Another first sees Ethicall launch Field Enabled Technology (FEN’s) to address client data security issues in its Field Agency operation

Ethicall’s Business Process Director David Williams tells us more.

The issue of client data in the hands of a field agency has always posed a number of worrying concerns around where that data is stored and what happens to it once in transit to and from an agencies portal or paper based process and the clients own system. Whilst it is relatively straight forward for these processes to be tightly controlled at field agency head office to client level, the same isn’t true when sensitive data is sent out into the field and placed in the hands of a field agent.

Most field agencies utilise self-employed field agents so it is difficult to impose strict controls and policies regarding client data on them due to the nature of their employment status with that agency. This is arguably when the client data is most at risk and therefore open to misuse, being mislaid or being at risk to the outside world because strict controls are not properly enforced.

David Williams shows off Ethicall’s brand new Field Enabled Technology (FEN’s) hardware

Breaking the mould again

Ethicall has already demonstrated to a number of clients over the last couple of years that the conduct of our representatives on the doorstep is taken very seriously by us, which is why we employ all of our field staff. Having credit industry experienced people with the right gravitas representing us and our clients on the doorstep gives us a high degree of management control over our clients exacting requirements when it comes to interviewing their customers, however we have taken this process on further by implementing the same standards and controls when it comes to handling client sensitive data in the field.

Field Enabled Technology (FEN’s)

FEN’s is a combination of hardware and software technologies that we have developed and engineered around every aspect of our business processes with one main key objective in mind  which is to keep data secure whether it is at rest or in transit and throughout the full case lifecycle.

Our strategy to meet these objectives falls in to two key stages:

1. Data at client to Ethicall head office level

In order to fully protect data at this level all cases that require an Ethicall field visit are (unless a client specifies an alternative method of securely sending their customer data) uploaded via Ethicall’s proprietary web portal called EWS (Ethicall Workflow System). These cases are uploaded via a 256-bit AES SSL link which securely encrypts the data during transmission to Ethicall’s dedicated hosted server which in itself sits behind a Cisco Firewall that incorporates sophisticated Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) and Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) processes.

Once securely uploaded, client data resides on the Ethicall database server which in itself is protected by an additional layer of security by way of a database firewall to protect the data at rest. If for any reason the hardware firewall is compromised then this extra layer will secure the data and protect it from potential SQL Injections as well as various other database attacks.

Some of the world class brands that make up Ethicall’s Field Enabled Technology 

2. Data in the field and End-Point Security (EPS)

Ethicall takes the issue of end point security very seriously due to the field based nature of its business and the type of client data it handles. To this end all Ethicall field operatives are solely employed by the company which enables effective management and control of its field based policies for conducting customer visits and handling client data. Ethicall believes that it is only the employed nature of their field personnel that enables them to issue, manage and control client data in the field using secure technology.  This technology utilises the latest Hewlett Packard laptop hardware that is centrally managed by the Ethicall IT Administrator. Features such as disk encryption, pre-boot authentication and device access management are just a small part of Ethicall’s policy around field hardware asset management. In terms of software Ethicall utilises the latest Malware protection using the powerful Microsoft Forefront Online Protection for Exchange (FOPE) engine that is centrally managed by the Ethicall IT Administrator. In fact Ethicall goes an extra step further by employing Microsoft Windows InTune, a comprehensive web-based solution that enables the complete inventory management of all hardware, software deployment, licensing, upgrading and patching including its Malware protection suite.

Never become complacent

Even though FEN’s demonstrates that we at Ethicall are very proud that we can offer our clients a high level of reassurance when they entrust their data with us, we are always mindful of the fact that we need to not only stay one step ahead of the technological trends that are relevant to our business but we also need to ensure that we constantly maintain and rigorously test our current systems to ensure their integrity. We do this by conducting regular in-house vulnerability tests as well as an annual penetration test conducted by an industry leading independent vendor.

It is the satisfactory outcome of these tests that enables us to be confident in answering that all important question from a client or potential client when they ask us… “ Is our data safe in your hands? ”

Ethicall Celebrates Second Anniversary

Ethicall Field Services extends the level of services but highlights the need for greater emphasis on third party data security on its second anniversary

Ethicall Field Services has completed a successful second year’s trading, taking its innovative and ground breaking field agency model to an ever widening client audience.

Martin Swann, Sales and Marketing Director for Ethicall commented, “We’re delighted to be entering our third year’s trading with the company in excellent shape. 2011 was a year which saw a number of changes to the field agency shopping list of lenders, and we’re extremely pleased to have met and, in some cases exceeded, their expectations.

The most noticeable change, Swann acknowledges, has been the level of rigour brought to bear by lenders in order to satisfy their requirements for Customer Data Security. “There has been a quantum leap in terms of lender focus over the last twelve months in this area. There is now a far keener eye on end point security, as well as the need for security of data in transit. We took the decision sometime ago to make adjustments to our field processes, with huge emphasis on controlling data at rest.”

