4 Ways the Great Resignation Impacts Cybersecurity Concerns

 

There had been a lot of talk about the impact of the Great Resignation, and much of it centers around hiring practices, salary negotiations, and employee retention and turnover. But there are residual effects stemming from these mass resignations, and some of the most important effects involve your cybersecurity operations.

Let’s talk about some of the biggest ways the Great Resignation is impacting cybersecurity concerns, and what your organization should be doing about it.

High Employee Turnover = Higher Data Loss

Data loss is always a concern after a resignation. Some of it is intentional – employees take data out of spite or even to use at their next job. But there are also many instances where data is lost simply because the former employee didn’t store the data properly – they stored it on their work computer rather than in the shared files or department-specific locations, or maybe they were using a personal device to have work conversations or store other important data.

This data can be used to sabotage a previous employer or to gain an advantage over a new employer. Workplace culture is changing, and because younger generations are tech-savvy by the time they hit middle school, your data can be shared, copied, or destroyed very easily by a disgruntled employee, or even just by a former worker who was unaware their personal computer has the only copy of certain files. Safeguarding your data and teaching your staff to use and store it in the proper place and through proper channels can help mitigate this risk.

Because of these increased data cybersecurity concerns, your credit union should be using the best data access practices. The primary component of these practices should be reviewing the access your current and former employees have or had and making sure they only have necessary access moving forward.

When you do this, think about how each employee’s role and responsibilities have changed during their time at your credit union. Maybe they needed a higher level of access to member account details when they were in more of a customer service role, but now that they are running your marketing campaigns, that access is no longer necessary.

The Cybersecurity Industry Isn’t Immune to the Great Resignation

Another reason the Great Resignation is creating cybersecurity concerns is that the cybersecurity industry is also affected by these mass exoduses. Many cybersecurity professionals have also left their positions in the last few years.

Being short-staffed in the IT department also puts your credit union at risk of attack. Things can fall through the cracks; your former employees could negatively impact your system (either intentionally or unintentionally).

Because the stress of the pandemic affected certain professional roles and industries, like cybersecurity, at a higher rate, many employees are leaving the field. And when hundreds or even thousands of IT professionals leave the industry, it increases the threat to businesses from outside sources that are also aware of the shortages.

This decrease in cybersecurity team numbers also means your response to threats will likely be slower and less effective. No operations run as smoothly or efficiently when you are missing team members. That’s why it’s important to start thinking about how you want to invest your credit union’s IT budget – IMS has a host of services that can fill in the gaps left by employees resigning.

Remote Work Increases Risks

Remote work is more common than ever before, and that means more cybersecurity risk for your credit union.

While it may be nice not to have the responsibility of purchasing and maintaining a remote worker’s devices, that also means you can’t control where or how your data is stored and used, especially once that employee has resigned.

Remote workers are also working from a variety of different servers and networks – home, local coffee shops or libraries, etc. And this means your data and systems are being exposed to more varied risks. You also can’t control the security parameters on these employees’ home networks in the same way that you can monitor and improve your in-house network and servers.

Gaps between Employees and Tech

More and more organizations are increasing their IT and cybersecurity budgets, and this has been exacerbated by the COVID pandemic and the Great Resignation. Now is the time to create the structure and strategy that we didn’t have time for during the first days of the pandemic.

When your credit union evaluates its cybersecurity spending, it’s important to ensure that your technology purchases are compatible with your workforce.

You can implement the newest and best technology in the world, but if you don’t do so with a strategy and a timeline in place to help you and your employees work through the transitions successfully, you are wasting valuable resources.

Process management should be a priority when implementing new technology, especially amid mounting cybersecurity concerns. Your staff needs to know how and when to use these new tools, so they aren’t creating new gaps in your digital defenses.

Offload Some Data Security Expenses by Partnering with IMS and Its IaaS Solutions

Maintaining high-level success in your credit union’s business operations during a time of high turnover and increasing employee recruiting and retention expenses mean you will need to decrease your costs elsewhere.

That’s where IMS comes in. With our Infrastructure-as-a-Service package, you can pay as you go and create a customized service that includes:

  • Maintained access to your applications during disasters and outages
  • Decrease expenses by only paying for what you need
  • Free up your team to focus on expansion, or employee recruitment and retention
  • Leave the troubleshooting and software upgrading to IMS and increase your credit union’s stability, reliability, and supportability
  • Improved peace of mind – IMS has you covered, through any cybersecurity issues and all your employee changes

Growth-Driven Marketing Ideas for CUs in 2022

 

There are dozens of reasons credit unions run marketing campaigns. Your board of directors could be having you focus on increasing current member engagement, introducing new products or services, and overall growth.

