4 Reasons Your Credit Union Should Embrace the Cloud

 

COVID-19 accelerated banks’ transition to the cloud, but you should never do something just because everyone else is doing it, right? So let’s talk about some of the best reasons your credit union should embrace the cloud.

Cybersecurity

83% of organizations globally store sensitive data on the cloud. That means the cybersecurity measures that go along with cloud services have to be top-of-the-line. The coronavirus pandemic exacerbated cloud usage, but it also gave rise to new and growing cybersecurity threats.

If you trust your business data to a strong cloud system, you have the full force and wisdom that comes with that tech on your side when it comes to making sure your data is being used and stored safely.

Higher Quality Hardware, Lower Costs

Additionally, by trusting your cloud solutions to a provider with a primary focus on optimizing your cloud experience, you are not only able to free up your on-staff IT professionals to spend more time helping your team members and your credit union members, but you also have the added advantage of receiving higher quality hardware at a lower cost.

Cloud providers have a wealth of top-notch hardware and software. And unless your credit union has an unlimited source of income that you can dedicate to purchasing and setting up machines of similar caliber in-house or at an offsite location, you are gaining the benefit of that high-quality technology without having to provide the funds it takes to acquire and implement it.

Scalability

If 2020 taught business leaders anything, it’s that you can’t predict what will happen in the next month or year. Because of the unprecedented changes we’ve seen recently, it’s more apparent than ever that your credit union needs strategies and solutions that are scalable, which is yet another reason to embrace the cloud.

The scalability of cloud services is one of its biggest selling points. We think the Credit Union Times says it best: “By migrating IT infrastructure to the public cloud, institutions can start with what is needed and scale accordingly, which yields greater flexibility, agility, and potential cost savings.”

You’re Already in the Cloud

Chances are, you are already using cloud services in your professional and personal life. According to Trellance, 94% of workloads will be processed by cloud data centers in 2021.

In your personal and professional life, you are likely using the cloud on a daily basis without even realizing it. If you have a smartphone, you are likely storing data in the cloud in many forms: contact information, photos and videos, apps, documents, and other files. If you access work files from your personal or company phone or tablet, that’s the cloud working for you. If you store important dates and tasks in a calendar on your phone or computer – it’s the cloud.

Cloud solutions can seem much less daunting when you think about all the ways the cloud is already helping you move through your daily routines and conquer your goals for the day.

Embrace the Cloud with IMS

The cloud-based bandwagon is one tech trend your credit union should not miss. IMS knows that good tech is the foundation for your CU to be able to provide important services and products to every one of your members. That’s why we created Private Cloud Services that are tailor-made for credit union operations and needs, so you can embrace the cloud with confidence and security.

IMS’s Private Cloud Services include:

Browse these and other offerings here on our website or contact us today!


The Importance of Cloud Consolidation

 

Every technology solution has dozens, if not hundreds or thousands, of different apps, websites, and tools to get the job done. And if you are looking to carry your credit union’s offerings into the future, you and your staff are likely on a constant search for ways to upgrade your credit union technology solutions. Take cloud-based data solutions, for example.

Many people have a personal cloud where they store information and photos from their own personal smart devices. But wait there’s more – we often have many different cloud and onsite applications for work, family, side businesses, and random collaborative projects.

As credit union leaders, you are always trying to push for helpful, streamlined technology solutions. And one of the best ways to declutter your tech presence in the workplace is cloud consolidation.

The Importance of Cloud Consolidation

More than 88% of respondents in an O’Reilly study use the cloud in one way or another. And about 25% also said their companies planned to move “all of their applications to a cloud context in the next year.”

Currently, remote work is becoming a dominant force in workplace culture. And that is a perfect reason to consolidate all onsite applications to the cloud. Creating a central resource for all applications allows you and your credit union employees to remain adaptable. Whether they are working from their office, their home, a separate branch, or their preferred remote location like a café or library, cloud consolidation means they won’t lose focus or productivity trying to search for resources that aren’t accessible offsite or on their non-native computer.

