Along with Credit Union professionals nationwide, ActionPoint is eagerly anticipating the upcoming CUMA Autumn Conference, which is due to take place later this month. At every CUMA event, Credit Union team members are given valuable updates on the current state of the industry. But, more importantly than that, delegates get the chance to network, learn from one another and find out what specific areas are worth focusing on in the months ahead.
The CUMA Autumn Conference this year is titled ‘Accelerated Change – Pressing Pause is Not an Option’. After the year we’ve all had, we find this to be a fascinating and appropriate theme. A lot has changed in the past 18 months and it’s up to each and every Credit Union to adapt and drive forward. But, while the business landscape has been in flux, few sectors have adapted better than credit unions. Across the country, credit unions have shown that with change comes opportunity.
To keep with the theme of ‘Accelerated Change – Pressing Pause is Not an Option’, we’ve highlighted 3 key areas that Credit Unions in Ireland should be focusing on for the rest of 2021 and into 2022.
In March 2020, the way we worked changed dramatically. Forces outside of everyone’s control meant that working from home, for many, became the only way to work. Because of this, employees experienced the many benefits that come with remote working; no commute, more flexibility, more time with the family, greater freedom and a better work/life balance. Eighteen months on, as society reemerges and offices reopen, the landscape has changed significantly and so have people’s work preferences.
Employees now expect flexible remote work options to stay long-term. While many credit unions were able to adapt in the short or medium term, are they set up to do so in the long-term? If remote working is going to succeed, credit unions will need to re-evaluate their IT budgets, putting greater emphasis on securing remote staff and ensuring workers are as effective at home as they are in the office.
In terms of IT security, this means taking a closer look at mobile device management, where all devices accessing company data are secured and accounted for. It also requires credit unions to adopt multi-factor authentication where at least two forms of verification (e.g., password and pin sent to a mobile) are required to access emails and company data. This helps to protect staff, who are much more vulnerable to cyber-attacks and phishing when working from home. There are many considerations. For organisations looking to adapt, we’ve provided a return-to-work operations checklist.
Data Loss Prevention
Data loss prevention (DLP) is a set of products, strategies, technologies, and techniques that ensure end users do not transmit critical or sensitive data outside an organisation. Certain events that have taken place in the past few months have underscored the importance of data loss prevention for credit unions. For all companies, but especially for credit unions and other organisations working with sensitive data, data loss prevention is critical. With increasing compliance regulations, GDPR concerns and data breaches on the rise, no organisation wants to be on the receiving end of an attack.
When a breach does occur, it is an upward battle for credit unions to win back the trust, loyalty and respect of their customers. With more and more staff accessing sensitive information from remote locations, data loss prevention has never been more important. When your reputation is on the line, credit unions must ensure that air-tight security systems are in place where data is being transferred. Data loss prevention protects critical data and helps to prevent the negative publicity and loss of revenue that inevitably follows data breaches.
Security & Training
We’ve mentioned both flexible working and data loss prevention. Going hand in hand with these is security and training. In the middle of the COVID-19 lockdown, ActionPoint published a report where we examined how workers in Ireland were adjusting to the new world of working from home. One of the most startling insights from that report was that only 31% of the companies surveyed held security awareness training. When education is so key to cybersecurity, this is worrying.
No doubt over the last 18 months, you’ll have read about the increased security risks that come with remote working practices. Reports of phishing, where fraudsters attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by disguising oneself as a trustworthy entity (read more here), has increased significantly. Ransomware attacks are also on the rise. In 2020 alone, there were more than 300 million ransomware attacks recorded, an increase of more than 60% from 2019 (read more here).
One of the most effective tools in the fight against cybercrime is education and training. A lot of attacks happen simply because staff aren’t aware of the dangers. If you manage a team, it is up to you to spread this awareness. When the risks are understood, it is easier to contend with them. At ActionPoint, we put huge emphasis on education and training. Check out the ActionPoint Academy for more information.
Helping Credit Unions to be More Resilient and Secure
ActionPoint has years of experience working with some of Ireland’s largest Credit Unions, helping them to become more productive, secure and to embrace digital technologies. For more than 15 years, we’ve provided credit unions with industry-leading Digital Transformation Services, including IT support and custom Software Development. We have extensive knowledge of the industry and work closely with our clients to help them take their digital transformation to the next level.
For Credit Unions, now is the time to move forward. Pressing pause is no longer an option. To find out more about what we can do for you, email firstname.lastname@example.org.