In the Battle for the Voice Network,
Data is your most powerful weapon.
By Chuck French on 2/11/21
Stop Robocalls, Spoof Calls & Vishing in the Enterprise
When Mutare began blocking voice spam through their unified communications software, they never dreamed that they were on the cusp of what would become one of the greatest risks in the digital age. Fast forward just four years, and Mutare has built one of the greatest weapons of defense against the bad actors who have been targeting organizations with robocalls, spoof calls and vishing calls. This new weapon, known as the Mutare Voice Traffic Filter, is powered by an ever-growing force…voice network data.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
“Know Thy Enemy, Know Thyself.” This common refrain is as relevant today as it was in the 5th century BC when Sun Tzu, a Chinese philosopher and military strategist, first coined it in his masterwork, “The Art of War.” It asserts that in any battle, the strongest weapon is knowledge.
Protecting business operations from the increasingly disruptive, destructive intrusion of spam and robocalls has, itself, taken on the aspects of an all-out war. What makes this battle so different, though, is the “enemy” is invisible. It hides behind incessant phone rings, robotic voices, false caller IDs and deceptive personas. For those attempting to fend off these attacks, the axes and javelins of 475 BC are now the digital network firewalls, spam blocking software and regulatory mandates of 2021. And yet, the continued cost to business in terms of lost productivity, criminal intrusion, network disruptions and regulatory fines has reached well into the billions with no indication of abating anytime soon.
Voice Traffic Filter is Born
Now businesses under assault have a powerful new ally.
Having spent 30 years solving complex problems for its customers, enterprise communications software developer Mutare, Inc., is well-equipped to take on the robocall challenge. But what truly sets Mutare’s efforts apart is the information their engineers have extracted and the knowledge they have gained from the company’s vast trove of enterprise voice traffic data.
What was originally a by-product of the company’s unified communications and spam blocking software development processes has now become a formidable weapon in the fight to defeat spam, robocalls, and other unwanted voice intrusions that threaten enterprise networks, employee productivity, and company security.
While most of the attention directed at robocall mitigation in recent years has been focused on consumer protection (as reflected in the passage of the 2019 TRACED Act), Mutare was quick to recognize the scant protections such measures could offer its enterprise customers, and so Mutare engineers got to work. By spring of 2019, Mutare had released the first, viable, voice network data powered, enterprise-specific spam filtering system (originally called Mutare Voice Spam Filter) that could not only recognize robocalls coming into business voice networks but could block them at the network edge before ringing through.
The Top Enterprise Solution for Robocalls and Phone Spoofing
Over subsequent months, as the practice of voice spamming and scamming continued to evolve, so, too, did Mutare’s break-through solution, with more nuanced spam-detection capabilities, an ever-expanding dynamic filtering database, and the refinement of Mutare’s own proprietary spoof detection technology. Today, the Mutare Voice Traffic Filter is unmatched in the industry for its power, flexibility, and effectiveness in blocking unwanted enterprise voice traffic in all of its forms.
The Power of Data – Know Thy Enemy
In the process, Mutare has found itself in possession of a vast store of business caller data that, when filtered and analyzed, reveals empowering insights about the true make-up of enterprise voice traffic. Data analytics uncover both trends and detailed insights that empower enterprise IT professionals to protect their networks and improve their organizational cyber protection. Here are some examples of the data insights:
- The proportion of unwanted calls (robocalls, spoof calls, vishing calls) within overall voice network traffic
- Outright criminal intent of identified unwanted calls
- Estimated costs of voice network intrusions
One of the most influential and useful capabilities of the voice network data store has come in the form of Industry Segmentation. Data Analysts have been able to develop clear and impactful summary insights that show which industries are being targeted by voice spammers, robocallers and malicious actors (see below for more details).
So Critical, it Deserved a Name: Meet the UVT Engine
It became evident that the star of the show was quickly evolving. Mutare’s Product Team, Development Team and Data Analytics Team came to the universal realization the data store had become an entity unto itself and demanded a proverbial seat at the table. After careful consideration, the data store was dubbed the UVT Engine (UVT = Unwanted Voice Traffic).
At its core, the UVT Engine is a stand-alone powerhouse, yet it is fully integrated with the Mutare Voice Traffic Filter. The UVT Engine is a proprietary big voice network data-crunching solution comprised of multiple dynamic databases and algorithms.
The Mutare Voice Traffic Filter is an enterprise-class solution that sits lightly on top of an organization’s voice network infrastructure (Cisco, Avaya, Mitel, Nortel, and countless others) and serves as a virtual gatekeeper, while it examines incoming voice traffic. When unwanted traffic is identified, it stops those calls from entering the voice network. The solution is fully customizable through a modern, dashboard-centric user interface, enabling network administrators to have complete control.
Meeting the Enemy for the First Time
“As our customers began implementing the Mutare Voice Spam Filter and viewing their reports, it was interesting to see how surprised many of them were at the sheer volume of unwanted calls coming into their organizations,” says Rich Quattrocchi, Vice President of Digital Transformation at Mutare. “That also told us how unaware most organizations are of the true impact those calls are having on their security and bottom line. We realized that our filter’s UVT Engine and reporting capabilities could be used as a discovery tool for any enterprise wishing to better understand the makeup of their network’s voice traffic. Armed with that kind of information, those organizations could then more easily determine the value of fully implementing our enterprise voice traffic filter.”
