Friday, 8 December 2017

Call Centres - are you GDPR ready?

General Data Protection Regulations.  These words will either strike fear for some or a smug smile for those that are ready and prepared.

Affecting every business and coming into force May 2018, the new regulations are aimed to protect the consumer and give them a variety of "rights."  Non compliance will lead to very hefty penalties - up to 20 million Euros or 4% of annual worldwide turnover for the previous year (whichever is highest).

The Information Commissioner's Office is a good starting place, with a basic 12 step process and a GDPR checklist.

Specific businesses will undoubtedly have more work to do than others, in order to fully comply and those operating a call centre will need to address many considerations such as:-

  • the justification of call recording and gaining customer's consent
  • outsourcing
  • data storage and accessibility for clients
  • PCI DSS compliance
  • staff training 
 A link to a useful article addressing these issues by the Call Centre Helper is below, where a panel of experts assess the situation.

The Merlin Team

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Beware the 070 phone number scammers

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles @freedigitalphotos
Yes, this old chestnut is raising it's ugly head again.

It is seriously NOT the time of seasonal goodwill for everyone and there are many desperate scammers working their hardest to pull the wool over your eyes and rip you off.

The main business types that are targeted are garages, hotels, financial advisors and estate agents. 

Hoping that you will mistake the 070 number for a mobile number, once you dial this personal number, you'll be persuaded to stay on the line for as long as they can keep you there.  You will, of course, be trying your hardest to be helpful to the caller, answering all their questions and repeating information they didn't quite get!  All this leads up to a massive bill (using a mobile just adds to it - up to £1.50 per minute) as the idea is for the perpetrator to make money from the call charges.

Cleverly, the scam has evolved to another level and you may be asked to join in a "conference call."  This means another of their colleagues enters the call and when you have finished and hang up, they don't and therefore call charges are clocking up for as long as possible.  Horrendous in some cases.

At this time of the year, there can be staff changes to cope with additional business and holidays, so it just means you will need to ensure all your staff are aware of this hoax.

Read the full article by In Touch Now

The Merlin Team

Friday, 17 November 2017

Is your CCTV GDPR compliant?

The new  General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)  come into full force in May 2018 and every business will need to be ready.

Here is an overview from the Information Commissioners Office

As providers of CCTV systems,  Merlin would like to draw your attention to the regulations that cover the collection of visual data and remind you of your liability under these regulations and the current Data Protection Act requirements.   

Having a good understanding of these regulations and implementing a GDPR impact assessment will help identify security risks so that these can be addressed.  This will lessen your risk of a breach (and being fined) under GDPR  data protection and privacy requirements.

It is therefore important that you assess your CCTV system now, along with the rest of your company's IT.  Data privacy applies to public and private CCTV so, whether you have a single camera monitoring your home or a larger system monitoring your business, or for any situation, you need to be aware that you could be committing a breach of data protection rules.  

We attach a link to a paper by Andrew Charlesworth - Reader in IT Law, University of Bristol which summarises; the evolution of Data Protection, what the key principles are and how you will be affected under the latest major changes.  

And for guidance, we attach the ICO Data Protection Code of Practice for Surveillance Cameras and Personal Information

The  Merlin Team

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Be shrewd, plan ahead now to protect your business.

Do you expect your phone system to last forever? 

If you do, then take a reality check.

This applies if you still have a traditional PBX with ISDN lines.  Its lifespan will be diminishing on a daily basis and it could well be obsolete now.

Many telecom providers are letting their clients know that they won't be able to service or maintain these older systems in the future. 

You may be thinking "if it ain't broke - no need to fix it" but picture the scenario:- suddenly you can't make or receive calls.  So, you call your provider, they come out and tell you they can't fix the system.

No spare parts. It's dead.  Sorry.

With your business at a total standstill, what are your options?  Well, obviously you'll have to act fast and make the decision to buy a new one. 

Suddenly, you are thrown into a blind panic and no doubt will not have enough time to make a considered purchase.  Budget may not come into it, you need a system up and running NOW.  You will go for the quickest option and quite probably make the wrong decision for your business.

The lesson here is forward planning.

Create some time now, to check your system.  Ask your provider whether you can opt into a maintenance agreement and if so, how long for.   Do some research.  Technology is changing at a phenomenal pace.  Now really is the perfect opportunity to think ahead, and plan to futureproof your business.

Consider all your options, get some impartial advice and weigh up the pros and cons.

So, to sum up.  Don't think your system will last forever - have some foresight and get planning for the future. 

For advice
Call The Merlin Team