Cloud-based Remote Support: Don’t Let PCanywhere Problems Put You Off
Should you worry about privacy and security when it comes to implementing remote cloud-based support with your customers? If you’re a PCanywhere customer, your answer might be different than it would be for others. Nonetheless, the answer, as with most of life’s important questions, is “it depends.” PCanywhere’s problems are rooted in the application of old technology to a new era; don’t let one company’s problems get in the way of making the right decision for your business.
Friend or foe?
Many companies are nervous about committing any part of their business to the cloud, particularly if it entails opening up communication with chat technology and software downloads such as a remote-control applet. So how can you improve customer service while supporting your IT department’s security and privacy policies?
Industry analysts are increasingly noting that security as it relates to cloud-delivered services has evolved from inhibitor to enabler. The 2011 Cloud Computing Outlook Survey by Cloud.com found that, of 521 respondents, 32% stated that security was a factor that positively influenced their choice to use cloud computing. If your support service vendor “thinks security” – check for commitments to global privacy and security policies like TRUSTe, Safe Harbor and ISO 27001 – you have a pretty convincing argument.
How regulated is your industry?
Companies operating in sectors that are closely monitored for data protection compliance, such as financial services, healthcare or government, will surely have additional concerns about the vulnerability of remote control activities and communications channels that are perceived to be unmonitored. They may be concerned about what remote control software, and remote support technicians, may be able to see, and even access, on their systems. Are they responsible for compliance with SOX, HIPAA or PCI-DSS?
The vendor security commitments noted above should go some way towards allaying fears on the technology side of things. But what about people? Let’s not forget that they are always the weakest link in a security chain! First and foremost, remember that if anyone ever feels uncomfortable with any aspect of a remote support session, the end customer always has the option to end the session. Good remote control software should also operate only with a random one-time access code so that the same communication channel cannot be re-opened once it has been closed.
Just as importantly, ensure that your support agents are fully (and continually) trained in respecting customer boundaries and communicating appropriately. If the customer’s problem involves documents or other material stored on the system that are confidential or otherwise privileged, ask if a security or compliance officer at the customer site can participate in or take over the support session to ensure the information remains protected. The last thing you need is to be the reason for an acquisition to fall apart because highly confidential documents were accidentally leaked during a support session.
To ensure cloud-driven remote support sessions are secure, remember the “3 T’s” rule:
- Technology: Use technology that’s certified secure and allows the customer to be in control at all times
- Train: Take steps to ensure your people to understand, respect, and work with customer boundaries
- Trust: Combine these elements to create an atmosphere of trust in all your customer relationships
Tim Hillison is VP of global marketing at NTRglobal, a provider of secure cloud-based help desk and ITSM solutions. The NTR Cloud safeguards every point in the remote support delivery chain, from login authentication to communication travel over 256-bit AES encryption. NTRglobal’s worldwide network of relay servers supports the strictest international mandates. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of Talkin’ Cloud’s annual platinum sponsorship. Read all NTRglobal guest blogs here.