Cloud Consolidation Boosts Tech Effectiveness

Along with convenience, cloud consolidation also increases cloud effectiveness. Now that we are winding down from the fervor of 2020, it’s time to look at those hastily-implemented cloud procedures to see which areas can be cleaned up to create a streamlined experience.

Here is a quick look at some reasons why cloud consolidation boosts technology effectiveness:

  • Ease of use – loud services are becoming more and more user-friendly
  • Cost efficiency – cloud services are almost always less expensive than legacy services
  • Increased productivity – as ease-of-use continues to be a top priority for cloud services, this allows credit union staff, from CEO to tellers, the ability to do better work faster.

Create Room for Expansion

The adaptability and scalability of a consolidated cloud system mean you can use it for the long haul.

This means whether you need room for multiple teams, branches, or credit union-specific focus areas, many cloud services are customizable by offering tiered services. This means your cloud service can be tailored for right-sizing and expansion in a short amount of time.

The Focus on Consolidation Means Built-In IaaS

Cloud services are no longer used for simply storing data. You can host video meetings, support team chats, and file sharing. Many even allow for seamless integration of third-party apps.

In the cloud computing world, small and singularly-focused service providers are beaten out by their IaaS-driven competitors. But why is this good news for your credit union?

By consolidating all your systems to cloud platforms, you are not only creating solutions to common problems, but you are keeping all the integrations and functions of your bulky onsite systems with none of the bulk.

Cloud consolidation is a popular trend that ramped up in 2020 and looks to be headed for more big moves in 2021.

IMS Has the Private Cloud Services Your CU Needs

Cloud services that are IaaS-focused and customization-driven are great solutions for your credit union.

IMS’s Private Cloud Services Include:

Browse these and other offerings here on our website or contact us today!


Making the Most of the Cloud as a Credit Union

 

In 2020, if you haven’t switched to the cloud, there’s no way around it. You’ll likely be doing it soon! If you’re wary of the cloud, take a closer look at the major benefits of a cloud computing solution. 

Understanding the moving parts of your holistic solution

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) incorporates the hosting services, backup, disaster recovery, and data security that work in a holistic way to protect your data and provide insurance in any instances of disaster.

The number one benefit of a cloud computing solution is the ability to save on hardware costs. In addition, your costs will be predictable because you’ll only be paying for what you need on a monthly basis. By eliminating the upfront data storage, you’ll save a great deal of money by only paying for the components that you need in order to optimize your cloud costs. Our enterprise-grade cloud infrastructure houses your data, but it’s yours to structure.

Essentially, backup to disaster recovery centers means you’re doubled up with a superior backup solution. In the dire case that you need disaster recovery, the cloud will not only help you to function more fluidly on a daily basis but also have the ability to snap back during times of disaster. This means less time spent managing solutions and less time spent sending valuable team members over to figure out those solutions. A responsive system that jumps in when you need it most.

Relying on an experienced team to assist minimizes downtime. You not only need the hardware infrastructure to perform disaster recovery smoothly and efficiently, but you also need the technical expertise to perform that recovery with minimal downtime. Our IaaS offerings provide a robust setup that will function on-demand to adjust to any specific requests, 24/7.

When credit union data storage solutions aren’t agile, they aren’t leveling up with the competition. 

As a result, it may become more difficult to reach younger demographics who don’t want interruptions in their experience with your credit union when you’re fielding issues and expending resources with expensive on-site storage.

If you’re looking for flexibility and need a custom solution for the cloud, we’re available to deliver and design those solutions to a wide swath of credit unions. Let’s talk about the solutions that will work best for you and your credit union.


A New Decade in Cloud Computing

The cloud will explode in 2020, and financial services will be at the forefront of this surge. In comparison to insurance and healthcare, financial services have seen the biggest growth in cloud computing adoption “beyond basic cloud maturity.” 

LogicMonitor’s Cloud Vision 2020: The Future of the Cloud Study reports that 83 percent of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud by 2020. In 2020, People’s Choice Credit Union aims to be fully-digital

Gone are the days when credit unions had to worry about data storage sizing. The advent of cloud computing means that capacity is no longer a problem. 

But how can you ensure that cloud computing will be successfully incorporated into your business? How will you ensure that your members’ data will be safe?

