Chief Information Security Officer

Semafone’s Director of Pre-Sales Engineering on DTMF Masking for Data Security

Alan Watson, Director of Pre-Sales Engineering at Semafone, shared his thoughts on data security for today’s contact centers during his presentation at the 2018 Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Leadership Forum in New York on November 8. In his presentation, “If You Take Payments or … If You Don’t,” Watson offered recommendations to help organizations secure sensitive customer data in contact centers.

In the past, organizations frequently prioritized customer service and satisfaction relative to contact centers. Yet the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS), European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other mandates are forcing some organizations to revamp their data security measures.

“With more high-level breaches and more with more personal data security [issues], we are starting to see security in contact centers become more of a priority than it has been in the past,” Watson pointed out.

Oftentimes, contact center agents request social security numbers, credit card information and other sensitive customer data over the phone. This typically creates data security issues for both an organization and its customers.

If a customer provides a contact center agent with his or her sensitive data, there is no guarantee that this information remains safe. Meanwhile, if a contact center agent mismanages customer data, this information may be exposed to cybercriminals – something that may lead to customer identity theft.

“If a contact center agent is seeing and hearing social security numbers and credit card information, you’ve got to make sure the contact center agent is not capable of sharing this information with anyone else,” Watson stated. “And that can be extremely challenging.”

Today’s organizations must allocate time and resources to prioritize data security in contact centers. With dual-tone multi-frequency (DTMF) masking, organizations can safeguard sensitive customer data in contact centers like never before.

A DTMF masking solution enables a customer to enter assorted sensitive information into a telephone keypad before he or she connects with a contact center. Furthermore, the solution ensures each keypad entry generates a signal that is sent down a call line. The solution next converts a customer’s sensitive information into a data packet that is sent to a contact center. As a result, a DTMF masking solution allows an organization to protect sensitive customer information – without requiring this information to be handled directly by a contact center.

“[DTMF masking] prevents the sensitive information you are trying to protect from getting to the [contact center] in the first place,” Watson indicated. “You’re not trying to actually secure data [with DTMF masking]. You’re trying to prevent data from reaching different systems and networks.”

Thanks to DTMF masking, an organization can provide its contact center agents with only the customer data they need, precisely when they need it. This helps minimize risk for both an organization and its customers.

“You’ve only put that data where it needs to be, and you’ve only put that data in systems where it is essential,” Watson said.

In addition, DTMF masking sometimes helps organizations take the guesswork out of complying with myriad data security mandates. DTMF masking solutions ensure an organization – regardless of size or industry – can protect sensitive information before it reaches a contact center. As such, a DTMF masking solution may help an organization avoid data security regulatory violations.

“You are no longer attempting to make different systems compliant with various regulations,” Watson noted. “You are now taking these systems out of scope for various regulations because the data they are attempting to protect is no longer there.”

DTMF masking could help an organization deliver exceptional customer support, too.

Organizations often search for ways to provide customers with outstanding experiences. However, organizations face data security mandates and time and resource constraints that can make it tough to deliver amazing customer experiences.

By deploying a DTMF masking solution, an organization can simplify its data security efforts. In fact, an organization can use a DTMF masking solution protect customer data and ensure its contact center agents can focus on what is most important – providing its customers with the attention and support they deserve.

“From a customer satisfaction point of view, if you are able to give your customers the ability to pass data to a contact center agent, you’re improving the situation [for the customer and agent],” Watson said. “The agent is no longer exposed to [customer] data … and you are giving the customer a way to be far more discreet about giving data to this agent.”

As organizations search for ways to simultaneously bolster their customer satisfaction levels and comply with data security mandates, DTMF masking solutions may prove to be exceedingly valuable. If an organization integrates a DTMF masking solution into its day-to-day operations, it could safeguard sensitive customer information, prevent data breaches and improve its customer satisfaction levels.


Pull Quote #2: “[DTMF masking] prevents the sensitive information you are trying to protect from getting to the [contact center] in the first place.”

Visit Argyle Executive Forum's CYBERSECURITY LEADERSHIP FORUM - San Francisco in San Francisco, CA on Mar 19, 2020

right arrow icon

Next Article:
Co-founder and CEO of BetterUp Talks About “The Importance of Purpose” in HR Strategy