Many credit unions are focusing on a growth-driven marketing track as we move through 2022. Now that businesses, suppliers, and global economies are slowly recovering as we get further and further from the worst days of the coronavirus pandemic, we can focus on recouping some of that growth and expansion time that we lost over the last two years.

In that spirit, our team here at IMS wanted to share some growth-driven marketing ideas and strategies for credit unions to use before the year is up.

Break Down Silos & Create a Holistic Marketing Strategy

In a recent episode of the CUNA News Podcast, James Gilbert shared his thoughts on the importance of using your data and assets to create a unified front when it comes to growth-driven marketing strategies.

When it comes to creating a marketing strategy, many credit unions use a top-down approach, where the board of directors or executive staff share their plans and goals. While this is a great start, certain initiatives will take priority over others, and that means the resources used to successfully market your credit union will be divided unevenly.

This is a good thing! If you are focusing your credit union marketing on increasing the number of loans, there should be efforts from other sectors within your CU that are also supporting that. Your social media and credit card usage personnel will need to create cohesive messaging that speaks to your current goals.

In a perfect world, growth happens across all channels – you increase the number of members, loans, credit cards, savings accounts, etc. all at once. But because trends in personal financial management change rapidly, your marketing strategy must account for those things too.

Embracing Omnichannel Solutions

In today’s vastly connected digital landscape, omnichannel communication is crucial to your growth-driven marketing.

Omnichannel marketing means your credit union brand is reaching members and prospects through multiple communication channels, which can include text, social media, phone calls, email, print ads, and video assets.

Giving your members access to you via multiple touchpoints can help you reach a more diverse crowd – they’ll feel comfortable using their preferred methods to interact with your brand, rather than having to go out of their way to download new apps or create new user accounts on separate platforms to enjoy your content and services.

Focus on Personalization

Today, consumers – whether they’re shopping for a pair of shoes or a new home – are looking for solutions that fit them – personalization is a great way to take your credit union marketing to the next level and reach more people.

Think of marketing your credit union the way you’d market a home – every home has unique offerings, and every buyer is looking for certain features in the home they want to purchase.

The same is true in any B2C relationship – your credit union has to show each member that you are here to solve their specific problems and offer personalized products, services, and assistance.

Personalization can also be automated – you can create campaigns just for those members who are looking for a car loan, or who recently opened a checking account or signed up for your credit card. Rather than a generic “Thanks for doing business with us!” message, you can tailor print materials, emails, and chat messages to include specific details and insights about where they are in their personal financial journey.

Cross-Promotion, Not Cross-Posting

Your credit union marketing might include a host of different platforms, tools, and social media accounts. And each of these platforms should be seen as unique, just like your members are unique. When your members log onto their social media accounts and apps, they have different goals with each one.

And your growth-driven marketing campaigns should take this into account. Cross-promotion is the act of taking similar marketing content or messages and tailoring them to the platform you are featuring them on. Many credit unions and other businesses make the mistake of posting the exact same things across all their public platforms – this is called cross-posting.

And while cross-posting does get your brand out there and on people’s feeds, it’s not serving each platform effectively.

An in-depth LinkedIn post about how to prevent credit card fraud, for example, should be created with a much different message than an Instagram or Twitter post. Though this seems like it should be common knowledge, social media marketing is time-consuming, and it will often feel easier to create one message and one graphic, and then share them across your CU’s accounts.

But if your credit union marketing strategies are aimed toward member growth, cross-promotion can make each post on each platform that much more powerful!

As Your CU Grows, So Does Your Data – IMS Data Discovery Solutions Can Help

With credit union growth comes the growth of your data as well. But storage is only half the battle because the data you collected has significant value. It can help you understand your members and your business operations more comprehensively.

Many growth-driven marketing strategies rely on data and analytics to create targeted campaigns intended to reach the best audience for your business while offering your members and prospects content that they view as valuable.

The IMS DataArchiver is a great tool for managing and storing your data efficiently without breaking the bank. This SaaS solution can save up to 80% of primary data storage costs while still protecting your data from ransomware and other threats, giving you built-in data comprehension, deduplication, and visualization tools.

Anyone at your credit union may access the DataArchiver through a secure portal that includes full-text search capabilities, audit trails, and more.

Use your data and IMS’s private cloud solutions to work smarter, not harder this year. 


3 Benefits of Data Discovery

 

Like any business, a credit union’s data is an important asset for its operations. But if you don’t have the ability or expertise to analyze that data and use it effectively, you’re just sitting in a library waiting for the books to teach you something without you ever opening one.

Data discovery is the process of analyzing your credit union’s data using visual aids and other tools that can help those in your business who are less technologically inclined understand the insights housed within that collection of data. The insights gleaned from good data discovery can help your credit union’s bottom line and your employee performance, and even member satisfaction.

