2023 Credit Union Cybersecurity Predictions

 

As technology advances, so does the need for heightened credit union cybersecurity measures. When it comes to cybersecurity, credit unions must stay up to date with the latest threats in order to keep their members safe and secure.

As the world of technology continues to evolve, so do the challenges of keeping our data secure. Credit unions in particular face a unique set of cybersecurity threats that must be anticipated and prepared for. We will discuss how credit unions can leverage digital transformation to protect themselves and their members from malicious cyberattacks as well as explore emerging technologies that may be used to combat potential threats.

In this article, we will take a look at what experts predict are some of the major credit union cybersecurity predictions for 2023.

Credit Union Cybersecurity Will Be a Top Risk Management Concern

According to a recent NCUA article, the top 4 risk factors affecting the financial industry in 2023 include interest rate risk, liquidity risk due to inflation concerns, credit risk due to housing and loan market concerns, and cybersecurity risks due to geopolitical issues and growing dynamic threats.

In July 2022, NCUA approved a rule that requires credit unions to notify NCUA no later than 72 hours after they reasonably believe a reportable cyber incident has occurred. They have created and optimized their ACET (Automated Cybersecurity Evaluation Toolbox) and offer many free resources and checklists to credit unions aiming to adjust and evaluate risk management concerns for the new year.

“Passwordless” Solutions Are at the Forefront of Financial Cybersecurity Solutions

“Passwordless” solutions like MFA (multi-factor authentication) will continue to be a powerful tool in every credit union’s cybersecurity best practices toolkit. As the use of cloud computing and hybrid work and customer service solutions rises, so does the need to ensure all data, no matter where it is stored or sent, is protected by more than a password.

Password auto-fill options like the Google Smart Lock system continue to be popular in both personal and professional settings, and that can create rifts in security. But with MFA, those rifts can often be closed or avoided completely due to the hacker’s need to have more access and devices in order to complete the authentication process.

Because apps and cloud usage have exponentially expanded the attack surface for credit unions, these new technologies require advanced solutions that look much different than the ones that previously governed in-house servers and networks.

Phishing & Email Attacks Among Top Cybersecurity Threats for 2023

A recent article from Forbes outlines the top 5 scams that businesses should be watching for in 2023. They include:

  • Business email compromise (BEC): this includes the use of fake email accounts to harbor or spread threatening software and includes phishing attempts, ransomware, and more.
  • Malware and Ransomware: due to the current geopolitical climate surrounding the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, many political cybersecurity experts believe Russia will use its resources to continue launching ransomware attacks against those governments and entities that do not agree with its current political agenda.
  • Crypto Scams and “pig butchering” scams: Named for the phrase “raising a pig for slaughter,” these attacks start with a friendly message that entices the recipient to create an online relationship with the sender (hacker). As that trust grows, the hacker will then start questioning the recipient about their interests in crypto in an effort to get them to buy into a website that is reputed to have made someone a lot of money, only for that crypto to be stolen from the recipient’s accounts.
  • Cybercrime cash-out process innovation: This is an evolving scam that started with hackers and bad actors asking unsuspecting and uneducated individuals to send gift cards or cryptocurrency in an effort to get around the “cash-out,” where payments that surpass $10,000 and other high-value transactions can be tracked and flagged for suspicious activity.
  • Scamming as a Service: Virtual marketplaces in underground websites are creating and selling end-to-end services that “enable low-skill threat actors to fill their carts and pay with crypto,” Forbes says. These services include full sets of stolen credentials, ready-to-deploy ransomware, phishing, other attacks, and more. Even the bad guys love a good package deal.

Multi-Year Strategic Plans Work Best for Cybersecurity Success

Because cybersecurity threats are ever-changing, credit union and financial industry leaders must be prepared to put their money and their time into multi-year strategic plans. Cybersecurity is a complex beast, and everything and everyone that interacts with a network can create potential threat opportunities.

