Debunking 3 More Credit Union Cloud Myths

 

In a previous blog post, we debunked 3 credit union cloud computing myths, and we’re here to do it again. Cloud computing has been gaining popularity for years, but the events of 2020 and 2021 have accelerated widespread adoption. And with that rapid change comes new concerns. Let’s debunk 3 more common credit union cloud myths.

Myth: The Cloud is Only Good for Backup & Disaster Recovery

This myth is a little difficult to debunk because we must omit just a single word (“only”) from the myth to make it true. Cloud computing is a secure way to back up your data, and it’s also an effective option for disaster recovery practices.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. For example, IMS’s Private Cloud Services also include:

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service provides a safe and secure home for your servers
  • Core Hosting: IMS can manage and operate your credit union’s core system to whatever extent you need
  • Virtual Desktop provides a complete virtual workspace, a crucial element in this newly remote world.
  • Colocation Services keeps your data perpetually available by adding redundancy to your systems.    

Myth: One Cloud Will Rule Them All

There’s also a prevailing double-edged cloud myth, and it is that you either need to be extra meticulous in choosing the one cloud solution that will “do it all,” or that once you have broken the seal and start using one cloud service, you’ll end up needing dozens or hundreds of different cloud providers in order to successfully do all the things you were already achieving with your in-house or data center-based system.

Many organizations choose a multi-cloud strategy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have success with one cloud, and it also doesn’t mean that you will have to collect cloud management systems the way people collect stamps or comic books.

Myth: Cloud Data = Public Data

Another extremely common cloud myth is that once it’s in the cloud, your data is accessible to the public – as in everyone. There are tons of jokes in movie scenes about how once something is up in the cloud, you can’t get it down, and the information (no matter how private or incriminating) is now broadcast for all the world to see.

The Florida Institute of  Certified Public Accountants shared some great insight on why this notion is a myth: “There are public clouds (shared environments) and private clouds (dedicated environments.”

Public clouds like Google, for example, have multiple tenants and typically operate under pay-as-you-go models. A private cloud, however, is a single-tenant environment where all hardware and network components are dedicated to one client (or business).

Either way, there are no options where storing your information in a cloud network is akin to putting your data on a public billboard or allowing random individuals access to your credit union’s sensitive business or member-based data.

Bust Your Credit Union Cloud Myths – See the Results for Yourself

IMS offers Private Cloud Services that can help you safeguard your member data at all times, but especially when your credit union is most vulnerable. Contact IMS for more information.


6 Benefits of Offsite Data Storage

 

Colocation is one of the big players when it comes to digitizing your credit union processes and keeping your data safe and secure. Renting offsite physical space to house your data is a great disaster recovery practice, which should be a part of every credit union’s business continuity plan. Here are some of the top benefits of offsite data storage.

Business Continuity & Connectivity

Let’s start with something we already mentioned. Colocation protects your data no matter what happens to the physical locations of any credit union branches by adding redundancy to your system. That means your data is available nearly 100% of the time, ensuring near-perpetual connectivity. The chances of losing access to your data, especially with offsite backups, means your products and services are never disrupted by glitches or natural disasters.

Offsite data storage has become a necessary addition to business continuity plans considering the recent push toward expansive digital banking. 24/7 availability of services and products is something your members have come to expect from their preferred financial institutions.

Cost-Effectiveness

Taking advantage of offsite data storage has comparably low setup costs, and the fees included in maintenance are nothing compared to the guarantees it brings your credit union in terms of uninterrupted service and data loss prevention.

Flexibility

Because your system’s data is backed up in a physical location that isn’t tied to your credit union properties, you have more flexibility in your locations.

Restructuring branches, shutting locations down or adding new ones – everything is possible with offsite data storage. Tying your data backups to a separate location also means that you can optimize your own space for other purposes. No need to save rooms for extra data storage or redundancies.

