Businesses of all sizes, across all industries are now looking for ways to enable their employees to work from home. For many businesses, this is the first time they’ve had to manage a widescale – and very sudden – transition to remote working. For many organisations, they never even considered adding a remote working policy into their business continuity plan. That can introduce new challenges, especially when it comes to maintaining data security standards and compliance with regulations like the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and others. Organizations must figure out how to keep operations running, ensure employee access to enterprise technologies, and protect customer and company data, all amidst a rapidly changing business landscape.
Yet, that does not mean it is an impossible feat. Many organizations and their employees are successfully adapting, learning new technologies and procedures to enable working remotely. Still, a number of myths continue to surround the concept of a remote workforce. It’s true that data security can become more complicated when you have a dispersed workforce all operating out of their individual homes. But with the right technologies, training and processes, organizations can continue to enable strong security while also providing a superior customer experience.
Here we’ll explore some of the most common myths and misconceptions surrounding working remotely and what businesses can do to ensure they not only survive but actually thrive during these challenging times.
Myth: A Remote Workforce Cannot Meet the Same Levels of Security as an Office-Based Workforce
Reality: With the right tools and technologies, a home-based or remote workforce can be just as secure as one operating from your business premises. IT security teams should work to ensure that employees logging into corporate networks and systems using their own personal devices do so securely, by using secure web technologies, apps and “containers.” Use multi-factor authentication and VPNs for all remote network access, and work with remote employees to ensure they have up-to-date patches, anti-malware protection and firewalls functioning on their home networks. Automatically disconnect remote access sessions after a period of inactivity, to avoid idle and open connections potentially being used for unauthorized access by housemates or family members.
Lastly, businesses should leverage modern, cloud-based technologies for processes that involve sensitive data, such as payment processes. In many businesses and enterprise contact centres, customer service representatives (CSRs) and agents still ask callers to read their payment card information aloud while accepting payments over the phone, or they share it through unencrypted email channels. Handling sensitive payment card data in this manner is not a secure practice to begin with, but it introduces additional risks when the CSR or agent is working from home where their network may be less secure or unauthorized people may be more likely to access the data. Using DTMF masking solutions like Cardprotect Voice+ and secure digital payment solutions like Cardprotect Relay+, organizations can enable their remote employees to securely accept payments without ever having access to the sensitive data itself.
Myth: Compliance with Major Data Security Regulations and Frameworks is not Possible with a Remote Workforce
Reality: Not only is it possible to maintain compliance with major data security and privacy regulations like PCI DSS, GDPR and others, following the frameworks laid out by regulatory bodies can actually help an organization strengthen security and streamline the compliance process. Looking at the example of PCI DSS, one of the easiest ways to ensure compliance is maintained while employees work remotely is to limit the exposure of sensitive payment data to both the workers and the devices they’re using. By keeping payment data segregated, encrypted and routing it directly to the payment service provider (PSP) for processing, technology solutions like Cardprotect Voice+ and Cardprotect Relay+ keep the sensitive information out of the remote worker’s environment completely. This enables the organization to significantly reduce the scope of compliance for PCI DSS, which makes maintaining compliance dramatically easier and much less costly. By following the guidelines and best practices laid out by the PCI Security Standards Council and using only payments technologies and applications that have been assessed and validated against the organization’s standards, businesses can rest assured that their payments processes remain PCI DSS compliant even when workers are now remote.
Myth: Customer Service Representatives are Unable to Provide the Same Frictionless Customer Experience
Reality: With a wide variety of cloud-based telecommunications systems, collaboration platforms, web applications and other technologies available at their fingertips, remote-working CSRs can provide customers with the same type of seamless and frictionless experience they normally enjoy. CSRs can easily respond to customer inquiries and deliver their normal level of service through any channel that the customer may be using, whether it is the phone, email, social media, web chat, text message or any other. Organizations should look to adopt technology solutions that support omnichannel sales and services, which will enable their CSRs to meet customers in the channel of their choice and provide a unified and seamless experience across all channels. Whether it’s providing services, making account changes, accepting payments or any other activity, with the right technologies, remote workers can effectively serve their customers from anywhere and in any channel.
Myth: Enabling a Remote Workforce is Expensive and Only Large Enterprises Can Afford to Do It
Reality: Cloud-based technology platforms often provide the flexibility, scalability and ease of deployment that make it easier and more affordable for organizations of all sizes to enable a remote workforce. Establishing and maintaining an in-house or standalone contact centre can be very expensive, with high overhead costs including renting office space. By leveraging cloud technologies, many organizations find that transitioning to a remote working model can be quite affordable. Moreover, a well-run contact centre – even those that are virtual and dispersed – can actually become a revenue generator for an organization.
As organizations navigate the new reality that has recently been ushered in and transition to new business models and ways of working, it’s important to understand the truth about remote working. Using the right tools, technologies and processes, a remote workforce can be every bit as secure, compliant and effective as one that is based in an office, and CSRs can provide the same level of superior service that customers desire.