A mix of internal and external threats are often already beginning to make their way through secure areas, files, and devices throughout the year, and an improvement in key performance metrics, like a decrease in ransomware or phishing attempts, is no reason to ease off or to decrease your institution’s budget for cybersecurity personnel, services, and software.

Organizations with Cybersecurity Network Architecture Will Reduce Financial Security Costs By 90%

Does that sound too good to be true? It’s a certainty by 2024, according to Gartner’s cybersecurity predictions for 2023-2025. Those organizations that switch to a more holistic cybersecurity approach that encompasses not just their devices and network, but all technology that has access to or is integrated with it, are expected to see a 90% reduction in the final costs of security incidents.

Credit union cybersecurity threats are serious and should be caught early to minimize damage and data theft. That’s why IMS offers Polaris Radar, an anomaly detection software that enables your system to recover more quickly and easily from an attack on your credit union network security. Don’t get caught unawares, especially when your members’ personal and financial information may hang in the balance.


Banking Trends: Digital Credit Union Services Poised to Dominate in 2023

 

Just as 2022 was poised to increase stability and purchasing power after a few years of pandemic-fueled volatility, we saw record highs in inflation rates, as well as ongoing labor and supply shortages.

With this potential for continued turmoil as we move into the new year, we wanted to talk about some of the banking trends we see gearing up for a big year in 2023. From multi-cloud banking to analytics and other technology upgrades, here are some of the most touted digital credit union services poised to dominate in the coming months.

Application Modernization & Repatriation

The last several years have brought about a renaissance for credit unions to suddenly have embraced more modern digital solutions and technology. The use of apps is not a new practice, but the digital credit union services that are being hosted or run through these apps may have changed drastically for your credit union since 2020.

And the theme for 2023 in digital banking trends seems to be “renewal.”

Many credit unions and financial institutions are heading back to those recent digital upgrades and auditing or augmenting them for their current member needs. Many technologies were implemented hastily, in an as-is fashion. “We’ll go back after the pandemic and improve them,” we said.

Now is that time. Are your credit union apps and other digital services optimized for 2023? There are several ways to examine this.

The first is to take a look at how many updates have been pushed through to those technologies and what those updates were for: did you improve usability? Security? Have you fixed any bugs or slow-loading pages in these online or mobile solutions? Now’s the time to take a look at what value your newly implemented technologies still hold for your members.

A 2022 report showed that 99% of financial services organizations are modernizing apps in the next year.

Another app-focused trend in regard to digital credit union services includes app repatriation. App repatriation (and cloud repatriation as a whole) is the practice of reclaiming apps (or other data and software) from a public cloud and putting it back onto local servers.

This is being done partially due to rising costs in cloud computing and software, and also because these apps perform more efficiently when hosted on local networks instead. Though there are several drivers in the move to repatriate apps, it’s continuing to gain momentum as an industry practice as we head into 2023.

Multi-Cloud Banking

As some financial institutions are moving certain data and apps out of the cloud, many others are working through the kinks that come with multi-cloud banking integration.

Data privacy and accessibility are the main drivers for the move to multi-cloud banking. With a multi-cloud approach, your credit union can benefit from vendor diversification, improved performance, and cutting-edge updates and capabilities.

According to Data Science Central, the top benefits of multi-cloud banking include:

  • Operational consistency
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Data security
  • Adaptability

Balancing Security & Performance

The importance of maintaining great cybersecurity solutions for your credit union as well as optimizing member performance can sometimes leave your CU’s leaders feeling like this is one balancing act that you can’t ever get 100% right.

As we move into the new year, digital credit union services are being audited for their security and their user-friendliness, though these two practices are often at odds with each other.

Two-factor authentication is always going to be safer than using a simple username and password, but it also makes the member experience a bit more frustrating. Straddling both worlds is tough, but digital transformation is all about creating forward momentum with the best digital solutions. In fact, one-third of decision-makers in the banking industry say they would trade some of their security for a small (less than 25%) increase in performance for member-facing technology!