Support & Service

Your credit union’s IT department already has enough to handle, with the major shifts to digital services. And your tech employees are worth more to your business when they have the resources and the time to focus on assisting members. With IMS colocation and private cloud services, you have access to data and IaaS support every hour of every day, including holidays and nontraditional hours.

Onsite and remote emergency support ensure that your data is protected and optimized, so you can get back to fulfilling your credit union’s true purpose – bringing great financial services and advice to your members.

Scalability

Just like your locations can be scaled easily when your data is stored offsite, your infrastructure and digital needs can be scaled up or back to accommodate whatever phase of growth or consolidation your credit union may be currently going through.

Maintain Control over Your Data

Offsite data storage allows for your data to be managed in a secure secondary location, but you still get to keep control over it. Take advantage if its scalability, customize your data solutions to cover your credit union’s needs, and get the support you need, no matter where or when you need it.

Make Connections, Protect Your CU Data for Good

Colocation services are a core part of your business continuity plan, and your credit union members and employees shouldn’t have to suffer when an unplanned emergency happens. Keep your data safe and your business thriving with IMS’s colocation and private cloud services.

Contact us for more information.


Tips for Increasing Member Engagement This Holiday Season

 

Before the end of September, retailers were putting out Christmas decorations. As the debate about when it’s “appropriate” to start shopping and planning for the holiday season rages, it feels worse than normal this year, and there’s a reason for that. Tons of news outlets and retailers are echoing the same sentiment: shop early this year, as the last 18 months have caused supply shortages in many industries. Here are some ways to increase member engagement this holiday season, and you should start doing them right now.

Prepaid Cards

Gift cards and cash are at the top of many people’s lists this year. Financial hardships still abound as we try to combat the global effects of the coronavirus pandemic, from supply shortages to labor shortages and more.

Prepaid cards can also be used to help your members budget for their holiday spending. They can be used in-store and online, and they can mitigate risk for users because they aren’t tied to any specific bank accounts. With more and more online scammers building websites that trick and mislead customers, the holiday season will likely see its fair share of digital fraud and theft.

The convenience and cybersecurity benefits of prepaid cards are undeniable. It’s a great way help your member start their Christmas shopping off right.

Highlight Community Outreach

Giving is a big part of the holiday season, and your credit union should take advantage of that to showcase what your branches are doing to give back to your communities.

Use your social media platforms, onsite displays, and more to bring attention to the work your credit union does to take care of the families and friends in the area. You can do this by highlighting your 2021 efforts or creating new opportunities for community outreach before and during the holidays themselves. Take up specific causes, and make sure you are vocal about them online.

Promote Employee Holiday Cheer

Don’t forget about your staff! The best way to get your members in the holiday spirit is to show the cheer your employees have. 

Take a look at your usual events and ideas. Instead of allowing your staff to dress in their holiday best for one day, you can run a fun “contest” every Friday – invite your staff to get creative with holiday themes using their wardrobes, then post the top picks on social media and have your followers vote on the one with the best “holiday spirit.” That employee could win something small like a free lunch or gift card to a local business.

There are tons of ways to highlight the holidays for more than just a week or two!

Hold Giveaways

Another way to generate member engagement and community outreach is by holding giveaways before and during the different holidays. Bolster community ties by partnering with a different business every week or every holiday. Your members will discover new community gems they weren’t familiar with, and they’ll see that your business is committed to helping bring success to all area businesses. You could offer this to current business-facing credit union members first or create a Business Spotlight program that runs through the holiday season and brings attention to area businesses that do their banking with you.

Offer Holiday-Edition Financial Management Classes

86% of millennials overspend during the holidays – and that sets them back in the new year and beyond. You could help ease these burdens by offering some financial education opportunities that are specifically tailored to learning how to budget for the holidays, shopping tips, or even financial safety tips (how to tell if a retail website is “legit,” and other helpful topics). Member engagement can come from many places, and showing that you care about the financial health of your members – especially during this time of the year when money is flowing in unusual ways – can help them see that your brand is helpful and genuine in its efforts.

