Card Payments – Your weakest link?

As businesses adapt to the changing landscape and look to conduct business in new ways, for many this means taking their business online or over the phone. With all the changes and considerations around Covid-19 and keeping staff and customers safe, have you considered if you are PCI DSS compliant?

What is PCI DSS?

PCI DSS is the worldwide Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. It exists to help businesses process card payments in a safe and secure way. PCI DSS has 12 requirements which cover the processing and storage of card details to help business reduce the risk of card fraud.

What are the 12 points?

  • Install and maintain a firewall configuration to protect cardholder data
  • Do not use vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords and other security parameters
  • Protect stored data (use encryption)
  • Encrypt transmission of cardholder data and sensitive information across public networks
  • Use and keep up to date anti-virus software and programs
  • Develop and maintain secure systems and applications
  • Restrict access to cardholder data by business need-to-know
  • Assign a unique ID to each person with computer access
  • Restrict physical access to cardholder data
  • Track and monitor all access to network resources and cardholder data
  • Regularly test security systems and processes
  • Maintain a policy that addresses Information Security for employees and contractors

Why is PCI DSS important?

Uk Finance’s ‘Fraud the Facts 2019’ report found unauthorised fraud losses totaled £844.8 million in 2018 – a year on year increase of 16%.

Card payments, particularly card not present (CNP) transactions are an especially risky area.

The penalties for non-compliance are severe. Not to mention the damage to your hard earned reputation.

What happens if I'm not PCI DSS compliant?

What happens if I am not compliant?

If your business is found to be non-compliant then you may be subject to fines. If your business isn’t taking sufficient steps to rectify your non-compliance then you may even be stopped from taking card payments.

Should card fraud be committed due to an oversight in your company, the penalties are much worse, not to mention the damage it can do to your reputation. If a forensic investigation is carried out and it is found that your company was at fault then you will be responsible for picking up the cost of the investigation. Fines can be leveled against you, not just for breaching PCI DSS but also for GDPR violations. Your company can end up liable for the costs of fraudulent payments made against the customers card.

Compliance obligations for any organisation found to have had a breach increase significantly.

How can I make sure I am compliant when taking payments over the phone?

One of the main risks with taking card data over the phone is exposure of the data. If you are simply asking for the numbers to be read over the phone to you it could be easily overheard, by someone nearby or by someone listening in on the line. It is important to make sure that your phone system is as secure as possible by:

  • Not using default passwords/codes for the system and its functions (e.g. voicemail)
  • Ensuring that any phones that may be unattended in public areas are passcode protected
  • Avoiding taking card details and processing payments in public areas if the call could be listened into.

People are often the weak link in any process, even the most reliable staff member can make a mistake. The people that have access to card details should be kept to a minimum. Consider taking people out of the loop completely with a payment system like Link Pay Plus which handles payments for you.

What can Deep Blue do to help my business?

Card not present (CNP) transactions are a challenge for PCI compliance, telephone payments are particularly challenging. More often than not they will breach PCI security standards as they are exposed to additional people/systems that may not be compliant.

Dual Tone Multi-Frequency (DTMF) masking, where customers key their details in on their phone key pads, can be a way to get round this but are costly to set up and maintain.

Link Pay Plus is a great way to take payments in a safe and secure way. A payment link can easily be sent to people by your preferred contact method:

  • Email
  • SMS
  • Webchat
  • Messenger
  • WhatsApp
  • and more

The payment can then be taken and tracked in real time by your staff, without them seeing the customers card details.

The Link Pay Plus dashboard keeps you up to date with links generated, their conversion rate and amount transacted.

