Call Center Meets PCI Standard Swiftly with Vormetric Data Security
Founded in 1995, Focus Services is a privately owned call center service provider, specializing in multi-product telesales and customer relationship management. Headquartered in Roy, Utah, the company currently has 2,000 employees working at eight facilities worldwide. Focus Services has built its business on the simple premise that “if its staff can sell, it will always have clients who need its services” and this principle has enabled the company to excel in both the highly competitive, complex consumer and B2B markets.
As an outsourced call center, Focus Services doesn’t directly store credit card data because payment processing is conducted via portals supplied by its clients. However, as Bill Wiser, VP of information systems, security and networks for Focus Services, pointed out, “We audio record 100 percent of our communications with customers and these recordings – where credit card data is discussed – now fall within the scope for PCI DSS compliance under which information must be encrypted. Aside from meeting this standard we also want to make sure we’re always providing a totally secure environment for our customers’ data.”
Focus Services has a corporate policy to store call recordings in-house for a minimum period of three years and some clients require up to a seven-year retention period. “The recordings currently occupy about 12 TB of storage,” stated Wiser. “While it’s not a massive amount of space it is significant and definitely a headache to attempt to individually encrypt the files. We were looking for an easy way to encrypt and decrypt that data.”
Developed in-house, the application that Focus Services relies on to manage recordings enables employees to search using any piece of client information, to instantly retrieve a recording. Wiser explained, “We can locate and have immediate access to an audio file, consequently we wanted an encryption/decryption capability that allowed us to keep as close to real-time as possible.”
The company wanted to avoid an expensive, complex encryption solution, Wiser described, “We needed to gain this new level of security in a way that would easily integrate with our current systems and that wouldn’t require hours of implementation effort.”
The company’s PCI compliance auditors suggested Wiser investigate Vormetric Data Security because of previous experience with its effectiveness in the call center industry. “They made the suggestion based on what they saw as being a good fit for us, and a quality product,” recalled Wiser. “So we contacted Vormetric and that’s where the relationship started.
“We were able to configure our Windows® server with its storage area network to be protected by a single Vormetric Data Security Manager appliance. With the help of a Vormetric consultant we had it operational in our infrastructure in under four hours: Despite the sophistication of the solution, it more than met my requirements for a simple and straightforward install.”
Focus Services’ employees have not experienced any degradation in recording retrieval or latency of any kind associated with encryption. “All of the transactions for call recordings take place right on the server where they are stored,” explained Wiser, “And there’s been no perceptible change in performance, which is really pleasing.
“I’d anticipated that implementing encryption would require a lot of complex technical work, but I was very surprised by quickly it was to roll out: Kudos to Vormetric for making it so easy to deploy and operate.”
Simply Easy Encryption
Wiser plans to expand Focus Services’ use of Vormetric Encryption in the near future. He commented, “We’ve created a cloud-based solution to integrate all of our worldwide call centers into one logical view – so we can see all of our agents showing on a single dashboard – and we will need to secure the call recordings on the hosted system. We are also looking at an additional backup system for disaster recovery. Both of these new environments will end up being protected by Vormetric Data Security.”
He summarized, “Vormetric Encryption is very simple to set up, and very easy to manage and operate: I don’t have to think about it every day; it’s just there and running. Additionally it gives us the ability to scale quickly when needed, knowing that it will cover a wide range of file types to give us data-level protection and PCI compliance no matter what our clients ask of us.”