In the midst of a nationwide effort to stop illegal telecom activity, Numeracle is on a mission to protect the branded communications of legitimate organizations from becoming collateral damage. As part of Somos’ blog series focused on STIR/SHAKEN to attestation categorization standardization to Somos’ RealNumber, we got in touch with Anis Jaffer, Chief Product Officer at Numeracle to talk about STIR/SHAKEN, Numeracle’s role in helping businesses within the framework, and the looming attestation gap that awaits brands if STIR/SHAKEN is not made seamless and simple.
For readers who may not be familiar with your organization, can you tell us a little more about Numeracle and the services you provide? Additionally, can you tell us a bit about what your typical customer looks like?
At Numeracle, we serve enterprise direct clients, BPOs, communications platform providers and Service Providers. What all of our customers have in common is the goal to protect wanted, critical communications and enable successful omnichannel communications delivery on behalf of their business or their clients’ business. Our clients all seek to verify their identities for the purpose of communicating in today’s telecom ecosystem and enable best practices to improve contact rates.
Our cornerstone product is the Numeracle Entity Identity Management™, a platform which provides visibility and control to prevent the improper call blocking and labeling of legitimate business communications and enables entities, contact centers and service and platform providers to prepare for the identity verification requirements associated with STIR/SHAKEN. Our Verified Identity™ solution provides our customers the ability to control how their branded communications are delivered.
Speaking of customers – The STIR/SHAKEN mandate recently took effect on June 30, 2021. Enterprises will want their Service Providers to help them achieve A-level attestation. As a business that interfaces directly with organizations, what are some of the more common and/or recurring pain points that you hear being frequently discussed?
There is a lot of confusing information available to enterprises right now, and one of the most common pain points is making sense out of what’s required and who is responsible for completing the actions necessary to comply with the mandated deadline.
We communicate to our clients the recommendation to actively engage with their service providers to understand where they are in the process of STIR/SHAKEN implementation, and for those enterprises who don’t have a direct relationship with their Service Providers, this is something Numeracle can step in and lend a hand with.
We’re also asked a lot of questions about call display after STIR/SHAKEN has been fully deployed. As call blocking and labeling analytics will continue to be in place across the wireless calling ecosystem, issues of “Spam” and “Scam Likely” labeling won’t simply vanish as the result of STIR/SHAKEN. For Numeracle, enabling entities to protect the reputation of their calls, mitigate improper labeling, and elevate their Verified Identity status to the point of entry into the STIR/SHAKEN call authentication framework will continue to be the mission to support our clients.
Knowing the above, can you tell us about some of the actions you and your partners are taking to support enterprises to ease enterprise customer frustration?
To support the enterprise, we designed the Verified Identity process. Established in 2018, the Verified Identity process facilitates enterprises’ goals of voluntarily disclosing their identities for the purpose of legitimate business communications. We’ve been successfully vetting and validating those identities now for the purpose of improved call reputation within the analytics space. When it comes to STIR/SHAKEN, this entity verification process will be critical for service providers to ensure bad actor traffic is identified and shut down prior to facilitating illegally spoofed calls.
Our Verified Identity process also enables ease of entry to new features becoming available with STIR/SHAKEN such as RCD (rich call data) display with verified calls. We can also support branded call delivery at the device level, with the verification of logos associated with campaign phone numbers facilitated through our technology platform.
During the 2020 Toll-Free User Summit, Numeracle participated in a discussion around “Opportunities for Closing the Enterprise Call Attestation Gap.” We’d love to hear you continue the conversation and discuss available opportunities in more detail.
At Numeracle, we realize that closing the Enterprise Call Attestation Gap is key for widespread adoption of the STIR/SHAKEN standard. We believe by leveraging innovation and technology we can build a solution that closes the gap. We have been working with partners who share a similar vision and the discussion we participated in during the 2020 Toll-Free User Summit highlighted the work we have done. We continue to innovate and identify solutions to make the STIR/SHAKEN rollout a success for all. Our Entity Identity Management solution that supports delegated certificates is a result of the innovative work we do.
What do you think Responsible Organizations (Resp Orgs) and Service Providers can do to help enterprises maximize the value from STIR/SHAKEN and in turn, better serve and retain their customer base?
STIR/SHAKEN implementation should be made seamless with minimal effort for enterprises. Service Providers have the responsibility to make that possible and, for that, not only do they have to implement the underlying technology but also need to have the right policies in place. Attestation flag levels are determined by the Service Provider ability to validate the relationship with the enterprise as well as the phone numbers used by the enterprise. A strong local policy solution implemented with “KYC” (Know Your Customer) best practices would need to be implemented by Service Providers to achieve this. Similarly, for Toll-Free Numbers, Resp Orgs would need to have policies in place to determine who their clients are and which numbers they are using. Somos and Numeracle can help Resp Orgs and Service Providers implement these solutions to ensure bad actor traffic is identified and addressed, and that authenticated calls are successfully delivered.
Any final words for enterprises that are currently – or plan to – navigate the attestation process?
The Verified Identity of any enterprise delivering calls now and into STIR/SHAKEN deployment needs to be elevated up to the Originating Service Provider (OSP) for the OSP to pass the verified call through the network over to the terminating side. Without the elevation of the caller’s identity (plus phone number), the OSP will not be sure who is actually behind the content of the call and will not be able to fully attest to the verified (or not) status of the call.
This is a gap that can be filled with a KYC process to verify the relationship between the various parties. This is a process that exists today and has been employed by Numeracle to ensure trusted callers are vetted, verified and properly identified across the calling ecosystem. Enterprises who want to ensure their calls are properly delivered should focus on aligning with Service Providers who have deployed a KYC vetting process and are focused on compliance with the STIR/SHAKEN mandate.
Check out parts 1 & 2 of this Q&A series: