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.


Why Having the Right Core System Is Important

 

2020 does not look like anyone could have ever imagined, and having the right core system for your credit union is paramount. Innovation, rapid adoption of digital solutions, and finding ways to keep our customers without allowing them to visit brick-and-mortar locations as they have always done are just a few of the huge pivots the year has brought us so far.

Your core system is the foundation by which you serve your loyal customers and your community. Is it time to consider changing or upgrading it?

Areas for Growth

With the need for digital solutions at an all-time high, credit unions are faced with the need to update their online offerings. As a whole, credit unions serve smaller communities and customer bases than many banks, but the personal service and helpful staff are what sets them apart.

Since the in-person visits are lower than ever and many employees are working from home, offering web portals and apps for doing credit union business in a safe and socially distant manner will potentially create an influx of new, younger clientele.

Your Core System

The Credit Union Journal  reports that “more than 20% of members surveyed expect a permanent decrease in the frequency of their branch visits once post-COVID-19 life begins.” As we shift and adapt to this new normal, perhaps it’s also time to see what technologies your credit union employs, and how they could be optimized to better serve you and your customers.

Many credit unions have a historically well-rated core system, but that doesn’t mean the standard core system from years ago is still the best option. In a world full of technology solutions, flexibility and customization rule the day. And while change is hard, the last few months have proven that when push comes to shove, a business can adapt rapidly.

Core systems have all the power that a large corporation needs to run its business for decades. But what happens when a smaller institution using that same core system runs into problems? These smaller businesses, like credit unions, don’t have the resources or manpower to justify having a team of people available to monitor and fix these systems. As with hiring, payroll, and other departments, credit unions have to streamline their business to offer the same valuable services at a fraction of the scale.

Opportunities

Your core system is the lifeblood of your business. And when it’s implemented correctly, it saves your credit union time and money by taking some of the tedium out of your employee’s hands so they can focus on serving your customers. In these uncertain times, analyzing your core system could help keep costs down and streamline processes that are difficult to perform with some or most of your workforce conducting business from home.

Core Hosting with IMS

IMS offers core hosting. If your credit union is considering a core move, let us share how we can save you significantly and provide peace of mind knowing you have industry experts maintaining and managing your most valuable assets.

Contact us to see what solutions we can create for your credit union.


The Future of Banking

 

What do credit unions need to focus on to stay relevant in this new future of banking?

Though we may not have known it at the time, COVID-19 has created a need for better digital solutions. The hurried changes that were made to continue business operations as the coronavirus pandemic took hold have changed the world, and many of these changes are here to stay.

There is a unique opportunity to update and digitize your credit union’s process in ways that will keep you and your customers safer and cut costs over time.

Disaster Planning vs. Pandemic Planning 

Disaster planning is a necessary exercise and typically includes processes and protocols to “tide your business over” during a short-term but high-impact event. The goal is to use the disaster plan to get through hardship or an unforeseen issue by mitigating the damage so you can return to your normal business practices.

Unfortunately, this pandemic has changed the future of banking in such a way that “getting back to normal” is probably never going to happen. The good news is: now is the perfect time to implement large and radical changes in your virtual offerings and security.

A Virtual New World

 The ability to work, and bank, from home has been gaining momentum over recent years, but 2020 created a trend that will likely have virtual desktops and remote offerings become a staple in businesses of all sizes. The future of banking will require digital solutions like these to keep people safe in the coming months and create consistent expectations for how your credit union conducts business.

More and more young people are flocking to businesses that have a jump on their digital offerings, and implementing virtual processes will not only keep you, your staff, and your customers safer – it can also increase your value proposition and allow you to reach more customers in these tech-savvy demographics.

Off-site Peace of Mind

Diversifying and flexing the physical space in which you do business not only opens up many doors for customers who aren’t willing or able to come to your branch’s location, it also protects your business by spreading out your assets. If backups and other important items are stored off-site, the risk of losing everything at once will decrease drastically.

Sounds like more risk, you say? Before this year, many companies had strict policies prohibiting credit unions and other businesses’ employees from taking computers and files off company property. But now, it is imperative that some or all of your workforce be able to work remotely.

Rather than worry about the liability, credit unions that are investing in the future of banking will take this time to survey their digital offerings and security measures in the hopes of implementing newer, bolder solutions like IaaS (infrastructure as a service), virtual desktops, cloud storage, and offsite data backup.

Many of these solutions have the added benefit of being more cost-effective than their previous counterparts.

Let IMS Help

Contact us to see what solutions we can create for your credit union.


Protect Data When Working from Home

With so many people working from home during this time, virtual desktops have become the norm for credit unions today. Remote connections provide workers with the ability to access data at home, on the road or a remote office. However, the increase in remote work has also led to an increase in cyberattacks. As end-user applications are evolving, so are the techniques bad actors are using to attack your data system. 

Credit unions should ensure they have the proper security protocols in place to stay safe. There are multiple vulnerabilities where remote desktops are exposed to malware attacks, including email and user-installed applications. Attackers like to gain control over a personal and work laptop and impersonate the user.

Additionally, there may be logistical challenges with assessing hardware needs, privacy and managing multiple devices. But, adopting the right security practices will protect data across all endpoints. Taking a comprehensive approach to security will allow you to easily manage the status of these areas.

Since employees are connecting to your system through a corporate virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), it’s important to have security solutions in place to work across different platforms. Everything from transferring data to personal devices to using unsecured networks are common mistakes employees make when working from home. Here are a few things to keep an eye on with your team:

  • Using an insecure network. It’s possible employees are using home networks that are less secure compared to being at the office with WiFi acting as the biggest offender. That’s why your credit union should use a secure, virtual desktop environment to access sensitive information and apps. 
  • Transferring data to personal devices. Your credit union may have issued workers with a company laptop but your team may also be using a personal computer to work. It’s not uncommon for employees to move documents from work computers to a home computer, smart device or personal cloud service for ease of use. Unfortunately, the security mechanisms in place are far less secure than a business laptop or a VDI. 
  • Sharing access credentials. Bottlenecks often occur when one employee has to wait for another colleague to complete a task. To expedite the process they might share their login credentials to an application or database so their colleague can access what’s needed and reduce that bottleneck. Not only is this an unapproved action it becomes problematic when done over an insecure network. 
  • Inadvertently sharing private information with friends. While teams have transitioned to hosting meetings via video chat and using social media as an outline to stay connected, workers may be leaking sensitive information without knowing it. This may be leaving a comment on Facebook about what it’s like working from home, taking a photo or video of your home office or displaying a computer setup. These are all risk factors to causing data leaks.

To avoid these pitfalls, your IT team should implement additional security controls and set up guidelines on what to install, download or share to avoid security breaches when working from home. They should also retrain staff on the most appropriate ways to handle sensitive information. Performing continuous security testing will reduce the possibility of malicious attacks on your system.

Financial institutions are always a target for cyber attacks, so it’s critical you identify any vulnerabilities. The most effective thing to do is enable our private cloud to deliver easily managed services. IMS provides a complete virtual workspace that allows your credit union to rapidly transform desktops and applications to users on any device, anywhere in a secure way.