How it works

The Benefits

  • Manage multiple payments at once – if you are hand keying details into your card reader and a second query comes in, what do you do? Ask you customer to wait and risk losing them? Write the details down somewhere? With Link Pay Plus you can quickly and easily send links out to multiple customers.
  • Pre-populated details – What if you are processing a payment and the customers card declines and they don’t have another one to hand? Or what if you have spent time converting an enquiry into a sale only for the customer to realise they don’t have their card to hand? Do you risk letting the call go in the hopes they ring bank? Many of us now have our card details saved in our devices and Link Pay Plus can use this information to auto-populate the customer’s details.
  • Minimal interaction – payment can be taken quickly and easily at the point of order. Pick ups and drop offs of goods can be done quickly and safely without the need to process payment at that point. Great for completely contactless service for those who are shielding.
  • Peace of mind – By letting Link Pay Plus handle your card transactions, you don’t have to worry about your staff seeing card details, or having to store sensitive information.
  • Cost effective – Link Pay Plus works on a pay per transaction basis, with no additional service charges or rentals. There is also no onsite equipment to store or maintain.
  • Fast set up – with no software or equipment to install you can be up and running in no time.

Want to know more?

If you think Link Pay Plus could be the solution your business needs then contact us now for a no obligation discussion on 0333 240 9100 or email theteam@deepbluetelecom.co.uk

Putting Customers First


You can’t put a price on great customer support, although it seems some telecoms companies like to think they can. Stories have emerged recently of some companies locking customers into contracts and then charging them as much as £50 a time to make simple changes like altering voicemail.

Keeping your customers up to date with the constant changes of COVID-19 would certainly hike up your monthly bills!

At Deep Blue, we are proud of the service we offer and the support we give to our customers. Many of the services we offer allow you to make changes yourself to give you the control over your telecoms. And if the situation should arise that you can’t make those changes, we are here to offer you free support.

Broadband Self-Help – A Video Guide

Broadband Self-Help

We know more businesses are asking their employees to work from home during this period, so connecting remotely is important for people.

But what do you do if things go wrong?

If your broadband isn’t working, this Openreach Broadband Self-Help video offers simple checks and tweaks that might help you sort things out.

Of course, we are always here to support you should you need it.

Broadband Self-Help

Top Tips for a stress free Summer

Everyone looks forward to the warmer months, but in the business world it can be a balancing act between giving your staff the time off they deserve while still giving your customers the service levels they need.

Here are our top tips to becoming a summer sensation and recharging your batteries without compromising on service!

Prepare Your Customers Let your customers know in advance when you will be away, give yourself that time to really enjoy your break.

Put Marketing on Auto-Pilot Don’t go completely dark on the marketing front so people start to wonder where you are. Pre-schedule posts, blogs and other forms to stay connected.

Set Your ‘Out of Office’ Decide how often and when you plan on checking in, what date you will be returning back to work and how you can be reached in an emergency (if at all) and detail those Summer rules in your out of office announcement.

Intelligently Handle Incoming Calls Whether you close completely or reduce your hours, let a ‘Virtual Office’ take care of the day-to-day. From voicemail to call forwarding to auto-attendants, your phone system has the capability to intelligently handle incoming calls while you are away.

Deep Blue customers can log into our Knowledge Base to find assistance with setting these facilities or contact us for more information on a tailored system for your business

tips on home working

Tips for home working

The team at Deep Blue have been using remote working for years. With that in mind we have put together some of our top tips for home working for people starting on it for the first time.

The Workspace

Having a workspace is really important. This might not be a room. It may just be a desk or a corner of the kitchen, but it should be a space dedicated for work. This helps you get in the work mind set while you are there but also, crucially, helps you to step away from work at the end of the day. This is especially important if we do have any kind of lock down period. A lot of our time is going to be restricted to the same space so designating areas of that space to different tasks can help us feel less constricted.

Try to make it a space that you want to work in. If possible set up near a window to give yourself plenty of natural light and fresh air. Have a family photo or a plant there just as you would at work.

Try to get everything you need to hand, paper, pens, etc. If you have to keep getting up to get things it can be distracting and time consuming.

The Structure

Structure is important when working from home. It helps you to stay focused and keep the distinction between work and home life.

Get dressed! As tempting as it is to do a few emails in your pyjamas, getting dressed again can help with defining the working day. You don’t need to put on your best office wear but try to find something that makes you feel in work mode. This can apply to the end of the day too. If the first thing you usually do when you get home is get changed into your joggers and sweatshirt then do that when you finish at home.