To that end, Mutare began offering the filtering and reporting capabilities of its UVT Engine to generate a detailed Voice Traffic Assessment (VTA) report for any organization interested in gaining a better understanding of the makeup of calls coming through their networks.
For the free VTA assessment, organizations simply provide Mutare with a CSV file of their existing voice network data, known as the Call Detail Record (CDR). Mutare will run the CDR through its UVT Engine and produce a detailed analysis of the voice traffic sampling, including a breakdown showing the percentage of calls coming from legitimate sources as opposed to known or suspect spam. Organizations may also opt for a more robust, paid proof-of-concept trial where the Mutare Voice Traffic Filter solution is installed at the client site for, on average, three months. This program provides not only a true hands-on experience with the filter administrative controls, but also deeper insights into the makeup of the organization’s voice traffic with a more detailed breakdown of activity by call type – legitimate, robocall, spoof call etc. The report generated from the Voice Traffic Assessment includes time and cost-savings projections for that organization as well as revelations about specific detected vulnerabilities.
“The insights gained through these assessments, at the very least, help our customers and prospects better understand the nature of the threat so they can fortify their internal systems and procedures accordingly,” says Quattrocchi. “However, it’s very clear that voice traffic filtering, if done well, provides the most effective protection and would have a significant, positive impact on their company’s bottom line.”
Revelations, Who is Most Impacted by Unwanted Voice Traffic?
Since launching the VTA assessment program, Mutare has analyzed more than 132 million business calls based on submitted CDR records. As of this writing, the voice network data reveals some astounding topline summarizations:
- 26% of all incoming enterprise calls are unwanted
- 9% of all incoming enterprise calls are identified as robocalls
- 19% of all incoming enterprise calls are spoof calls
Taking the report one step further, Mutare has applied projected cost-savings and ROI based on each organizations’ average salaries and estimates of lost time per call (usually three to five minutes in lost productivity) and found the following:
- The average annual savings in regained productivity alone for an organization if implementing Mutare Voice Traffic Filter — $588,574.
- The average ROI, year after year, with the Mutare Voice Traffic Filter in place — 880%.
Breakdown by Industry
Legal: The Legal profession is taking a major hit in terms of lost time and revenue due to unwanted spoof and robocalls. Not only is client-based legal work highly phone-centric, but revenue generation is usually based on billable hours. Any distraction that detracts from productive work of high-value professionals or results in missed calls from legitimate clients translates into substantial losses for the firm. The data gathered by Mutare reveals that unwanted calls are accounting for a whopping 40% of voice traffic coming into those firms. Projected average savings that could be realized with the elimination of those calls topped $406,000 annually per firm.
Finance: The Finance sector is also notable for its unusually high percentage of unwanted traffic – 22% on average – which would translate to more than $722,000 savings per organization annually with the elimination of those calls.
Misc.: Misc. / Corporate entities overall are experiencing voice traffic that is 26% unwanted but the financial impact is proportionally high. According to the analysis, these organizations could be saving approximately $370,000 each year with Voice Traffic Filter in place.
Mutare’s breakdown of the impact caused by robocalls and spoof calls on other industries reveals the following:
Total % of Unwanted voice traffic: 18%
Average Cost Savings in regained productivity with Traffic Filter per institution: $ 681,980
Voice Spam is especially painful for healthcare, an industry highly dependent on phone communications but whose phone networks have become an increasingly attractive target for criminal behavior, particularly as the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic is stretching staff and resources to the limit.
Total % of Unwanted voice traffic: 28%
Average Cost Savings in regained productivity with Traffic Filter per institution: $705,881
Total % of Unwanted voice traffic: 25%
Average Cost Savings in regained productivity with Traffic Filter per business: $370,351
Total % of Unwanted voice traffic: 9%
Average Cost Savings in regained productivity with Traffic Filter per institution: $63,070
Impacts on Compliance
In its analysis, Mutare also points out industry-specific vulnerabilities that could further exacerbate financial losses due to unwanted caller intrusions – for instance, the impact of a HIPAA breach and related penalties should an employee unwittingly provide protected health information to a scammer; degraded loyalty if a customer cannot get a call through due to a spam storm on the company exchange; or damages to other business systems if a visher (caller posing as a trusted source) is successful at extracting sensitive network access information. Such events have become regular occurrences as criminal scammers are increasingly more sophisticated and targeted in their approach.
With its unique ability to access and analyze enterprise voice network data, Mutare will continue to build on its growing base of knowledge in order to direct the future development of advanced, employee-empowering voice applications. In the process, the company is freely sharing that knowledge so organizations as a whole can better understand and plan for what is inevitably going to be a challenging year ahead in the war against robocalls and voice spam.
Would you like to learn more, Click Here for more information or to request a Mutare Voice Traffic Assessment (VTA).