Have Yourself a Credit Union Christmas – Without Data Problems

IMS offers data backup and disaster recovery solutions – the holidays are the last time of the year when you want to have data problems. Our backup services are all-inclusive, to help you get back to taking care of your members during what is sure to be an interesting and uniquely challenging holiday season.

Contact IMS for more information.


Lending Trends in 2021 & Beyond

 

The benefits of digital lending are undeniable, and as more lending services enter your members’ market, it’s crucial to be aware of the latest trends in lending. Lending programs are being offered by more than just banks and credit unions – retail giants like Amazon are continuing to expand their financial services, aiming to create all-inclusive experiences for their current and potential customers.

Let’s discuss some of the latest lending trends in 2021 and beyond.

Lending-as-a-Service

With the emergence of fintech as a means to offer cheaper and faster online options for all banking needs, creating space in the industry for Lending-as-a-Service.

Lending-as-a-Service allows companies and brands to offer transparent, user-friendly financing solutions, rather than partnering with a financial brand to do it on behalf of the brand. This has recently made waves in the online automotive retail sector.

By using APIs to tie online applications to one another, your credit union’s lending services will need to continue integrating and streamlining lending services to capture more tech-savvy members of all ages who have embraced new digital solutions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Changes in Lending Trends Due to Member Behavior

As younger generations begin taking up more market share in the lending industry, your member needs also change. For Millennials and Gen Z, generations who spent much of their childhood and adolescence in the shadow of the 2008-2009 financial crisis, avoiding debt is a top priority. And many of these people are willing to take out loans to consolidate and pay down their current debt. This means they are more debit card-forward than your credit union’s older members.

This change in member behavior comes with higher demand for offerings that provide lending opportunities with fewer features attached that also mitigate the incursion of additional debt.

Increased Solutions for Bridging Business Capital Gaps

According to FintechTris, another big shift in the lending world includes attempting to bridge the gap in business credit offerings: “Working capital loans, equipment financing, and lines of credit are now readily available for this user segment through non-bank alternatives.”

There’s also an increase in companies looking for partners willing to invest in unsecured offers. Companies are entering the lending industry by allowing borrowers to use refundable security deposits as collateral for loans, which then allows them to receive their deposit back after 6-12 months of on-time payments.

Fighting Fintechs for Market Share

Credit unions are faced with growing competition from fintechs, and the solution will have to be focused on transparency, flexibility, and peace of mind, according to CUNA.

The key to success in this changing lending climate is to leverage your credit union’s reputation and commitment to providing high-quality member experiences by creating great lending opportunities and offering sound financial advice as we move into 2022.

The Future of Your CU – Your Way

IMS knows CU-specific tech solutions the way that your credit union knows exactly what your members need – from financial advice to insight on lending trends. Let us help with your virtual desktop and private cloud needs.

Contact IMS to set up your consultation or call 888-356-6043 today to explore our solutions and services.


4 Ways to Leverage Credit Union Data

 

Credit union data is one of the best tools you have to serve your members. And data analytics are opening lots of doors for reaching select audiences and maximizing your business and marketing efforts. But like any tool, you have to know how to use it effectively. Here are four great ways to leverage credit union data.

Evaluate Your Segments

According to the Financial Brand, there are two main segmentation categories to prioritize: transactional data and behavioral data.

Transactional data, the largest for credit unions, includes everything from loan balances to account activity and can be captured through multiple channels like mobile apps, digital applications, and even in-person transactions. When assessing this data segment, it’s important to keep in mind the differences between your audiences – their preferences in transaction mediums (digital and otherwise), the breakdown of products and services being used by specific age groups, and more. If your transactional data segments aren’t producing the desired results, it might be time to re-evaluate, especially in light of the massive shift to online services since the coronavirus pandemic.

The other main segment to prioritize is behavioral data, which includes everything your members do that isn’t tied to a transaction – this includes things like spending habits, member experience touchpoints, things they need and want, and more. This data is typically captured on a customer relationship management (CRM) platform. Just like with transactional data, take a look at your current practices to see if you can better leverage your credit union data.