There are many reasons why data discovery is essential to the growth and success of your credit union operations. Let’s talk about some of the biggest benefits of data discovery for your credit union.

You Can Better Understand Your Credit Union Data Logistics

One of the top benefits of data discovery is the knowledge you, your employees, and even your board of Directors will gain on the logistics of your credit union data.

Much like the concept of “the Internet,” how, why, and where your data is stored and used can be a difficult concept to grasp, even though you are likely using or interacting with that data every day.

With data discovery, you can understand where all your different data types are stored and who has access to them. This aids in security matters, as well as productivity. One of the easiest ways to lose momentum in a work environment is to not have the tools or resources you need to complete your tasks.

You can also know which data is being transmitted, how it’s being moved around, and over which channels in your technology network. Data quality starts with data inventory, and a good data discovery tool can help with both of those things.

Data Discovery Reduces Inconsistencies Caused by Multiple Information Silos

Your credit union likely stores and shares information across multiple information silos. Think of it as a filing cabinet system. While the information in these silos may be organized, they aren’t all housed in the same data unit.

These information silos can create serious data issues as you try to aggregate the data you have stored across them all. Inconsistencies in your systems can lead to issues with duplicate information, incorrect versions of dated data, and more. The ability to reconcile these information silos and the data within them is important to your credit union when it comes to keeping data up to date and consistent.

This is even more true now that we are in the age of remote work. If your information silos don’t sync up, you could have staff members or credit union members working off old or incorrect data.

Competitive Advantage Comes from Data-Driven Approaches

The biggest benefits of data discovery come from the competitive advantages you can glean from good data. The days of blanket marketing ads that target whole regions – and even countries – are long gone.

Your approach to data discovery is one of the most valuable tools you can use to grow your credit union member base, offer targeted and high-demand products and services, and teach your staff how to meet the needs of your members and the greater community.

Much like the data housed in information silos must be pulled together, so must your data discovery tool enable you to find the insights that help your credit union operations improve.

In many businesses, certain departments know more (or less) about different initiatives and workflows than others. When this occurs, your operations can lose productivity and even credit union members as you try to hunt down the data and insights you need to form a clear picture of your next steps. Data discovery is a great way to close those gaps in your data analysis.

Data discovery helps drive your understanding of your credit union’s competitive advantages. When you’re able to look at the big picture your full range of data makes, you can create solutions that not only benefit your credit union’s business but can also create differentiators in your market. Data discovery is what positions credit unions to better service specific people and communities than big banks and universal automation do.

IMS Data Archiver: The Key to CU Data Discovery Done Right

The IMS Data Archiver is a powerful data discovery tool that has been tailored to credit union needs. Simple and cost-effective, IMS Data Archiver can save you up to 80% of your primary storage costs, reduce backup times, and can help you manage unlimited file servers in a distributed environment with zero end-user disruption.

This tool includes several powerful tools, a few of which are:

  • Ransomware protection
  • Data life cycle management
  • Built-in data visualization tools
  • Multi-remote site management
  • Data compliance and e-discovery tools
  • Data compression and de-duplication

Check out the data discovery tool and other IMS protection and compliance services on our website or give us a call today.


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.


How to Hire Credit Union Employees in 2021

 

2021 is the year of the employee. In the current job market, hiring and retaining entry-level – and even management and other professional-level – employees is a struggle. This has become a trend for a few reasons. So how do you hire credit union employees in 2021? We have collected some resources and tips for you.

First, the COVID-19 pandemic saw a lot of US government aid being passed out to workers who had been laid-off or found themselves unemployed as a result of shutdowns and government shelter-in-place mandates. And secondly, the pandemic also shed light on many Americans’ priorities, causing them to leave certain jobs to focus more on searching for more fulfilling or career-driven opportunities. 

Guerrilla Strategies for Finding Talent

Right now, 42% of business owners surveyed by the National Federation of Independent Business said they have job openings they could not fill. CUManagement recently published an article that outlines five guerilla tactics for finding employees in a tough market.

