Cybersecurity for Credit Unions: Keeping Safe in 2020

Credit Unions throughout Michigan are looking to enhance their network and data security practices.

A credit union’s success is based on relationships, and relationships are built on trust. This is why a credit union’s reputation is one of its most valuable assets, and in turn, cybersecurity is its highest technology concern.

In truth, cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility. Your members, being typical humans, are most likely making daily mistakes that put their sensitive data at risk. (These mistakes include things like using weak passwords and logging into financial accounts on mobile devices.) Even so, a large number of people consider their bank or credit union solely responsible for securing their data. Most others state that they share the responsibility of security with their bank or credit union.

Either way, there is an important onus of security on you and your organization.


What banking information is protected?

As you know, the federal government regulates five pieces of information it considers to be personally identifiable information: birth date, social security and driver’s license numbers, credit or debit card numbers, and checking routing and account numbers.

State legislators and policymakers can add more information to this “protected list”, and international banking adds new layers of private data entirely.

Although regulations are clearly defined, credit unions should be protecting as much information as possible. This is especially true as more states require credit unions and banks to report data breaches of any kind to their customers — again leading to severe reputation damage and loss of trust.


What is recommended for credit union cybersecurity?

Most banks and credit unions use basic cybersecurity measures like firewalls and antivirus software. Data encryption and logging are also par for the course in financial institutions.

Cybercriminals are extremely crafty, and the need for greater security measures is always growing. We recommend the use of 24/7 monitoring, multi-factor authentication, and stringent internal security policies to reduce your threat profile as much as possible.


How to make a credit union “hacker-proof”

To stay ahead of cyber threats, one must be always looking to the future. The latest and greatest cybersecurity solutions arise out of need, not vanity, and they must be used for a reason.

True security requires more than firewalls in 2020. Your credit union should be protected by a Security Operations Center that will monitor your network and data around the clock.

Don’t neglect awareness and avoidance training for your employees. Even the most secure networks can (and usually are) breached through some small mistake made by an authorized user. If your staff is unaware of cyber threats, phishing dangers, and scams, they can become the weakest link in your security chain. Make sure your people are educated and vigilant.

Another common “weak link” in the last year or so has been IT providers themselves. If you’re outsourcing any of your IT services (cloud, Office 365, data backups, even cybersecurity) you must ensure that your IT provider is as secure as possible.

Not all managed IT providers are as secure as you might think, and their own shortcomings can be used to tunnel into their clients’ networks and data. This method has become an extremely popular means for hackers to access numerous targets at once.

At Heiden Technology Solutions, we’re very aware of this threat and have taken steps to mitigate it. By becoming Michigan’s first TISC-2020 certified IT provider, we’re able to prove that our solutions and internal policies are among the most secure in the industry. Our cybersecurity posture has been evaluated by a third-party board of cybersecurity experts so that our clients can rest easy.

Want to learn more about how we can secure your members’ data, protect your reputation, and help grow your credit union? Click here or call 800.979.9413.