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Security concerns are often cited as a reason why businesses are reluctant to adopt hosted and cloud-based strategies – but, according to Jed Hewson of hosted call centre company 1Stream, hosting might actually improve security.

“The moment you start to look a little deeper into security, you realise that many of the most serious concerns actually have nothing to do with where a service is hosted,” says Hewson. “In fact, cloud based suppliers tend to have better security systems and processes in place – partly because they’re big enough to afford the best and partly because their business depends on their services being secure.”

Hewson says it’s important to distinguish between different types and levels of security. “Application security is different from computer security is different from network security,” he says. “In many cases the most significant threats to your systems come from your own employees, whether they’re bringing in virus-infected flash drives or taking revenge for a grudge they bear by giving away sensitive information.”

Some of the concerns stem from misconceptions about hosting, adds Hewson. “Using hosted call centre technology doesn’t mean surrendering control of your data or your business processes to someone else. It means buying the services you need to run your operations – from networking through telephony clients to voice recorders – from a supplier whose job it is to keep all those services running smoothly and securely.  Your data stays your own, and the burden of technical maintenance is taken away from you.”

“Banking is a good analogy,” says Hewson. “Your money isn’t safer under your bed than in a bank account – we’ve all come to understand that there are huge advantages of security and convenience in delegating the storage of our money to a bank. We’re still in control of it – in fact, it’s much easier to manage money that way. The tin under the bed doesn’t record transactions or issue statements, and it’s not available when you travel away from your house.”

In the same way, he argues, delegating call centre technology provision to a hosted service provider can actually improve both security and management.

“The levels of service we provide under an SLA are invariably better than what a business can offer to itself,” he says. “Because we serve multiple clients, we’re able to realise economies of scale. For example, we can offer encrypted voice recordings stored in searchable, secure archives that are properly backed up and provide a full audit trail. Some people who do it in-house rely on a server in the corner of the office that’s recording WAV files than anyone can access.”

The reality, says Hewson, is that many small and medium-sized call centres can’t afford best-practice processes and security. “Hosting offers a way to up their game – you get better quality, at lower cost. That’s why Gartner is predicting that as early as next year, 20% of all businesses will no longer own their own IT assets.”

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