Implementing low-friction tools like IMS’s backup, disaster recovery, and compliance solutions can help keep your vulnerabilities low and your members happy with their low-friction experience.

Emphasis on Analytics

If data is the key, then analytics is the house that it unlocks. There are tons of possibilities for insights and growth in each data set, depending on how you choose to arrange and analyze it.

There are tons of digital credit union services that would benefit from your own credit union’s deep dive into what your member and operations data can tell you. Big banks can often follow larger trends with ease, but your CU’s member base may have specific needs that aren’t being met – you may be literally sitting on opportunities that you haven’t discovered yet – and they’re just hidden in your data, waiting.

Advanced analytical tools can assist you with data discovery, compliance, visualization, and more. There are many data opportunities that can be turned into profitable insights, help you streamline your internal reporting, improve lending assessment processes and accuracy, and even identify more risk indicators.

You can improve your credit union’s loan performance by leveraging industry insights with the data from loans you are approving, collecting on, and rejecting.

Up Your Analytics Game for the New Year with Data Discovery from IMS

Simply possessing data doesn’t help your credit union. Your ability to analyze and interpret that data, however, can offer a comprehensive and insightful look into member behaviors, issues, and preferences.

IMS offers data discovery help through the IMS DataArchiver, a data management system delivered as a SaaS solution for your New Year’s goals. It offers on-premise and IMS cloud storage, ransomware protection, data compression and de-duplication, all within a customizable, user-friendly UI.

A new year often means new technology opportunities. What are you waiting for? Reach out to us today!


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!


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.


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!


Optimizing Your Credit Union’s IT Department

 

IT professionals are the unsung heroes of the massive remote work migration of 2020. Now that we are settling into a new normal, it’s time to turn that optimizing eye to the technological solutions and processes that are taking place in your credit union’s IT department.

The Credit Union Times has a great article about outsourcing your credit union’s cybersecurity. We wanted to include some benefits and helpful takeaways that can ease the burden of your IT department without outsourcing all of it.

Virtual Desktop

An easy way to optimize your IT offerings right now is through a virtual desktop. Each of your staff members is likely trying to figure out which issues should be Googled and which should be addressed by a member of the IT department.

A virtual desktop is a cloud-hosted desktop, which means that it benefits end-users and IT staff. It creates superior user experience and unified desktop and application access, as well as a no-compromise, fully customizable desktop experience. For IT professionals, it offers a solution that is lower cost, enterprise integration, simplified management, and extended credentials and security policies.

Offsite Data Storage

The autumn season creates a perfect storm, literally. Between the wildfires that started in California in August, Atlantic hurricane season, and seasonal thunderstorms – there are plenty of reasons why storing a backup of your credit union’s data offsite is an essential part of both disaster planning and business continuity planning.

No matter what plans you have for data backup, diversity and security should be top priorities. You want cloud backup services that work, dependable restores, and data at your fingertips.

Core Hosting Help

Finding and maintaining knowledgeable staff to manage and operate your credit union’s core system is a difficult task. We at IMS have a Hybrid Core Service that allows your IT team to decide how much or little we help with maintaining that core system. Delegating some of that core system work to IMS can free up your IT professionals to work on crucial staff requests or customer technologies.

Credit Union Cybersecurity Expertise

Outsourcing your cybersecurity can take the pressure off your own IT department, but the back and forth could create more problems than it solves. You and your credit union deserve a partner, a team that works with your IT staff to make sure your members and their financial, personal, and transactional information are safe.

Why Optimize Your Credit Union’s IT Now?

One of the things credit union members need right now, in these uncertain times, is increased peace of mind, hope for relief, and a reduction of stress. Your IT department can help them immensely with that in their financial lives. But as more and more IT teams report being overwhelmed and buried in implementing and maintaining all these new COVID-related solutions, your customers’ needs may start falling through the cracks.