Understand Your Data Systems

More than just looking at the data you are collecting, you also need to understand how your data is being collected and stored. A core system is a hub for your credit union data.

As mentioned above, your digital and CRM data, which are stored in your core system, are great assets. CRM data can give you insight into current member experience trends. You can use those trends to enhance and streamline your services to accommodate them.

Digital banking data across banking institutions have been showing a huge trend upward in the use of mobile banking services. This means a large amount of your data is now digital, and it should be standard practice to analyze this data on a regular basis so you can implement new and more efficient ways to service your members.

Analyze In-Person vs. Online Behaviors

Banks, and credit unions especially, still attract a lot of in-person business. In fact, it is one of the hallmarks of successful credit unions. Using your transactional and digital data, you cannot only optimize your members’ experience, but you can also use the insights to train and inform your staff so they can transform that data into more personable, targeted experiences for your valued members.

Enhance and Assess Cross-Selling Methods

Improving cross-selling processes is a great way to better engage your current customers, a crucial process in your credit union’s business.

We found this 4-step process for improving cross-selling:

  1. Define cross-selling and measure its effectiveness: Sell more products and services to existing customers by defining the goals and areas you want to target and improve.
  2. Establish clear metrics for measuring performance: Your employees will be the primary point of access for cross-selling. Leaders or managers must clearly define the goals and performance expected.
  3. Make marketing and cross-selling communications better and clearer: Customers are savvier than ever, and your credit union’s response to this should be to increase transparency when it comes to cross-selling. You want to offer personalized campaigns and protocols to increase engagement and selling.
  4. Reward employees who perform well: Your staff wants to serve your members, and if they do an exceptional job, you should reward that. Offering cross-selling incentives for your employees can also boost the effectiveness of cross-selling programs.

Leverage IMS’s Continuous Data Protection

Get rid of complex legacy backup systems and integrate multi-system solutions, such as data orchestration and catalog management, into a single software platform. With continuous data protection from IMS, your credit union can minimize downtime, scale-up architecture and save costs.

Contact us for more information.


The Future of Credit Union Technology

 

The last year or so has become the catalyst for credit union technology growth and change, driving member services toward digital solutions faster than they have ever done before.

Streamlined service and cutting-edge digital experience is no longer a luxury for businesses, it’s a necessity. Let’s discuss the future of credit union technology.

2021 Priorities: Cloud, Data, and Analytics

Cloud, data and analytics are the top priorities this year for credit unions looking to make big changes to their member experience standards, says the Credit Union Times.

Cloud solutions are quickly becoming vital to businesses across nearly all industries, as work-from-home opportunities increase in popularity. The ease of storing data in an easily accessible place no matter your physical location is a big boon to a credit union’s tech future.

And since so much activity has moved to online platforms, data and analytics are being collected and leveraged in more useful ways. For your credit union to better serve its community, you must know who you are speaking to and working with. Analytics offer hosts of great insights that can help with everything from choosing or updating hours of operation to running multi-audience marketing campaigns.

Bridging Accessibility Gaps

Credit union technology also proves advantageous for individuals who are differently mobile and more digital-minded. By offering digital credit union solutions, you are improving the accessibility and safety of your brand. Whether your members’ ability to come into your physical branch locations stems from a handicap or illness, lack of vehicle access, pandemic restrictions, or a preference for online dealings, credit union technology offers new ways for people of all ages and from all localities the opportunity to take advantage of your membership and services.

Kirk Drake of Credit Union 2.0 says this: “In the credit unions, not that they don’t want to make money, it’s about member service, we really want to get the member value in that ecosystem and they really speak a very different language about their mission purpose, values, and what they’re trying to do.”

Preserving the Partnership

Members don’t choose credit unions for the fancy tech or big bank offerings – they do it because being part of a credit union means you have a partner for your financial life and wellbeing. While technology is changing how that partnership looks, it’s not changing the impact partnership has on the member experience.

