In recent times there have been an increasing number of high profile incidents concerning the security of telecoms systems.
The most obvious is dial-through-fraud with a majority of UK businesses either reporting or suspecting unauthorised and potentially costly use of their telecoms resources from inside and outside their business.
Add to that the increase in nuisance callers, denial-of-service attacks and attempts at social engineering in the contact centre market, and the telecoms security landscape has become a bit of an eyesore.
Even if you feel safe from such high profile threats because you see them as infrequent and unlikely to target your particular business, the chances are that you are being severely impacted by low-level ‘trespass’ on your telephone system.
So, what do we mean by ‘trespass’?
If like me you expect to be classified as a ‘knowledge worker’ you will regularly find yourself working either in an office cubicle, a meeting room or — in these days of enlightened work-life balance — at a kitchen table or home office.
Imagine the impact on your productivity (and sanity) of roughly 40 unexpected visitors a day knocking on your door, popping their head over the office divider or just appearing randomly in your garden.
You have no idea who they are, what they want or if they represent any kind of value (or threat) to your business. Yet they have to be dealt with at a cost to you in terms of time, money and distraction from the day job.
Our research shows that low-level ‘trespass’ in your telecoms systems — especially in contact centres — is costing you dearly. How?
Every contact centre has to process large numbers of calls that are not business related.
Non business related calls may be ‘no value calls’ and/or ‘negative value calls’.
No value calls are calls that do not represent any opportunity for the organisation to generate revenue or improve customer satisfaction.
Negative value calls are no value calls that actually take resources away from valuable calls and result in a negative impact to the organisation.
Non business related calls include the following:
Telephony Denial of Service (TDoS) calls␣ – attacks involving a high volume of calls directed to a contact centre or IVR for the purpose of traffic generation/call pumping or outright Denial of Service. TDoS attacks can be generated through an automated process or an organised Social Networking attack.
Social Engineering calls — calls to manipulate people in order to cause them to give up personal or proprietary information that the attacker can use for financial gain. These are typically ‘professional’, highly automated and seriously criminal in their origin and intent. They are not random individual acts.
Auto-dialler calls/Harassing calls — automated calls generated in support of telemarketing, spam or similar activities. VoIP’s rapid rise to prominence in the Public Voice Network has made it very easy and cheap to automatically generate any type of call for everything from PPI claim-back sales to outright malicious activity (although many find it hard to tell the difference!)
Handling these types of calls costs you a substantial amount of money and occupies important resources that could otherwise be handling valuable calls, yet a properly implemented telecoms security policy with supporting services and tools can identify, stop and/or reroute these types of calls, potentially resulting in dramatic cost savings
How much could you be saving?
Our research indicates that 3.5per cent of inbound calls have no source number — usually through blocking — and that 4.9 per cent of the remaining calls are verifiably spoofed, meaning that they display Caller Line Identification (CLI) characteristics that are falsified to hide their origins.
Assuming that average call handling costs in a contact centre is around £3 per call, a centre handling 2,000,000 calls per annum and using the right mix of policy, tools and services to weed out 95 per cent of the trespassers could expect to save around £1,000,000 over 5 years — an average Return on Investment of around 650 per cent.
By guest blogger Paul Cunningham – ‘Director of International Business Development, Securelogix’