Plan breaks. It can be easy on your own to lose track of time. Make sure you keep an eye on the clock. Get up and move around, take breaks when you would normally. Plan a lunch hour. If you usually share the task of making tea/coffee in your office, it can be easy to forget when you are on your own.

If you usually make a lunch to take to work with you, you may still want to do this. Just because you are at home doesn’t mean you want to use up your break time prepping food.

The Work

Just because you aren’t in the office, doesn’t mean you need to be cut off from you colleagues. Keep in touch. You may want to do weekly or daily conferences calls so everyone knows what they are doing. Use calls and emails to keep each other up to date. If you have Horizon collaborate, use the instant messaging function to chat in real time. Send through the odd link or funny picture to keep everyone smiling.

It can be hard to tell if someone is struggling when you aren’t face to face with them, regular communication can help with spotting this. If you are the one struggling, speak up. It may be to your manager, it may be to the colleague who always helps you out, it may be to a relative or partner. Just because you are working from home, doesn’t mean you are working alone.

Remember that with emails it can sometimes be hard to judge the tone of what is being said. Try to make sure that your messages come across as intended, use more casual language or emojis for internal emails if this helps with tone. If in doubt, pick up the phone!

If you have children at home with you, don’t get stressed about them interrupting an important call or try to cover up your situation. Be honest. People are very understanding, especially at times like this when everyone is working under different circumstances.

The Benefits

If you usually aren’t allowed within ten foot of the office radio, enjoy being able to put on the playlist of your choice! Music is great for concentration. Vary your playlist depending on what you are doing. you might even want to put together a playlist to share with your colleagues.

If your day usually starts and ends with a commute, use this new found time for you. Throw something into a slow cooker in the morning so you know dinner will be ready when you finish work. Go for a walk and get some fresh air. Workout. Watch an extra episode of you favourite show.

The Transition

The change to home working can be difficult, especially if you have spent a lot of time in the structured environment of an office. Hopefully these tips for home working will help make the transition a little easier.

Deep Blue are on hand to support you and your business when you need us, just call 0333 240 9100 or email theteam@deepbluetelecom.co.uk

Schedule1

Free Horizon and InBound refresher sessions

For the next few weeks we are running free refresher training for both Horizon and InBound, including portal usage re-training and call plan reviews to make sure you are getting the most from your Deep Blue services. To book one of the free sessions just email rachel.macleod@deepbluetelecom.co.uk

Why voip

Why VoIP? 9 reasons to make the change

Why VoIP? Making changes when you have an established business is always difficult, this is especially true when it comes to something as critical as your telecoms. If you’re not sure whether you are ready to take the plunge with VoIP, here are 9 reasons that might persuade you that now is the time to make the change:

Flexibility

Freedom from fixed lines!

 

Take your numbers with you if you move site with no delays: simply uplift your equipment from one location and connect it in another. Choose your number; select the area code you want to use, set up blocks of numbers, add additional numbers whenever you need them.

Manage more than one business? Control all your calls from one place. Set up numbers and call plans for targeted campaigns and special promotions to track call volumes. Manage calls for your London sales office, your Leeds tech team and your Manchester warehouse all from one online portal.

Managed Transfer

With full training included as part of your setup, Deep Blue make sure that you hit the ground running when you switch to a VoIP system.

Pre-build and test set ups allow you to get your call plans in place before your numbers move. With options to have your telephone numbers migrated at fixed time slots or even out of hours, impact to your business is minimised.

Growth

Fully scalable solutions.

Systems that are designed to grow with your business. Get new staff set up quickly and easily. Adapt your call routing to suit your needs. Move users in and out of hunt groups with a few clicks to manage busy periods and promotions.

Security

 

Built in peace of mind.

Built in fraud protection monitors your call volumes 24 hours a day to keep you safe from potential fraud. Sending out alerts and even automatically applying call barring, it limits your exposure should the worst happen. Multi-layer security protocols and compulsory passcodes close off the hackers most common routes of access.

