Covid-19 and Contact Center Business Continuity Plan Information Security Implications


18 May 2020

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and associated social distancing requirements has caused most contact center operations to rethink and reformulate their business continuity plans (BCP).

Traditionally, contact center business continuity plans were designed to facilitate continued operations through geographic dispersion. For example, if a single site of a two-site operation was to be impacted by some type of event, call volume to the impacted site would be temporarily allocated to the unaffected site until the impacted site is able to resume operations. This traditional type of BCP process has been a mainstay of contact center support operations and generally works quite well......unless the impact is so widespread that all contact centers are affected.

The current pandemic has forced contact center operations leaders to take extraordinary steps to provide ongoing customer support functions with the only available option being moving facilities-based agents to a work from home model. From an operational standpoint the most pressing element faced by operations staff is ensuring the call processing infrastructure, workforce management, technical support, and agent workstation infrastructure is in place, or can be put into place, to support a non-consolidated agent workforce.

In the rush to transition the physical contact center operations there are numerous support elements that are often subordinated or even completely missed during the transition. One of the most critical elements being overlooked is data security.

Eckoh has been involved in numerous conversations since the inception of the social distancing requirements where contact centers have successfully deployed a home-based solution only to find themselves in a position where physical contact center security protocols will not work with a home-based workforce. Traditional facilities-based "clean-rooms," physical monitoring, etc. cannot be supported and controlled in a distributed, work at home environment. The consequence of this modification in operational structure is the company is either faced with severely limiting the types of support functions they can deliver with a home-based agent, or they are unnecessarily exposing themselves to possible data security issues. Obviously, neither of these options is good for the caller or the organization.

The only way to ensure that PCI data and Personally Identifying Information (PII) is both compliant and secure is to prevent that information from ever traversing the client's transaction processing systems and making sure the agent never sees or hears that type of information - wherever they may be located or whatever deployment model they may be working under. Eckoh's CallGuard and ChatGuard services are agent location and system agnostic solutions that provide contact center operations and information security staff from ever having to worry about data security and compliance of PCI or PII related transaction types.

We do believe contact center operations will be forever changed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, both from the standpoint of BCP and ongoing operations. Many contact centers will begin to include a work-from-home option as a primary failover to support ongoing operations as an integral part of their business continuity planning, and some physical facility traditionalist will likely see a work-at-home agent model as a more flexible, less costly and more nimble option for ongoing support operations as long as they can provide the same types of support and level of control to that environment moving forward.

If you'd like to talk to us about securing payments for on-premise or work-at-home agents then get in touch.