Swann says that in order to meet client expectations significant investment has been made by the company in new hardware and software. “We operate an employed field team which works for us and no one else. We have now issued specifically configured, company hardware to all of our employees, inclusive of device access restriction and drive encryption. Advanced user authentication levels are also firmly in place, along with highly intuitive malware detection processes. Our Regional Partners and their reporting Account Managers can only access the Ethicall Workflow System using corporate laptops.”

“We see this as the only realistic way of ensuring customer data isn’t compromised. Our experience of transmitting customer data using methods outside the firewall, especially using e-mail, has proved problematic and at times risky. We’re now delighted that clients are changing the way they monitor their customer data when it’s transmitted outside their own business infrastructures. The only way, in our opinion, to deal with this important and sensitive area, is to control the process from start to finish.

“We have also made substantial changes to the level of protection around our server with an additional database firewall installed to defend against potential threats such as SQL injections or cross side scripting. All of our systems have been configured to meet PCI and ISO27001 standards. So far clients have been extremely pleased with the approach we are taking.”

Ethicall also reports that its service range has widened during 2011 which is further evidence of its approach to bring new solutions to problems both old and new. Swann says, “What is particularly pleasing is that our field team has the depth of experience and doorstep manner to embrace a range of different tasks and complexity. High contact rates mean that clients can rely on us to turn up and do the work well!

Swann outlines “We have always looked to bring something new and different to a somewhat tired sector. Anticipating client need and suggesting solutions is central to Ethicall’s ethos. One first class example of this has been the progress we have made in addressing one of the industry’s very pressing needs, and that is how to approach customers with anticipated repayment shortfalls (loan maturities). We have designed an interview report form and process which establishes the customer’s net asset position, provides an income and expenditure assessment and summarises the attitude and intent of the customer to deal with the projected shortfall. We are not a regulated entity and so cannot give advice; however, we can provide excellent and reliable first hand intelligence for lenders and bridge the literal divide between a Head Office team and a customer who could be over a hundred miles away.”

Swann went on to add, “This area is very much a moving feast with what constitutes advice in these circumstances is something of a grey area. We wouldn’t rule out a wider partnership involving industry specialists where Ethicall is able to facilitate direct help to client customers, who possibly don’t have sufficient income to justify a term extension.”

Ethicall also reports that it expects the overall numbers of field visit requirements in core arrears and recovery sectors to decline over the next 24-36 months although current economic pressures may see an increase in numbers in the second and third quarters of 2012. Swann commented “core markets will come under pressure and only those businesses with a focus on quality and value will survive. We believe very firmly that our model is built for both of these things and are excited at the prospect of meeting and beating the challenges of the next few years. The key success factor for our business will be those individuals who continue to do an excellent job for us and our clients in the field, often in difficult circumstances. Without an experienced, skilled, motivated and well managed field team we couldn’t deliver the level of quality clients rightly demand. Expanding our team with more of the same type of individuals will be paramount this year.”

Ethicall Celebrates It’s First Anniversary!

Ethicall is celebrating the end of their first year of trading by launching their new website,

Ethicall is the only nationwide field agency working for the mortgage and lending industry that can boast a fully employed field network. What’s more, Ethicall only employ field staff with long-term credit industry experience – a unique approach that has taken the market by storm.

It’s an approach that has guaranteed record breaking results. Calling on early arrears mortgage customers, Ethicall are achieving over 90% right party contact rates and an average turnaround time of 13 calendar days.

 Ethicall’s figures have been so impressive that they’ve trebled their client base over the year, as well as doubling their field representation. Oh, and along the way they picked up an “Innovator of the Year” award from the Mortgage Finance Gazette!

 Ethicall’s Sales & Marketing Director, Martin Swann, is excited about the future:

 “We’ve broken the mould” He said. “Our highly experienced field network has achieved unheard of results, and continues to do so. By strictly adhering to our policy of using only fully employed field agents, we’re able to offer the most compliant solution in what is becoming a more and more regulated area. The future couldn’t look more rosy!”

 It’s a tremendous success story in the most challenging of business climates – and just reward for hard work, a courageous approach to doing business, and innovative thinking.

 To learn more about Ethicall’s unique approach, visit their new website at, or contact Martin Swann, their Sales & Marketing Director, on 07769660033 or


Welcome to Ethicall’s new website, and this, our blog. Ethicall offers high quality field services to the financial services industry – our Regional Partners and Area Account Managers undertake customer visits for a range of clients: mortgage lenders, loan companies, solicitors, insurers, and others, and for a range of purposes: arrears re-habilitation, mortgage counselling , process serving and more. We’re different because we employ ALL our field operatives, without exception, and only work with knowledgeable, credit-industry experienced people.

Our blog will be a forum for ideas – we’ll post industry and Ethicall updates, pertinent comment, and maybe some light-hearted contributions from the sometimes comical world of field operations. So watch this space.