By Amelia Dermott
July 5, 2017 - It seems barely a week goes by without a newspaper headline detailing another serious cyber-attack. From ransomware to data breaches, hackers are developing increasingly sophisticated methods for obstructing the work of businesses and jeopardizing their futures.
Never is this more important than when your company keeps personal customer data on file. Risk Based Security released a report earlier this year revealing that data breaches in 2016 exposed an incredible 4.2 billion records. It’s important that every member of your team, but particularly your customer service representatives, are fully versed in cybersecurity and how best to implement it.
Here are a few things every customer service team should consider when protecting their company and clients from cyber-attack:
Don’t Bend The Rules
Impress upon all members of your team that the rules aren’t arbitrary – they are in place for data security reasons. When faced with an irate customer wanting instant solutions to their problem, it can be very hard to insist upon proper procedure. Train your team to deal with these situations but make sure that, without exception, rules and procedures are followed.
Use Multiple Authentication Methods
It is obviously very important to clarify the identity of your customers before sharing any personal account information with them. Use multiple authentication methods as standard.
Clearly Separate Internal and External Communication
Internal communications are likely to contain sensitive information about company operations and a variety of customers. Keeping these communications 100% separate from external communications with customers is essential to avoid human error and the accidental sharing of personal information.
Assess Alternative Platforms For Communication
Email is an easy way for your customer service team to communicate with clients. However, email security is easy to compromise. Alternatives are available. Rather than communicate personal details over email, customers could log in to a dedicated customer portal where their account information is kept safe and secure.
Use Encrypted Connections
A VPN internet connection gives the ultimate level of online protection. Rather than connecting to an ISP, where all communications can be intercepted, a VPN offers an encrypted connection and top level security. A VPN is crucial if members of your team connect remotely to the company network or regularly use public Wi-Fi connections for work.
All customer service staff should be educated about cybersecurity and their role within the business for implementing it. They should be trained to recognise suspicious links and emails, regularly update their passwords and avoid attaching external devices from home to company hardware. Training should take place regularly so employees can attend sessions to refresh their knowledge.
You can help to protect your customers’ data by educating them too. Tell them about how your data security procedure works and the ways in which it protects their personal information. Also inform them about how you will request personal information from them should you need it. This way, customers will be better equipped to recognise and ignore phishing attempts made by hackers masquerading as a company representative.
Your customer service team are often the ones responsible for implementing your all important cybersecurity measures. Assess the weak spots in your customer service procedure and work to remedy them to keep your customer and business data safe and secure.
About the Guest Author
Amelia Dermott is a passionate writer and self-proclaimed internet addict. Having experience in business and IT administration, she works in a small team at Bizdb.co.nz. She likes to write about technology and self-development topics.