By partnering with technology, credit unions can provide end-to-end services for their members. Multimedia resources, chat and video conferencing appointments, and so much more can be built into your digital presence, to help ensure that your credit union and its partnership with your members remain meaningful and provide quality interactions.

Contactless Trends

Pymnts.com reports that credit union members have a high desire for contactless payments. And though this trend started long before the events of 2020, due to the rapid digitization happening across all industries, 98% of POS devices being shipped out now are enabled with contactless functionality.

For CUs, this means focusing on streamlining. It also means taking the time to understand member preferences and offer personalization that suits a wide variety of member habits and requests.

Upgrade Your Credit Union Technology

Your credit union’s member experience is paramount to your success. Information Management Solutions (IMS) has years of experience providing data center services to credit unions all over the U.S., and we look forward to serving your unique needs.

IMS has virtual private cloud services and solutions like core hosting, virtual desktop, disaster recovery, and more for your credit union. Contact us today for more information.


How Can Credit Unions Prepare for Regulatory Changes?

 

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have not only changed daily life but also many industry futures. As credit unions take stock in the amazing transformations that took place in 2020, many regulatory bodies are taking a hard look at their best practices through the lens of a global crisis.

Let’s discuss how credit unions can prepare for regulatory changes.

Preparing for Regulatory Changes

Recently, Credit Union Business News featured an article by Joel Schwartz, Founder & Co-Chief Executive Officer of DoubleCheck Solutions. This article highlights the ways credit unions will be facing regulatory changes as the world moves out of the pandemic.

Many expect consumer protection and financial transparency regulations to take center stage.

Consumer Protection & Empowerment

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is waiting on a Congressional vote to institute Rohit Chopra as Director, and if that happens, consumer protection and empowerment regulations are likely to be more heavily enforced. But what does that mean?

It means more guidelines will be put forth to promote more financial transparency for consumers, thus empowering them to make better-informed decisions regarding their banking and other financial activities.

This enforcement comes on the heels of heavy amounts of class-action lawsuits being filed against credit unions. Many of these lawsuits stem from “deceptive practices in assessing non-sufficient fund (NSF) fees.

Minimizing Operations Impact

This push for financial transparency is spearheaded by a goal of providing straightforward financial services without drastically impacting credit union operations.

This push will most heavily impact language and operations surrounding things like overdraft programs, to cut out excessive fees and vague language. This change, however, could easily wipe out a credit union’s main source of non-interest income: NSF fees.

These changes would affect your core system and its operations related to checking account structure. Alerts, notifications, and fee assignments would all have to be modified to reflect more transparent and specific situations and guidelines.

Your credit union would also have to put time and labor hours into alerting your customer base about these changes – what they are, who and what they apply to, and when they take effect.

This also means employees will spend more time auditing and ensuring compliance with the new, stricter regulations.

This would also have a financial impact. Members will love paying fewer overdraft fees, but bounce fees and late payments could be steeper, which negatively affects your credit union’s bottom line.

The Good News

Credit unions can get ahead of the curve by implementing better technology that can handle these regulatory changes now. Partner with a fintech or software provider that can customize your operations surrounding NSF fees before the government starts mandating it. This will help you work out operations kinks and train your staff on the new system before you are expected to have these protocols in place. It also gives your credit union reputation a boost, positioning it as member-centric and forward-focused.

Be sure to look for a fintech or software provider that already has a solid foundation in the banking industry. Or partner with a company that has solutions tailored to credit unions specifically, like IMS.

Get Your Revamped CU Solutions from IMS

IMS can help with the tech upgrades that will make your next regulation-based transitions easier on your credit union team and your members.

IMS has virtual private cloud services and solutions like core hosting, virtual desktop, disaster recovery, and more for your credit union. Contact us today for more information.