Cybersecurity and the cloud

Cybersecurity developments in the cloud have been prepared for the potential of attackers. 

It’s understandable to be wary about the switch to cloud services when financial industries like credit unions often see data breaches. However, many misconceptions about the cloud are cause for delay in using it. In fact, research has demonstrated that cloud systems provide more security than traditional IT systems.

Benefits of cloud computing backup 

If your IT staff is fielding security breaches and abandoning other important tasks, the switch to cloud computing can help to prevent those intrusions and liberate your staff to focus on other efforts of value, such as member-focused solutions. 

Continually monitored, updated, and audited, layers of protection with the cloud system help sensitive information to stay safe. Security is a full-time gig, and your IT team won’t be able to focus on efforts of greater value if they are continually faced with issues related to cybersecurity. 

Disk-to-Disk solutions, for example, can be an effective measure in data organization and potential recovery. Agile and scalable, cloud computing can help to open up new markets as well.

Adapting to the cloud computing system

Don’t assume that the switch to cloud computing alone is safety measure enough. Proper implementation of the cloud and assistance along the way can ensure that your layers of protection are secure. 

We can help with transitioning your team to this type of system, and your employees will be able to shift their focus to efforts that improve the member experience. 

For companies that work with a large amount of sensitive information on a daily basis, cybersecurity will always be one of the biggest concerns. When you’re looking to implement a system to bolster your cybersecurity efforts, it should be a complex, multilayered approach. We can help to guide you throughout this process and ensure that you’re taking the correct steps.


Cybersecurity Developments in the Cloud

 

For some CU executives, cybersecurity is a topic that causes them to lose sleep at night.

With 2020 looming ever closer on the horizon, it’s important to be aware and prepare for the inevitability of cyber attacks on financial institutions. Cyberattacks are becoming more powerful, intricate, and in even more instances, automated. Financial institutions must now prioritize cybersecurity.

Most credit unions don’t have the strongest security systems, nor do their employees have the adequate skills and training to assess threats properly. The anxiety of CU executives largely stems from the need to catch up with these threats and adapt systems that anticipate the sophistication of these attacks and the signs that they could be experiencing a threat.

Making the switch to cloud computing 

Misconceptions about cloud computing can prevent some CU leaders from making the switch when they should. However, private cloud backup and hosting can significantly improve the nature of your disaster recovery system. By backing up your data to the cloud, you’ll be giving yourself a safety net should a data disaster strike.

Benefits of Backup:

  • With centralized configuration, you won’t be storing unnecessary data. You can specify what data needs to be backed up, rather than chipping away at your valuable investment. You’ll only secure your data the way you prefer.
  • With IMS, we leverage Disk-to-Disk solutions which help you to organize your data and easily recover it. 
  • IT Departments can free up their time to focus on more member-facing solutions, rather than maintaining a server at a physical location. 

Many believe that their cloud security is safer than it actually is. 

Once upon a time, credit unions stored their data in remote facilities. With one physical location, the risk was much more significant. Now, data is largely safe from many potential risks. However, cybersecurity threats remain one of the hottest topics concerning financial institutions, and active security management must meet the gravity of these risks.

When cloud security is properly implemented, there are many benefits to this type of system. When cloud security sees human error in configuration, this means there are gaps in the system that need to be adjusted.

If you’re running with a lean IT staff, it could be beneficial to add layers of protection to your system. Secure cloud computing measures free up IT resources to focus on providing more member value. 

Still, cybersecurity is a complex, layered system, and requires significant time and effort. Let us help guide you along the way. 


3 Reasons Why Your Credit Union Needs Disaster Recovery Solutions

We’ll get straight to the point: you need a disaster recovery solution for your credit union. And it’s not just because it’s mandated by the NCUA. Your CU’s resilience and continued success is all the more easier to achieve if you have this strategy in place.

Disaster recovery involves practices, policies and tools that work toward continuing operations in the event of a man-made or natural disaster. This business strategy helps to mitigate damage and assist with recovering from the incident.