Features

With a range of features available, even on entry level setups, VoIP solutions from Deep Blue offer so much more. You can build call plans, create Hunt Groups, even create your own auto attendant. As your business grows, so too can your telephony. Call queue features and wall board integration make building your own call centre a breeze.

Need to be MiFID II compliant? No problem! Feature rich call recording keeps your customers and business safe.

By taking advantage of the option to self-manage you can control all your telephony functions in house. No more waiting around for engineers and call out charges.

Continuity

Get disaster recovery that kicks in automatically, rerouting your calls to keep you up and running. No need to rely on the local exchange or your onsite system to divert your calls.

Send calls to mobiles or alternative phone numbers. Change your voicemail message from your mobile or home phone to keep customers informed. Get new equipment delivered the next working day*.

Mobility

 

Free yourself from the desk.

Set up home workers with their own handsets so they can work as if they were in the office. Use desktop soft clients and mobile apps to make and receive calls wherever you are. Ma

nage your DDi with just a few clicks.

Your workplace is wherever you want it to be.

Cost

If your business grows faster than you expect and you need to increase your call capacity, traditional setups like ISDN can throw up all kinds of unexpected costs. Relying on Openreach to install, there are both activation and engineering charges which can quickly mount up. And that’s before you even get into the time costs.

With VoIP solutions from Deep Blue there are no activation fees for new SIP trunks and if you have a compatible set up, they can be up and running in a matter of minutes.

Withdrawal of the PSTN

From 2023, Openreach will stop selling ISDN lines and from December 2025 it is their intention to fully withdraw the PSTN network: ISDN included.

While that gives businesses plenty of time to make the change, when you consider that 16 million lines and channels will need to be migrated to alternative products it’s worth start

ing to look at other options sooner rather than later. That being said, there is no need to panic or rush to make the change (as some providers would have you believe!).

Our article ISDN withdrawal – the key questions answered has more information about the withdrawal and it’s potential impact.

If all of this has got you thinking maybe your business is ready to take the next step then speak to Deep Blue. We’ll go over all the details with you, arrange a site survey if needed and give you all the information you need to make the decision.

new website

New website, same great service

It’s a fresh new look for Deep Blue

We’ve launched our new website, and we’re excited to introduce you to our new look.

Just like our business solutions, it’s full of great features!

We’ve added a range of new content too, including helpful hints and features to keep you up to date with the latest news and releases.

new website
Remote working

Covid-19 and remote working – keep calm and log on

With the thought of Covid-19 on a lot of people’s minds, many business are looking at ways to assist their staff in remote working.

At Deep Blue we pride ourselves at not just providing great products and services but also great support. This is why we are offering the following tips and guidance for remote working.

Horizon

With Horizon, starting to work remotely couldn’t be easier. There are multiple ways your staff can receive their calls at home:

  • If you have a compatible router* and a horizon PSU, you can take your horizon handset home with you. First connect the PSU to power. Then connect your handset’s ethernet cable to one of the ports on the back of your router.
  • You can link each Horizon handset with up to five other numbers using twinning. This allows home workers to receive calls on their Horizon phone, home phone and other devices at the same time.
  • For a small additional charge, users can have a Horizon desktop soft phone. This allows users to make and manage their calls via their computer (available for Mac and Windows).
  • For a small additional charge, users can get the Horizon app on their smartphone (available for Android and iOS). This allows them to not only make and receive Horizon calls on their mobile, but also gives them access to the company directory, their speed dials, recent call details and many other Horizon features.

Horizon Collaborate – 4 month free trial

For next level functionality, you can upgrade your Horizon service to collaborate. Collaborate adds the following features to your Horizon service:

  • Audio and Video calling via desktop and smartphone
  • Personal audio, web and video conferencing with up to 15 users (with both Horizon and non-Horizon users)
  • Room audio, web and video conferencing with up to 15 users(with both Horizon and non-Horizon users)
  • Instant messaging and presence (info on a users status and availability)
  • Service management (call settings)
  • Drag and drop file and desktop sharing
  • Visual Voicemail
  • Address Books/Contact Management

This means your work force can still communicate with each other in real time, collaborate with each other and even host conferences with suppliers or customers, all from the comfort of their own home.