Boost Your Credit Union Brand

 

Branding, in the information age, is hard. Because your credit union brand image doesn’t just come from you. It comes from your credit union’s interactions with every guest, affiliations with other businesses, and even its stance on social issues.

Is your credit union in need of an image upgrade? Here are some tips to boost your credit union brand.

Pump Up Your People

The most forward-facing aspect of your brand is your staff. Training your staff has to be more than just showing them how to enter data correctly and attend to customers’ needs in a timely manner. It’s about customer experience. If your credit union’s staff behave in a rote way, much like a computer program, then you aren’t boosting your brand image.

The human element of your credit union is why people want to come and do business with you. If it is absent, potential members will find easier, online-accessible options for their banking needs. The internet can’t replace your employee’s expertise and empathy when it comes to one-on-one interactions. Take a look at your team, find out what their strengths and weaknesses are. Then, address them in the way you would like your brand to be known for.

Celebrate Your Members

Everyone loves a special occasion. And the best brand marketing comes from incentivizing members and potential customers with special days. Increase visibility for your credit union by posting events or promotions centered around International Credit Union Day, International Credit Union Week, and National Credit Union Youth Week.

Finding fun and clever ways to reach out to new audiences and celebrate your credit union within a community can help boost your brand and enhance your business.

Connect with Your Community

Being community-centered is more than just sponsoring a local sports team or running promotions during the local community festivals. If you can, use your employees and your members to keep your finger on the proverbial pulse of the neighborhood you’re serving.

Learn about the fun things people like to do in the area. Find out what the latest news is about the local high school sports teams or band competitions. Run polls and surveys to see what kinds of events, ideas, and services your community would like to see more of. Don’t just contribute to the community – make your credit union a part of its fabric.

Ditch the Inauthentic Brand Efforts

Not all brand efforts are created equal. Check the example in this article about how KFC tried to partner with Susan G Komen (a prominent breast cancer-focused non-profit), though recent studies showed fried chicken could contribute to cancer.

Make sure to do your research on what community causes and national charities would be a good fit for your credit union. Just because Make a Wish or Doctors Without Borders are huge, recognizable charities don’t mean it makes sense to tie your brand to theirs.

Take strategic approaches to each partnership and charitable effort to boost your brand in ways that can truly showcase your credit union’s mission, vision, and values.

Put Your Credit Union in the Cloud

Just like you want your brand to be unmistakable, IMS wants to tailor its data and security services to better protect your credit union and its data assets.

IMS has virtual private cloud services and solutions like core hosting, virtual desktop, disaster recovery, and more for your credit union. Contact us today for more information.


The Benefits of Embracing Digital Lending

 

Digital banking trends are continuing to gain momentum as pandemic measures remain and customer preferences shift. And as these trends grow, they also expand to include more products and services. Enter digital lending.

Digital lending is the migration of most or all of the lending and loan origination process to online and mobile platforms. Gone are the days when customers went from bank to bank, trying to convince one to give them a loan. Customers are savvier – they want to compare financial institutions’ rates and policies online to find what they believe is the best deal. And right now, auto loans are seeing a big increase – mostly due to online loan process availability.

Digitizing the loan process allows your credit union to offer a straightforward, user-friendly process for applying for and receiving loans. Here are some of the benefits of embracing digital lending.

Enhanced Member Experience

When it comes to big decisions, consumers take their search to Google first. They want to see if your credit union has what they need before they ever call or step foot in one of your branch offices.

Often, when a potential customer can’t find what they need on your website, they move on to the next business in their search results, and you’ve lost that customer before you even knew they were there. Creating and integrating digital lending into your credit union’s repertoire allows you to meet customers where they are and give them a valuable online resource.

Many banking customers want to keep their business local to the community. While big banks have always had the advantage when it comes to implementing new technology, credit unions offer a more personalized, local service that people are craving. And opening new digital avenues for business can also improve your credit union’s positioning in your local and regional markets.

Improved Efficiency

By embracing digital lending, you can also improve the efficiency of your process, which in turn creates quicker turnaround times and more business for your credit union.

