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How to keep your organization's contact center operational in the face of disaster

By Neil Leyland, Chief Contact Center Strategist at InterVision Systems

Communications infrastructure, including contact centers and customer service support lines, are currently in jeopardy. Concerning increases in natural disasters, terrorist and cyber attacks have all contributed to extended outage periods and troubling restoration timelines.

According to IBM, the average organization takes 212 days to detect a breach and 75 days to contain it - meaning these organizations' operations are interrupted for nearly one year after a successful attack. And as malicious attacks become more frequent, these statistics become even more concerning. Industry research suggests ransomware attacks almost doubled between H1 2022 and H1 2023.

Meanwhile, natural disasters are increasing - and these disruptions are only expected to become more dramatic with time. From record-breaking heat waves across Europe to raging wildfires in Canada, climate change is actively threatening critical infrastructure, and geopolitical events like the war in Ukraine have influenced the threat landscape significantly. In the long term, these forces will have serious consequences on an organization's ability to interact with its clientele.

In the wake of a disaster, organizations must respond quickly and efficiently to restore operations, including to their contact center and communications portal. The best way to accomplish this is to drive down mean time to recovery (MTTR), a metric that gauges the length of time during which an organization's services are unresponsive.

However, MTTR isn't the only essential aspect of disaster recovery. Leaders must also prioritize a customer and client communication strategy that allows stakeholders to maintain access to critical information and services during an outage. Increasingly, the most reliable way to preserve communication operations during a breach is to adopt a contact center as a service (CCaaS) solution. Keep reading to learn more about  CCaaS and how it contributes to an organization's security protocols in the aftermath of a breach.

The ABCs of CCaaS

CCaaS may be an unfamiliar concept to some leaders, but the market for this solution is ballooning rapidly. In 2022, the CCaaS market was valued at $4.42 billion; by 2030, experts predict its market share will reach $16.43 billion, representing an 18% CAGR. The AI infrastructure market is anticipated to grow at a 17.57% CAGR during that same period. This comparison highlights how rapidly CCaaS solutions are gaining steam.

But what is CCaaS, exactly? CCaaS solutions provide customers and clients - all stakeholders, really - with instant access to an organization's contact center, ensuring these individuals receive efficient, straightforward and continuous service. CCaaS represents a divergence from traditional contact center solutions hosted on-premises. CCaaS solutions exist in the cloud and encompass a range of communication channels, from traditional voice calls to online interactions.

Modern consumers and employees anticipate a more expedient user experience in the digital age, and CCaaS provides that level of service via 24/7 availability and AI-augmented services. CCaaS solutions decrease customer wait times and increase efficiency during key touchpoints, translating to higher end-user satisfaction.

We can illustrate the effectiveness of CCaaS using an example from the government sector, an industry historically more reluctant to transform digitally.

Public employees using dated IT infrastructure repeatedly face manual tasks and waste crucial operational time. Effective cloud-based CCaaS solutions solve this problem by using self-servicing AI to address common constituent concerns and redirect them to less labor-intensive tools like Self service or Chat bots. These tools simultaneously gather crucial data from each interaction to build a complex client profile to expedite future interactions. Ultimately, actual service (or contact center) representatives spend less time with each constituent.

But efficiency isn't the only proof-point for CCaaS. Following a ransomware breach, these solutions become more pivotal than ever.

The role of CCaaS following a breach

Organizations with a CCaaS solution are positioned to weather a ransomware breach because they can maintain contact with critical stakeholders during the identification and recovery process.

Picture this: Your organization provides essential healthcare services, but a ransomware breach takes many of your critical services offline temporarily, including systems necessary to properly diagnose and treat patients. A CCaaS solution - bolstered by extensive cybersecurity measures - ensures your organization can communicate this vital information to impacted patients, even if other communication portals go offline.

This hypothetical scenario has grown more likely because healthcare organizations are increasingly popular targets for bad actors. Personal health information (PHI) is a lucrative mark for many cybercriminals, as this information fetches a high resale price. Because CCaaS systems store and filter this data frequently, they should follow more stringent cybersecurity guidelines.

It's wise to check with your CCaaS provider to confirm the details of their cybersecurity plan. At a minimum, CCaaS providers should have delineated protocols on how to interact with your incident response team following a breach. Ideally, they'll also follow robust cybersecurity measures like managed firmware updates, multi-factor authentication (MFA) and single sign-on (SSO) protocols.

The bottom line for CCaaS

It is difficult to overstate the importance of disaster preparedness, particularly regarding cybersecurity in the modern age. The best rule of thumb? Assume cybercriminals will attack you relentlessly, frequently and soon. As such, it's imperative you adopt workable disaster recovery measures, including emergency response protocols, data failovers and, depending on your individual needs, disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) offerings.

It's also important to remember that disaster recovery isn't the only consideration to prioritize following a breach. Stakeholders will expect continued service, even in the direct aftermath of a successful ransomware attack. Government agencies and healthcare providers that typically harbor sensitive and confidential information must prioritize continuous communication.

As you review your existing disaster recovery protocols, ask yourself: Are we equipped to communicate these protocols to our constituents in case of a breach? And if not, how can we rectify this omission? Asking and addressing these questions is the first step to fortifying your disaster protocols and preventing a worst-case scenario from coming to fruition. 



Neil Leyland 

Neil Leyland of InterVision is an exceptional PMP & six sigma black belt certified senior-level program leader and proven problem-solver. Highly motivated achiever with career history in sales and operations management for international multi-unit retail operation. Possessing excellent interpersonal, presentation, written, and verbal communication skills, which are used to solve problems, consult on technology projects and develop long-term collaborative relationships.

Published Monday, December 11, 2023 7:34 AM by David Marshall
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