How to Implement a Secure Cloud Contact Centre in Your Business

Features

There are so many potential benefits a cloud contact centre can offer your business. Cloud-based systems can provide flexibility, cost-efficiency and introduce innovative methods into your contact centre. But despite these clear benefits, some businesses are reluctant to take advantage of what the cloud system has to offer. For many, hesitation lies in the nature of the cloud system as an online presence, with worries about the security of data and the way the cloud will be integrated into their existing infrastructure. However, many of these concerns come from a lack of understanding into the workings of a good cloud system, or from experiences with a poorly implemented system. In this article, we will address these obstacles and explore how a secure cloud contact centre can be implemented in your business.

 

Concerns About Using the Cloud

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Businesses that are reluctant to implement the Cloud into their contact centres typically share the same concerns. According to a study by KPMG, 41 per cent of respondents were concerned about integrating the Cloud with their existing architecture. Likewise, 39 per cent of respondents were worried about the security of the Cloud, with concerns about the potential risk of data loss.

In many ways, these concerns are connected, as for lots of businesses, it is the thought of network security that makes the prospect of having to integrate a new storage system into your infrastructure so intimidating. This is especially the case when you are working in a big or well-known company. The large amounts of data used by such a company, and the scale of the potential damage to the company’s finances and reputation if a breach did occur, can be particularly offputting when considering integration. However, service providers will be used to working with companies of all sizes and can offer their expertise in how to best handle such an implementation. Service providers will also be able to support the company to develop a better understanding of the Cloud to ease the concerns they may have about it.


Will the Cloud Work With Your Existing Infrastructure?

The ease with which a cloud-based contact centre can be achieved in your company is dependant on the type of infrastructure currently in use. Some systems will be far more convenient for cloud implementation than others. For example, MPLS networks provided by BT are a particularly popular choice for many large enterprises, using a unique configuration to deliver quality performance and security. However, the unique configuration used can make implementing a cloud contact centre somewhat difficult.

 

Will the Cloud Work With Your Existing Security?

With the risk of data leaks on the cards for company’s that don’t take their security seriously, it is likely that your organisation will have substantial internet security in place. Often, this will involve the use of a firewall, which works like a ‘door’ to the internet, blocking unwanted traffic from accessing the network. 

Typically, this will be achieved through port-based filtering, which blocks traffic from flowing through specific ports. For example, port 80 is usually used for internet browsing, and port 5060 is often used for VoiceoverIP (VoIP). While most networks will leave port 80 open, 5060 is often blocked as standard. To get VoIP to work, ports may require opening and port forwarding may need to be configured; however, this may not be a simple task. In the best case, someone within the IT team would need to find time to make the changes needed. In some cases, a third-party may be responsible for making such changes, and so the process could take weeks to schedule.

 

How to Overcome Obstacles Holding You Back From a Cloud Contact Centre

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For many larger businesses, these technical challenges can put a halt to the adoption of a cloud-based call centre. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. There are several tried and tested methods for implementing a cloud call centre into even the biggest, most complicated networks, without compromising on security. Best of all, these methods have little-to-no impact on network performance and IT support staff workloads.

 

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) acts as a virtual tunnel between two endpoints, and is considered dependable and secure. The two endpoints could, for example, be the cloud contact centre server and the enterprise contact centre agent group. All of the relevant traffic can be encrypted and sent through this ‘tunnel’, instead of having to work across several different ports.

As a result, enterprises only need to open a single port, which is already open on the majority of firewalls. To use a VPN, agents need to run a VPN client. This handles the process of connecting to the VPN, encrypting, decrypting, and transferring data. VPN clients come in two different forms:

●      Software Clients Based on Agents PCs: these are usually installed by default, such as the Windows PPTP VPN, or are freely available to download.

●      Hardware Clients: these remove the need for software clients, eliminating the IT requirement to deploy instances of the application.

 

Agent Direct Inbound Dialling (DID) Numbers

Some cloud call centre services can connect agents to the system by ringing their telephone number automatically after they log in via the web interface. This can be configured so that the call goes to the agent’s direct inbound dialling (DID) number, thus bypassing the VoIP extension.

When you configure the cloud contact centre service to call the DID number, this does not involve the network infrastructure. As a result, there is no need to open ports or change settings, other than allowing a browser session (which is usually allowed by default). However, this process does incur a cost, charged at a UK landline tariff. Although, if you have a bundled minute deal, this eliminates the cost of call time.

 

Firewall Traversal

Firewall traversal techniques can allow you to access your existing firewall configuration and use the port that makes the most sense for the company, while avoiding opening other ports. These techniques include STUN, TURN, and ICE, all of which can be used to allow VoIP calls to proceed without any changes to your enterprise network. The only requirement is often a small clientside application, which can be installed on agent PCs or network servers. This application then works with your cloud service provider’s server to establish which open ports can be used for VoIP traffic.

 

Other Approaches

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The above approaches for implementing a secure cloud contact centre are all fairly quick, easy and affordable; however, some businesses may wish to put more resources towards an implementation upfront. If that is the case, then there are a few other options you can try in your contact centre.

 

Dedicated Internet Connection

Using a dedicated internet connection can effectively isolate your call traffic from the rest of your network. This can be a great way to minimise the impact of a potential security breach.

 

4G Wireless

A wireless router could be used to handle call traffic for your agents. However, while this is very easy to implement, call quality may be affected by contention at the local mast.

 

Asterix IAX

If your cloud call centre platform supports the Asterisk IAX protocol, all your VoIP signalling and media traffic will flow through the same port (4569). While this port will need to be opened manually, the consolidated nature of the traffic makes it easier to manage and control long-term.

 

Finding Solutions

Concerns around cloud services for enterprise are completely understandable, with worries about security and integration to consider. To achieve the implementation of a cloud-based contact centre, a completely new approach to data is required, and this can seem intimidating. However, the benefits of making that switch are vast, with cloud contact centres helping to transform the way you do business and having a positive outcome on your campaigns. As we have highlighted in this article, moving to a cloud contact centre also does not need to change your entire infrastructure, and you have many options as to how to proceed with the transformation.

Here at Hostcomm, we have the expertise and extensive experience of working with a wide range of enterprises, helping to provide and implement call centre solutions. We can help to assess your existing infrastructure and plan out the best route to cloud implementation. The Hostcomm cloud contact centre services offer an impressive range of features, including call management, automation, hosted dialler UK functionality, omni-channel unification, and the ability to integrate with customer relationship management systems. If you would like to find out more about what Hostcomm can offer you, then get in touch today! 



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