According to recent TUC figures, the number of people in the UK working from home has escalated to upwards of 4m over the past few years.
With many debates raging about the pros and cons – both for employers and for employees – home working is certainly a hot topic… except when it comes to contact centre operation.
The problem is, there is a common misconception that home working simply isn’t an option for contact centre agents due to the strict requirements of PCI compliance. Happily, this isn’t the case at all.
Isn’t a ‘Clean Room’ environment the only way I can ensure compliance?
As you may have guessed, we’re not huge fans of the ‘Clean Room’ technique here at PCI Pal HQ. Yes, it is a good way to ensure sensitive data is protected but the constant monitoring, scanning, lack of emails and media, or even a pen and paper all makes for a very sterile, monotonous, stressful, and boring working environment. All of which, in turn, leads to low job satisfaction, decreased productivity, and high staff turnover.
There is a better way! Using PCI compliant tech solutions like our Agent Assist means that your agent never has any access to a customer’s private data in the first place, removing risk and ensuring compliance – whether they’re in a contact centre or at home.
Even so, isn’t it better to have my agents working in-house?
Employing PCI compliant tech solutions does eliminate the need for a ‘Clean Room’ environment and make working in a centre a much more attractive prospect but, the truth is, home working can make agents even more efficient and productive.
Recent research has shown that a good work/life balance has become one of the most important factors for job seekers and working from home can really help to facilitate this. Not only will offering the option to work from home boost your employee morale, it will also help you attract the brightest and best talent when recruiting. Eliminating commuting time from a daily schedule frees up more working hours as well as ensuring agents get more rest and are therefore more alert and productive. A home environment is often less stressful, making workers more efficient. While you may be worried about monitoring the performance and hours of employees working from home, it has also been proven that home working agents actually put in more hours during the day because they feel more need to prove that they are pulling their weight. Last but by no means least, home working is far more environmentally friendly.
Okay, I’m convinced. So how can I ensure PCI compliance for homeworkers?
First things first, you’ll need to implement a PCI compliant tech solution for remote agents to use. You could try to replicate a ‘Clean Room’ policy for home workers but, if we’re being honest, this is pretty impossible without a manager on hand to monitor what employees are doing at home. Using a solution that is already PCI DSS compliant means that all the hard work is done for you. Your home working agents can’t compromise sensitive customer data because they never have access to it in the first place.
That’s not to say there aren’t other important steps you can take to make doubly sure that your agents’ home working environment is as safe as possible. Firstly, make sure you know what level of compliance you need to reach, as this will help you put together a comprehensive system of security. Next, ensure you have a clear and enforceable security policy; this could include anything from desktop locking software and frequently changed laptop passwords to installing security tools or implementing multifactor authentication for your systems. It’s also important to run frequent security risk assessments to make sure your policy covers everything it needs to. Security training days, regular Skype meetings, and good communication with your agents will all ensure that they are up-to-date with your security policy as well as understanding the importance of compliance and following best practice while they work from home.