DATE POSTED: 01/17/2014

A trend is emerging as far as contact center outsourcing is concerned. To reduce business costs, more companies are now exploring home-based customer service support to cater to their clientele. According to analyst Elizabeth Herrell in Forrester’s 2013 Outlook for Contact Center Plans, a significant growth has been noticed with 34% of companies showing investment plans in home-based operations. However, not all businesses are keen about this, as one of the major concerns of keeping a virtual contact center is the security of company and customer information. But is there really a risk? How unsafe will your data be when you hire home-based agents?


Enforcement of Company Security Policies

There isn’t much difference with keeping those important information secured whether within the contact center or with the home-based agent. It still boils down to how you enforce your company’s security policies whether in-house or remote.

However, it is quite crucial to note that companies that handle huge amount of privacy-protected information such as social security numbers and other personally identifiable information (PII) would have to be more particular in carrying out policies for data security than other businesses that don’t deal much with storing and handling such information, as mentioned by the Government Contact Center Council in their Analysis of the Feasibility of Employing Home-based Agents.


Home-based Agents and Data Handling

Companies that would like to delve into having a remote contact center through home-based agents should not only ensure the efficiency and stability of a secure technical infrastructure but must also be mindful of the “Three M’s” to guarantee success of home-based agent operations and data handling, according to Michael DeSalles, principal contact center analyst for Frost & Sullivan: Monitor, measure and manage.

As per TMCnet, this may be possible through Automated Call Distribution (ACD) and integrated scheduling and monitoring systems where the activities of your home-based agents can be tracked and logged for control and measuring. “Remote” agents may access only authentic and verified working environments and data systems such as SSL connections and firewalls or Virtual Private Network (VPN) technology for data encryption especially when transmitting sensitive information via web. And there are authorized and recognized service providers that can help you establish these security systems in place.


Hiring Trustworthy People

While it is true that data security is largely dependent on how stable and protected your home-based technical infrastructure is, companies should also sift through home-based applicants through meticulous background checks and in-depth hiring and training process. Truth be told, most security breach is committed by authorized employees themselves—intentionally offering sensitive information or unintentionally allowing suspicious outsiders have access to it—regardless if they are facility-based or home-based agents. Hence, the management of your home-based employees must also be taken into consideration.


In Conclusion

With that said, should there be a battle between home-based agents and data security? We think not. Both data security and managing a virtual contact center workforce must be applied with much diligence and vigilance by companies to guarantee successful home-based operations and to win customer confidence. Evaluate your business processes today and look into this area. A home-based set up may just help boost your company’s growth significantly.


Author: Outsourcing Insider

Outsourcing Insider consists of a team of regular blog contributors who writes topic about outsourcing and its relation to other industries like social media, finance, healthcare, sales and marketing, contact centers, and data and research.