Are cloud contact centres secure enough for the finance sector?



Cloud computing is a technology that’s now unquestionably part of the mainstream, with companies across many sectors turning to the tools as a first option when looking to improve their capabilities.

Contact centre services are no exception to this. Firms using these solutions are able to benefit from key features such as fast deployment, easy scalability and powerful workforce management tools. However, while these advantages are plain to see, some organisations are still wary about taking the leap into the cloud.

In particular, the financial services sector may well be worried about moving away from on-premises solutions. The reason for this is simple – financial services is one of the most tightly-regulated parts of the economy, and given the nature of the information that is being handled, it’s also a prime target for hackers and fraudsters.

Therefore, companies in this sector will demand strong security and a high level of control over their IT environment, and it is often assumed this is something the cloud is unable to provide.

The need for security in FS

The consumer financial services industry deals with some of the public’s most sensitive data on a daily basis, and much of this needs to be accessed through the contact centre. As such, the industry is very heavily regulated, with a large number of rules and guidelines to be met.

For instance, the Data Protection Act governs the use of personal information, and the penalties for breaching this can be severe. However, such incidents are said to be on the rise as the amount of data financial services firms handle grow. According to figures from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), there were 585 cases reported to the regulator in 2014 – up from just 206 the previous year.

Fines for such incidents from the ICO and other regulators can run into millions of pounds, while customer trust can be badly eroded by any breaches. Therefore, it is understandable that many firms look to minimise their exposure to such risk by keeping all their operations, including contact centre software, in-house.

Guidance for using the cloud

However, the reality is that as long as it is deployed correctly, there is no reason why financial services companies should not be able to adopt a cloud contact centre solution that is just as secure as any they could build on-premise.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is currently undergoing a consultation of proposed new guidelines for the use of cloud in the sector in order to clarify what is expected of companies when they turn to cloud services or other outsourced operations.

The regulator noted that encouraging innovation is essential to building a strong, competitive financial services environment, and enabling firms to turn to cloud computing with confidence will have a big part to play in that.

What to look for in the cloud

Given this support from the FCA, it’s clear that assumptions that cloud solutions will not be secure enough for the financial services sector are wide of the mark. However, businesses still need to take great care when moving to such services to ensure they remain compliant and are fully protecting their data.

For starters, it’s vital that firms choose solutions that are able to meet requirements such as PCI DSS and ISO 27001. Complying with relevant regulations must be a minimum requirement for protecting any data stored and accessed via the cloud. Companies must ask potential contact centre providers what protections are in place on their data centres, how they are monitored, and what redundancies exist to ensure continuity of service.

We’ve written recently about some of the biggest myths that businesses believe surrounding cloud contact centres – and they are just as true for the financial services sector as any other. With the right partner, these firms can rest assured that running a contact centre in the cloud is just as secure as sticking to a more traditional on-premise solution.

Find out more about what the Aspect cloud contact centre can offer to your business.