As financial processes become even more reliant on current technology, regulations and restrictions on cyber security tighten by the day. In recent years, the financial industry in particular has gone through more than its fair share of security breaches. In fact, credit unions and other financial institutions with less than $35 million in assets accounted for a shocking 81% of data breaches just this 2016.
The fallout of these malware and hacking incidents resulted in stricter security policies and higher expectations for the data security of members, staff and businesses themselves.
Credit unions have since been striving to develop a culture of cyber security that is deep-rooted in each stage of data storage and transit, including over networks and in-branch. While the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) provides a recommended process for determining, protecting, and discovering potential security risks, it is crucial to have a plan in place if a breach should occur.
Below are a few considerations for responding to and recovering from credit union cyber security incidents:
How To Respond
As always, prevention is better than cure when it comes to cyber disasters. Having a recovery plan in place before such a calamity strikes is extremely important. But while a comprehensive cyber security protocol will protect against the majority of breaches, even the most stringent programs are not immune from attack. Preparing how your credit union will respond will help you work through these incidents with calm and confidence.
Directly after a security breach, disconnect affect networks and equipment to effectively take them offline. Contact your vendors or in-house IT staff to help assess the situation. Connect with your credit union’s legal representation as well to begin tackling any effects of the attack.
Being able to continue operations as usual can be your credit union’s lifesaver, so consider disaster recovery solutions that minimize downtime and help you restore your business as soon as possible. Lastly, make sure you are familiar with state data security laws before notifying the critical parties as soon as you can after a breach occurs.
How To Recover
Begin recovering from a cyber security breach by analyzing your credit union’s post-breach process. What did your credit union do well and what could have been done better? Take these observations and document them as needed improvements for security policies that you will communicate to your staff and incorporate into your current cyber security program. It can be very helpful to encourage further education and improvement of cyber security knowledge so your plan will be as effective as it can be.
Finally, your attention and resources should be directed to doing damage control to reassure members of their trust and confidence in your credit union. Security breaches aren’t just a negative incident for your credit union, but a moment of panic for your members too. They will need your reaffirmation that your institution is taking all the needed precautions when it comes to their data.
No two credit unions are the same, and this goes for their cyber security plans too. Depending on its size, different types and levels of security will be needed. Preparing for a cyber security breach is critical even for credit unions with exemplary security protocols. Don’t make the biggest mistake that credit unions can make when it comes to the security of their systems and member data: assuming that they are safe from cyber crime.