Redistributing some of that work can free up your IT staff to provide crucial support to those who need it most: your staff and your members.

IMS Can Secure Your Data

IMS is your home for virtual private cloud services.

Contact us to find out how you can enhance member experience with our core hosting, virtual desktop, and disaster recovery tools.


Ways to Upgrade Your Credit Union Technology Solutions

 

COVID-19 has likely changed the way the world interacts with its banks forever. If your credit union technology solutions are not upgraded and optimized, you are missing some big opportunities.

The Credit Union System COVID-19 Restart and Recovery Task Force has been working hard to gather and release new insights for credit unions “regarding business continuity, digital services and automation, staffing and operations, and industry financial impact,” according to CUNA.

Let’s go through some ways you can upgrade your credit union technology solutions.

Optimizing Drive-Thrus

Previously, credit unions tried to encourage customers to perform certain transactions inside the building versus in the drive-thru lines.

Now, these same CUs are encouraging customers to perform the lion’s share of their business from the drive-thru and ATM. While certain customers will always prefer visiting a physical location, it’s still wise to train and inform CU staff of the benefits and changes being made to accommodate more transactions via the drive-thru.

When customers come into your credit union, having well-informed staff members relay changes in drive-thru policy to customers and encourage safer banking practices can be a welcome alternative for those who are unaware of these new developments.

Protecting Brick-and-Mortar Customers

Some technology solutions are aimed at the physical experience of your credit union rather than your CU’s website or banking app.

Credit Union Business News offers a few different options. Infrared mirrors are a way for your customers’ temperatures to be checked without the assistance of one of your staff members. Employee surveys and guidelines for travel and reporting symptoms or potential contact with the coronavirus can also mitigate risks and widespread exposure if and when it happens.

Density sensors and mobile check-in can help monitor traffic in your facility. Density sensors keep track of the flow of people in and out of your building, which eliminates the need for repurposing a staff member’s role to include tracking the number of people entering and exiting.

Mobile check-ins are another great way to keep the lobby from getting overpopulated. Credit unions can utilize existing services or create their own tailored protocol for having members check in using a mobile device, minimizing exposure, and keeping in-house time to a minimum.

New Digital Offerings Are Essential

In the last seven months, credit unions have been juggling some big changes, on the digital and physical fronts. At physical locations, whole areas had to be reorganized to accommodate social distancing guidelines and new sanitization practices.

While these issues were disruptive early on, many credit unions now have the hang of these new in-house protocols.

But, like with most things in the digital world, moving core functions from in-person to online in a time-sensitive large-scale effort is not going to happen without missteps.

Credit unions – like all COVID-era businesses hoping to survive – are adding more and more digital solutions to their repertoire. Not only are these digital solutions safer amidst the pandemic, but they’re also extremely convenient for customers who are now trying to juggle work, school, and relaxation in one place – at home.

That means the more options for online and mobile service, the better. Faster access to funds is essential, says this article about a new PSCU white paper called “Fast Access, Fast Payments”

Examples of New Solutions

There are thousands of unique credit union technology solutions that will optimize your customers’ experience. We’ve gathered some examples of new offerings from different CUs in the US.

As mentioned above, the PSCU white paper mentions some key topics for adoption like enabling receipt of real-time deposits, immediate card issuance, consumer protections, preparation for FedNow, and more.

Credit unions can boost technology adoption in members by partnering with tech-savvy institutions that are equipped to train your customers on the ins and outs of your mobile app or website offerings.

The Zoom boom can help your credit union, too. Many members prefer to deal with a real person, and video conferencing and meetings can maintain that human element and highlight excellent customer service, all while keeping your staff and your members safe and healthy.

IMS Solutions for You

IMS is your home for virtual private cloud services.

Contact us to find out how you can enhance and upgrade your credit union technology solutions


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.