Allowing your customers to serve themselves relieves some of the burden from your employees and creates more time and availability for them to perform other duties.

Increased Analytics

Digital lending also improves many back-end experiences. The software used to create these online loan opportunities can also often create insightful reports and offer helpful analytics.

These resources can assist in your strategic and marketing efforts as well. You will have the ability to tailor your efforts to make a bigger impact on your members and your community.

Digital Lending Is a Staple of the Future of Banking

Self-service and online banking came to the forefront of customer service in 2020. What began as a necessary shift to accommodate social distancing and mitigate the spread of germs only accelerated the timeline for banks and especially credit unions to catapult their offerings into the digital realm.

To stay relevant and competitive, it’s important for your credit union to continue to focus on forward-thinking, online and mobile-based solutions so you can continue to grow your business and better serve your members. The transformation of banking was kick-started by a pandemic, but the momentum won’t be wasted by any enterprising business that wants to be a part of that future.

Digital Solutions for the Future of Banking

We know how important it is to safeguard your member data, especially as you continue to offer more online products and services. Having cloud-based backups housed offsite is a great way to ensure the integrity of your files and give you and your staff peace of mind.

IMS has virtual private cloud services and solutions like core hosting, virtual desktop, disaster recovery, and more for your credit union. Contact us today for more information.


Business Continuity Planning Best Practices

 

We’ve talked previously on our blog about the difference between credit union disaster recovery and business continuity planning. A business continuity plan (BCP) is a series of protocols created to make sure an organization can keep operating during a disaster, and a disaster recovery plan is often a subset of the BCP that specifically plans for recovering lost data and restoring failed infrastructure. But no one could have guessed when we wrote that article in the fall of 2019 that we would have such an unprecedented year in 2020.

Here are some business continuity planning best practices for your credit union.

The Evolution of Business Continuity Planning

Originally, business continuity planning was created to focus on how businesses could plan ahead for natural disasters and similar events – fire, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc. – but it quickly evolved to include cyber events – hackers, file corruption, system bugs, and the like.

Today, business continuity planning is more about assessing threats and risks and creating comprehensive protocols for increasingly complex businesses.

It’s become more about gap analysis and protecting your business than creating a step-by-step plan to merely react to issues that come up.

Document Core Functions – Focus on Details

This may seem like a no-brainer, but one of the first steps to creating a workable and comprehensive business continuity plan is to document the core functions of your credit union. These are the services that are central to your business’s success and that will have the greatest impact on that business, should something happen to your facilities, staff, equipment, or networks.

It’s also important to document the resources that will be required to fill these business functions and roles. The more detailed you can make your plans, the more prepared you will be in the event of a business interruption.

Mature Your Business Continuity Plan

Maturing your business continuity plan is just as important as creating it. Think of it like this: you have to have fire extinguishers inspected and replaced when they expire, right? The same is true for your BCP.

In this digital age, technology changes and upgrades so swiftly that it’s easy to become fatigued trying to keep up. But with business continuity planning, having an outdated plan is just as bad – if not worse – than having no plan at all.

Be sure to review and test your BCP on a regular basis. This means testing and working through all facets of the plan, not just a few items. Practice makes perfect, and spending quality time ensuring your plan is still effective can save you a lot of headaches later.

Develop a Communication Strategy

This goes hand in hand with the last point. Your plan is only as good as the people executing it, so frequent testing and practice drills are great ways to develop helpful and effective communication strategies before you need them.

Taking the time to educate your staff about business continuity planning is a great way to instill these ideas in the company culture, and to smooth out communication issues early on.

Have Offsite, Cloud-Based Backups

We know how important it is to safeguard your member data, especially when disaster strikes. Having cloud-based backups housed offsite is a great way to ensure the integrity of your files without having to worry about the what-ifs.

IMS has virtual private cloud services and solutions like core hosting, virtual desktop, disaster recovery, and more for your credit union. Contact us today for more information.