreshed at least daily, real-time protection is suggested to be on, and regular full scans help securing the system further, as well as checking all connected devices. If your virus protection software is strictly about viruses, then it is good to have a software installed for malware protection as well.

4. Interview time - Initiate a clean start

To conduct quality interviews, consider focus, proper headset, appropriate network and level of security - you are best to start “clean”. Having a clear browser cache (offline contents, and numerous cookies) leads to more responsive browser behavior. Within the browser close all unnecessary tabs and instances. Browser related security can be improved by blocking unwanted advertisements with plugins, and by removing unnecessary plugins and browser toolbars. Consider closing all other applications that cause distractions, such as emails and messaging applications, and applications that can affect resources like CPU, memory or bandwidth.

During the interview push back operating system patches, postpone other downloads to a later time. This does not compromise security, but secures the quality of the interviews and after the interviews, you still can apply the patches. If there are more users using the same connection then the best is to set bandwidth rules in the router per user to guarantee call quality.

5. During interview - stability and all the little big things

Now everything is setup, let's start! The interviewer needs to connect to the interviewing system using a secure protocol and of course needs to have a proper password in the interviewing system and also on the machine where the interview is conducted. During the interviews avoid making notes about sensitive information like phone numbers, names, passwords and identifiers - it would be a terrible mistake if a sensitive note on paper reaches the wrong person.

During the interview, try to limit / disable the remote screen access to the computer unless it is related to the quality control of the interview itself. An active screen sharing application can be used for taking screenshots of names, phone number, email addresses and other personal identifier information, that a 3rd party person should not be allowed to access.

6. After the interviews - move from clean to clean state

When the work is over, a few cleanup steps still have to be considered. Obviously the interviewer needs to log out from the interviewing system. At the end of the interviewing shift, it is not a bad practice to clear the browser cache, to ensure no data has been stored locally that can refer to the interview or to the respondent. This can be the right moment to apply security and application patches and when these steps are done, properly lock down / shut down the computer. In general do not store sensitive information in the workstation, or saved passwords in the browser - probably a home has higher chance of being a victim of theft, where you either need to guarantee physical security and/or proper and secure data handling.

Does it sound like rocket science?

No, it isn’t, but definitely needs attention: part of the process comes from common sense, the other part is technically related. Our suggestion for virtual center owners is setting up one guide for the technical requirements and how-tos, if possible add there a test program that can check if technical requirements are covered. If the utility test program cannot be implemented, put together a checklist for the technical setup that will be used for the workstation set up and another checklist, that the interviewer can run through before the interview, to guarantee a secure and stable work environment. Training your interviewers from the security aspect of their work can prevent many problems, the invested time pays back quickly. Working with agents who work from home is a great business model, start it right and secure from the beginning!

 

Would you like to learn more about security and data protection?

We're here to help you with our white paper. It helps to understand who should comply with regulations, who is the data controller, issues around Cloud Computing and geographical regulations and much more.

    

Like our blog? Subscribe now!

Submit a commment