The recent years have been challenging for credit unions across the country. Natural disasters such as wildfires and hurricanes have taken their toll on American citizens and businesses. Your credit union needs a plan to recover from one if it happens.

Read on to learn 3 reasons why your credit union needs disaster recovery solutions:

  • Members may leave if they don’t have access to critical credit union services

If your credit union is handling a disaster, chances are high that your members are dealing with the same. During emergencies, easy access to critical services and most importantly, their money, is of the highest priority to members. 

If your credit union is caught unaware when a crisis occurs, members are likely to lose confidence and leave for an alternative institution that can better ensure the safety of their finances.

  • The NCUA has strict sanctions for credit unions who don’t follow regulations

According to the NCUA, all credit unions have to test their disaster recovery solutions at least once a year (source). They require credit unions to have a working disaster recovery plan or system in place, and failure to keep one would lead to strict regulatory action.

  • Crucial data might be lost in the event of an actual disaster

While your credit union can recover from lost members or a sanction from the NCUA, it’s very likely that you won’t be able to recover from a true disaster.

Without a comprehensive credit union disaster recovery strategy, you can lose a large amount of significant and crucial data. Without data and records, your credit union could be permanently affected.

The Value Of Cloud Storage In Disaster Recovery Strategies

In the past, credit unions primarily stored their data using on-site storage and in remote branch facilities. This practice carries significant risks because data is stored in just one physical location.

With cloud storage, data is much safer from the majority of all disasters. If you’d like to learn more about how disaster recovery can ensure business continuity, our experts will be happy to speak with you!


Debunking 3 Credit Union Cloud Computing Myths

Cloud computing has been in popular use for more than a decade, but it still suffers from a few myths that are easily debunked. For modern credit unions, making the shift to the cloud is a matter of when, not if, so it’s essential to understand the facts about cloud computing.

The top 3 misconceptions that we hear about the cloud for credit unions are:

  • It is too expensive
  • It is less secure because you ‘lose control’ of the data
  • Current IT staff will become obsolete

These concerns may sound serious, but the reality is that they aren’t valid. Take a look at why your credit union shouldn’t fear the cloud:

Misconception: The cloud is too expensive

When you initially study prices of cloud hosting services, it can be easy to balk at the pricing structure. However, cloud pricing only tells a small part of the story. Remember that you are balancing capital expenditures and operating expenses. You don’t need to invest in costly infrastructure when you move to the cloud.

When you take into account the total expense of running on-location networks compared to that of cloud services for credit unions, the actual numbers are very reasonable. As with other expenses, sticker shock only occurs if you don’t take the time to educate yourself on the true costs.

While the operating expenditures make your monthly payments go up, it is offset by several benefits such as more predictable costs, hassle-free budgeting, no significant cash outlays needed every few years, and no need to be concerned about maintenance and support because these are included in the operating costs of cloud services.

Misconception: The cloud isn’t secure

Many professionals, even those in the IT industry, remain skeptical about credit union cloud security. Their reasoning is that they can’t trust a system they can’t physically see or manage.

The truth is that when it comes to data security, physical storage location matters far less than the ability to manage and restrict access.

Having proper security suite and firewall configuration, as well as active security management, is much more important for protecting data integrity than physical server control.

One more benefit to cloud services for credit unions is the fast and efficient adoption of innovative technologies. Instead of regularly paying for new upgrades and security features, the cost of these technologies are already baked into the cost of the cloud platform.

Misconception: Current IT staff won’t have anything to do

After transferring infrastructure management to the cloud, your current IT staff is still responsible for server management even though it is located elsewhere.

Aside from this, IT also has other non-cloud related tasks to finish. Because of all the time and resources freed up by not having to actively oversee physical servers, your IT staff can work on your business more. One suggestion is to work on member-facing initiatives for your credit union, a project that they wouldn’t have time to support otherwise.

Many of the hesitations that credit unions have about the cloud can be easily addressed. Not only is the cloud more cost-effective than originally thought, but it’s also more secure than the majority of on-premise systems. The staffing implications of moving to the cloud is positive as well. Instead of spending time on maintenance and support, IT can now address member-facing services that provide significantly more value to the credit union.