In light of the current Covid-19 situation and the increased interest in remote working, Horizon are currently offering the first four months of collaborate for free to support business in establishing home working.

Because Horizon is controllable from anywhere you have an internet connection you can still manage your calls even if you can’t get to your office. Redirecting them or updating your voicemail message to keep your callers up to date.

The statistics tab on the portal allows you to keep track of calls made and received on each Horizon handset. This lets you know if calls are being missed so you can react to this.

Remote Working

SIP Trunks

These can be forwarded to alternative numbers via the trunks themselves or via your phone system. Customers with SIP Trunk call manager can forward numbers via the call manager portal.

PSTN and ISDN

If you are using PSTN or ISDN, a facility called admin controlled call forwarding can be setup on your lines. This allows you to add and remove forwards on your phone numbers via a handset connected to your line. There is a small additional charge for this service and it typically takes 24 hours for the service to be applied at the exchange.

From protecting workers who may fall into at risk groups. Keeping your business running should staff be quarantined. An alternative for staff with childcare issue should schools be closed. Or just a new way to run your business. Whatever reason is making you consider remote working, Deep Blue are happy to be on hand to support your business.

Whether you are an existing customer or not, please feel free to contact us to discuss what options may be suitable for your business.

* Not all broadband services and routers will work with Horizon. Some routers may use settings such as SIP ALG which can interfere with Horizon.

sad-lady-on-the-phone-760

Phone Hacking – an unexpected cost to businesses

Think of phone hacking and you probably think of news reports of newspapers gaining access to the phones of celebrities and politicians to gather information. What you may not think of is criminals hacking into the phone systems of businesses.

Once access has been gained to a company’s network, this can be used to illegally route calls, either to make international calls or even to generate revenue from premium rate numbers, all at the expense of the hacked company.

Usually after the companies have closed (often at weekends or bank holidays to help avoid detection) the hackers have gained access to the network and called premium rate (09) and special rate (0871) numbers which they earn revenue from. In some cases this revenue is used to fund organised crime and terrorist activity. Many businesses are unaware that they are liable for any charges generated during these attacks and that getting this money back is a lengthy process.

A case in America that made it to court uncovered an international crime gang that had access to over 2,500 PBX’s and had illegally routed calls to the value of $55million dollars. Another case of note, and probably the most high profile UK victim was New Scotland Yard.

The average call charges faced by a company hit by this type of hacking is £10,000.

As you can see by the figures above, phone hacking is a serious crime and in all cases we advise affected parties to notify the police as soon as the hack is brought to their attention. The called numbers should also be reported to Ofcom and Phonepay Plus.

As with computer hacking, there are measures to reduce this risk of being hit, however as fast as these measures close one door, the hackers find ways to open another.

One of the main ways access is gained is through services such as voicemail which allow you to dial into a network externally, but there are simple steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of this happening. Ensure all ways of accessing your network are password protected (just as you would put a password on your wireless internet network), change these passwords from the system default and ideally update them often, don’t share passwords, make passwords as long and complicated as possible (many hackers have sophisticated methods that can crack passwords 16 digits long) and keep all access codes secure (some victims had calls from individuals claiming to be from telephone companies asking codes to do work on the network or to update their security).

It is also worth considering what kinds of calls you make; does your business need to be able to call premium rate or international numbers? If not, consider call barring features so if your network was compromised, it would be harder for extensive call charges to be built up.

At Deep Blue we take the security of our customers seriously which is why we partner with a number of developers and services to provide additional security to our customers. We use multi level monitoring systems to track call traffic volumes. These alert us and can even automatically apply out bound call barring should suspicious activity be found.

If phone hacking is something you are concerned about or if you would like to discuss this further, please feel free to contact one of our friendly support staff.