Protecting Company and Customer Data in a Remote World

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Working from home is the new normal and something we will likely see continue to some degree from here on out. With many customer support teams and agents now leveraging their own personal laptops and devices, IT teams find themselves in a unique situation of needing to provide the right tools, applications, and access to employees across multiple devices, browsers, and locations.

While this shift into a remote world has been easier on some and more challenging for others, one thing the majority of support teams can agree is that protecting company and customer during this transition is of the utmost importance. In fact, according to Nemertes Research, 64% of contact centers said they are concerned that their remote locations may not be secure enough or that they don’t have the expertise to make them secure.

With security concerns at the center of this remote transition here are a few tips on how IT and security teams can help remote customer support agents and leaders keep their company and customer data safe.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication and Password Managers
Security and compliance teams likely have standard password protocols for support teams and employees when they are in the office. Now that individuals are remote, these same protocols must be remote as well.

Creating complex passwords that include numbers, letters, and symbols are all ways that remote customer support agents can increase their level of security across their platforms. If these passwords are too complex to remember, install a password manager system that will safely store all the passwords a remote employee needs in a secure vault.

Two-factor authentication, or multi-factor authentication as it is also called adds yet another layer of at-home protection for support agents. With two-factor authentication, a second verification method is needed in order to log in or access important files. This typically comes in the form of a text code either to a mobile device, email, or through an authentication app. The addition of two-factor authentication makes it easier for agents to ensure that they are the only ones able to access sensitive information and data while in a remote work environment.

Operating System Configurations
With customer support teams now remote, it is critical that IT teams provide clear instructions, maintenance, and oversight on personal laptops and computers just as they would for in-office company machines, and one of the first places to start is with individuals operating systems.

Let’s face it, not everyone is running the most up-to-date operating system on their personal devices. However, now that teams are remote, it is essential that the security updates and preferences installed and that any unpatched issues are flagged and fixed.

Remote employees should also be taking steps within their internet browsers to separate their personal accounts from their corporate work. IT teams should be recommending the use of specific browsers which allow employees to create multiple accounts and user profiles, allowing them to silo their work account and reduce the chances that sensitive corporate and customer data finds itself within an employee’s personal inbox, messages, or network.

Check-Ins, Trainings, and Testing
Daily check-ins have become an essential part of how supervisors and team leaders are managing their remote workforce. These check-ins provide opportunities to relay company updates and new information, as well as give employees an opportunity to ask questions and feel like they are still connected to the greater team. While it doesn’t necessarily need to be on a daily basis, regular check-ins surrounding security updates, best practices, and questions should either be created or added to existing regular touch bases.

Virtual trainings not only are a great way to provide updates company-wide, but they can also help employees by providing a visual step-by-step process of how to go about installing updates, ensuring best practices, and more. These trainings can also be recorded so they can easily be accessed by employees throughout the day or if they’re based in different locations or time zones.

Finally, it is now more important than ever to make sure that each employee is putting these remote security best practices to work. After all, sensitive data is sometimes only as secure as the individuals who are securing it. This means establishing a regular cadence of security test such as seeing if employees can spot a phishing attack, or a fake email address. The better each employee can identify potential threats, the safer corporate and customer data is.

Ensuring Better Experiences Through Data Protection
Whether support teams are in the office or remote, protecting customer and sensitive corporate information is key to not only remaining in compliance and adhering to data protection laws, it is also an essential part of business growth and providing the best customer experience possible.

It is more important than ever to ensure that as businesses and employees are transitioning into a remote environment that they continue providing customers with the timely information and experiences that they need and expect. A big part of this is ensuring that customer support teams are spending less time on remote configurations and security protocols and more time doing what they do best, attending to customers.

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