Teleware warns software-based m-call recording could cause FSA nightmares

TeleWare, provider of communications solutions for mobile and distributed workers, has warned the UK financial sector that suppliers offering mobile call recording solutions that rely on applications running within the handset could potentially cause more problems than they solve.

“Since we launched our network-based call recording solution in May, a number of rival firms have jumped on the bandwagon. A closer look at some of these vendor solutions highlights deep technical flaws that we feel potential customers need to consider,” says Steve Haworth, CEO of TeleWare Group Plc, “Some will talk about ‘App less’ or ‘software independent’ but, when you look closely, they still require an application on the handset to provide some features such as call routing for lower cost, roaming or compatibility with different networks.”

“Some of these firms will gloss over this technical issue but it is critical that organisations understand that these limitations increase the inherent security risks and, even when accompanied by compliance process checks, may lead to potential compliance failures. As a CEO, I know I would not want to live with that risk,” added Haworth.

Amongst the half a dozen vendors that claim to offer mobile call recording, Haworth highlights solutions which have a vagueness around the need for an application on the handset, as well as limited coverage, both causes for concern.

In TeleWare’s view, the main issue is that any application in the handset is an intrinsic point of failure, for example, after an operating system upgrade, installation of an incompatible program, malware attack or if the user tries to disable the software to circumvent FSA compliance. “Apps on smart phones are great for many tasks but they are incredibly vulnerable in a critical compliance situation,” explains Haworth. “They also become a security concern as an illicitly modified call recording app could well allow a third party to tap into sensitive calls or, worse still, hack into the back-end call recording storage platform. Also to be considered is the cost of maintenance on tens or hundreds of phones which will not be inconsiderable in time and effort and is likely to cause issues with inoperability at times during upgrades. The overall cost to the organisation needs to be considered when making the decision.”

The other issue Haworth wants to highlight is the choice of mobile carrier. “In our solution, we are both the technology supplier and the MVNO which we enable through a single international agreement into a global service provider,” he explains. “We are a single point of contact, accountability and service provision – some of the newcomers are partnering with mobile carriers with limited credibility in the UK market and poor international coverage. Even some of the UK Mobile Network Operators are not noted for their coverage being acceptable to business.”

The TeleWare solution places the entire call recording process at the core of its own MVNO operation based at its own UK data centres. Using a special TeleWare SIM, the call recording solution works in any location with GSM or 3G, in the UK or abroad, and has been tested in 151 countries and 541 regional networks. The solution works with all Apple iPhone models, Blackberry, Google Android, Symbian, Meego, Microsoft and unbranded operating systems from every known mobile telephone manufacturer.

Like any other mobile network, the TeleWare Call Recording solution has standard features like voicemail, call conferencing, forwarding, Internet access, as well as coverage across 99% of the UK population. In the event of an FSA investigation or if a clarification is required on any conversation, each call can be accessed via a secure internet portal with the proper two factor authentication procedures.

“The FSA compliance deadline is just 4 months away and it’s understandable that firms may be beginning to panic, but deploying a solution that is clearly flawed from day one cannot be a sensible option,” explains Haworth. “The fact that there is competition in the mobile call recording market is healthy, but it is clear that not all solutions are built the same – even if the inherent costs are similar, the deployment methodology is critical for a compliant and reliable solution. The user experience will dictate the acceptability of a solution,” he concluded.