The customer support department is responsible for developing strong relationships with customers and clients. Customer support involves sharing crucial and personal information between the support agents and the clients. Customers have to trust a company to do business with them, and one way to keep that trust is by assuring them of security.
Both the customers' data and the employees’ personal space should be protected from any threat of cybersecurity. A support agent may be dealing with multiple customers and accidentally mix up information and, for example, send an email to customer A with customer B’s information.
An employee can make an honest mistake, but we don’t want to take chances when it comes to client information and security. Companies, especially customer support departments, must adopt more secure systems and processes to secure data rather than depending on or entrusting an employee.
A company may have its security guidelines, but we will highlight top security tips that the support department can use.
1. Ensure Data Is Protected
Customers can share sensitive personal information like credit card numbers, passwords, and phone numbers with the support team. Organizations use special tools to process and store such data, but still, the staff has to take measures to keep the information protected to avoid data leakage. The support department can take the following measures to keep customers data more secure:
- Create a strong password for the database and keep it secret. If you suspect that anyone in the department knows your password, even a support agent, change it immediately. A strong password contains letters, digits, and special symbols.
- Ensure that data is backed up regularly and the information stored in a secure location from the computer used.
- Direct the support agents to scan files received in chat and email to prevent viruses sent as attachments or junk files in emails and links during the live chat sessions.
- Agents should stop sharing sensitive information in an unsecure chat. Web chat sessions can be protected by enabling a secure connection and helpdesk security protocols.
- Introduce the two-step verification process where the computer password is linked to the agents’ phone numbers.
The two-step authentication process keeps the customers' information private and the login process simple. Data protection methods should be user-friendly.
2. Educate the Team
Most companies fail by assuming that all their employees are equipped with current cybersecurity knowledge. Unfortunately, several employees, including the support agents, may not be up-to-date with current data security policies. As the support manager, it is your responsibility to ensure that your team is up-to-date on the latest and greatest cybersecurity tools and techniques by conducting frequent and consistent training.
You can hold meetings with the whole department and bring in an IT expert to train the team on improving data security. Training can also be personalized by showing an individual how to enhance their security. Training the entire support department will be a win for the company and the clients. Educating the team is an easy way to combat the lack of knowledgeable customer support teams on data protection.
3. Integrate the Support Department With the IT Department
You cannot speak about data protection without mentioning IT, as cyber security is married to IT. It might seem funny, but it's entirely true. The IT department's job is to know everything about cybersecurity. The IT gurus in a company know how to implement the best data protection software and roll out security information to the rest of the company. The IT department alone cannot protect the whole company's information. Other departments, like the support department, should come in and help keep the company’s information secure.
The support department is the face and frontline for the company's security, whereas the IT department is the expert in the company. The support managers and the IT department should collaborate on goals and integrate the best practices to secure data throughout the entire company. When the two departments integrate, security at the company can be lifted a notch higher.
4. Invest in Reliable Cybersecurity Software
Cybersecurity software is a computer program designed to protect data. Higher computer security comes with decreased usability. Computer security software's primary purpose is to restrict and completely prevent unauthorized users from accessing computer data. Preventing data access often involves taking valuable information and hiding it within another source of information, making it hard for unauthorized persons to access.
Computer security software also restricts access to computer data while still allowing interaction by monitoring or checking credentials to isolate any perceived danger. Consider installing access control, sandbox, or firewalls to all computers in the support department. You can also monitor computer access by investing in software like a diagnostic program. This program blocks or removes malware software, which are malicious or harmful forms of software that may compromise computer data security.
VPN software acts as a curtain to computer security since the IP address can be hidden, making it hard for hackers to trace. However, if your goal is to completely secure your database on all fronts, you should consider adding the most secure helpdesk software out there that shields sensitive information to the maximum!
5. Move Information From Email or Local Storage
Direct the team at the support department to maintain customers' information in a separate access-controlled system where there are regular security reviews for access and usage. Do not store customers' passwords, account information, or other personal information in a personal email account. Information in the email can be compromised or accidentally misdirected, thus there is a higher risk of exposing customers' data.
Discourage the support team from storing company data on their accounts on public cloud systems. Cloud storage also exposes the company to hackers who might take advantage of the exposed data to hack critical information. If an agent has to keep data in their email or local systems, ensure system control to prevent any accidental exposure.
If, for instance, a customer issue has an internal company thread, direct the agent to create separate folders for all customer communication and for the company’s internal thread. Separating internal versus external customer content helps to reduce confusion about sending an internal thread to the customer. Ensure that the folders are named and marked with either internal or external.
6. Encrypt the Hard Drives
Encryption is necessary to ensure maximum data security in a company. You can encrypt individual files, folders, or the entire disk within a computer, USB flash drive, or cloud files. In case of theft of the company’s computer, the thief cannot access files or data in the computer. Encryption can be done by using a single private key or both the private and public keys. The public key acts as a way for the sender to encrypt messages, especially with emails, and then use a private key to decrypt.
Agents can encrypt individual files and folders in the computers or opt for full-disk encryption, which requires an encryption passcode when the computer is powered on.
Encrypting hard drives ensures data security on multiple devices, and the data is inaccessible to unauthorized persons. Encryption also allows a company to transfer and store data while still obeying business restrictions about exposing customers' information.
7. Update Your Software Regularly
Regular software updates will protect the support department from the latest security threats. Aim to update the company software at least once a month to fix bugs and crashes. Updated software means that you are running on the most current and bug-free version of the software, thus creating more security. Software updates can add new features to your device, remove the outdated ones, and patch any security vulnerability.
Software updates also prevent the computers from contracting viruses and fixing any security conflicts. Software updates also increase the speed and performance of the computer, which is beneficial for the company. Inform the support agents about software updates and tell them not to ignore update notifications. They should click on the update notification or set the computers to update automatically.
Date security comes first for every organization. Implementing proper data security is important to maintain the security of the company's data. Employees need to be well versed with data security. The support department needs to maintain the highest security measures since they regularly work with confidential customer information.
Data security needs keep evolving, and the customer support department needs to stay updated with the safest and most effective data protection tips to deal with the rising threats. A company needs to build a strong security approach and an employee-friendly workplace for the support departments.