  1. Become a sales team. CUManagement says, “Your human resources department needs to start functioning as a sales team.” Create a prospect list – you can even include former employees who you’d like to have come back into the fold. Recruiting should always be a priority, even when you are fully staffed. Things are changing much more rapidly for employers these days, and you want to be ahead of the curve when it comes to hiring.
  2. Engage your team. Some of your best recruiting opportunities are just one degree of separation away. Your employees are the best resources for finding reliable talent in the area. You can encourage, or even incentivize them, to help find new hires. And don’t forget to listen to them: they have the first-hand experience of your hiring process, and they likely have some great insights into the areas you can improve to attract more or better prospects.
  3. Spotlight your culture. Job applicants are looking for a place where they enjoy working. The more you showcase that in your advertising channels – social media, websites, job descriptions, etc. – the more prospects will want to engage with your credit union.
  4. Get outside the box. Your list of requirements for any given position should not be a hard and fast standard by which you judge every applicant. If an applicant has little in the way of credit union experience but may have other supplementary experiences that could speak to their ability to learn how to successfully do the job you need, it’s good to consider them for at least an interview.
  5. Clarify your purpose. Your credit union’s purpose can be the tipping point for applicants. Just like your culture, your business’s purpose should be evaluated to reflect your commitments to specific non-profits and the community you serve. This philanthropic focus can show your prospect pool that your business is serious about its mission.

Address Current Concerns

CareerPlug’s article on changing the way you hire in 2021 deals with some harsh truths.

The first thing you have to compete with is the historically low wages that certain industries have been paying people in the past, which won’t work for many job seekers – because they hold most of the power in this labor market.

If you are firm in the wages you want to pay for your open positions, you could consider adjusting other compensation packages or benefits. For example, schools and childcare disruptions have caused many women to pivot from looking for work to being stay-at-home moms for the time being. Having options available or expanding childcare services to your staff could gain your credit union a lot of traction and engagement with women who have young children.

Another hot topic is remote work – many employees found out in the last year that the jobs they’ve been told must be done in the office are actually able to be done remotely. This flexibility has quickly become a standard discussion point in new hire negotiations.

And don’t forget – the global pandemic is still very serious and scary for many people. Concerns of cleanliness and updated sick time policies are worth mentioning in your open position descriptions.

Help Employees Manage from Anywhere with Virtual Desktops

Virtual desktops and apps enable your credit union to deliver virtual workspaces to end-users – including full Windows client desktops, shared desktops, and hosted apps – as a monthly subscription service.

Contact IMS for more information.


Lessons for Future Credit Union Leaders

 

New leaders learn from experience, education, and the leaders who came before them. And as credit unions grow and change to keep up with the demands of members all over the country, we thought we would take a break from focusing on the future to look back on the lessons that credit union leaders have learned.

Experience + Tech = Success

In a piece titled “Shaping the Future of Our Movement,” Jim Nussle (president and CEO of Credit Union National Association) shared some of the leadership insights he’s gathered over his many years working in the credit union industry.

Credit unions are often seen as “old-school” in the way they do business. But it’s that tried and true, exceptional member experience that sets credit unions above big bans, especially for younger members.

Speaking on this, Nussle said, “I’m far from cutting edge when it comes to technology, but our next generation of leaders was born into a mobile-enabled world, coming of age as the smartphone transformed our lives. It’s that digital-savvy which will lead our businesses and our movement into the future.”

Diversity and the Pursuit of Financial Wellbeing for All

Nussle also talked about the need for future credit union leaders to set their sights on achieving “financial wellbeing for all.”

Creating more options for financial wellbeing – including resources, products and services, and other highly inclusive solutions will not only grow your member base, but will also positively impact your members’ futures and your community as a whole.

Nussle encourages future credit union leaders to ask themselves, “How will I take a leadership role in helping the credit union movement promote financial wellbeing for all?” as a starting point for fostering innovative and diverse credit union solutions for members.

Insights from ‘Ask the Old Guy’

CUNA has recently started a blog series called “Ask the Old Guy” and we are loving it. This series is written in a style reminiscent of newspaper advice columns. The first featured expert is James Collins, president and CEO of O Bee Credit Union.

Much of the advice offered is more a primer for current and future credit union leaders to help them think critically about some of the issues and processes that lie ahead. Many of the answers also have a touch of humor, but the general best practices outlined in the article include fresh takes on coworker and member relationship building or problem-solving.

Our favorite nugget of wisdom from “Ask the Old Guy”? Here it is:

“Leadership is the ability to convince others to wholeheartedly follow you on the path to a common goal. It is not an ability that is bestowed, learned, or practiced. Rather, it requires you to have the trust of those around you.”

20 Years & 20 Lessons

CUInsight featured an article by Jayni Sech, who is celebrating 20 years as a business professional and she shared 20 lessons she’s learned along the way, from professional tips to life lessons.

Though all 20 of her insights were great, it was this thought that spoke volumes: “As I look back on the last 20 years, one of the biggest lessons I learned was to learn the lesson.”

Keep learning, keep growing, and keep leading. The journey will be a great one.

CU Leaders Need Great Digital Solutions

Being a leader means helping shape your credit union so that it will continue to thrive for years into the future. IMS has a range of services – like cloud backups, core hosting, IaaS, and disaster recovery – to help you make the most of your credit union, today and always.

Contact us for more information.