cybersecurity firstDoes your credit union prioritize digital security? As we've discussed this month, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Awareness Agency (CISA) and the National Cybersecurity Alliance (CSA) sponsor Cybersecurity Awareness Month to shine a light on digital security issues for people and businesses across the country.

Even though Cybersecurity Awareness Month only lasts through October, the sponsors and participants hope to emphasize making cybersecurity a year-round effort. The program encourages people to use #BeCyberSmart as a hashtag to promote their efforts to raise awareness. Anybody who missed the previous weeks can also start with this introduction to credit union cybersecurity and the basics of Cyber Security Awareness Month for credit unions. The fourth week's theme, Cybersecurity First, emphasizes prioritizing digital security when developing or buying digital systems or devices.

Cybersecurity First for credit unions

In particular, credit unions and their members increasingly rely on digital systems to conduct business. American Banker published results from Black Kite, a cyber-risk profiling and ratings firm. Some highlights of this report include:

  • About half of all credit unions and over half of credit union vendors suffer from vulnerabilities that compromise their ability to withstand digital attacks.
  • Common weaknesses include vulnerable email and legacy computer systems.
  • Typical attacks could put almost $200,00 at risk for small credit unions and over $1 million for large ones.

To reduce their risks, credit unions can begin to put cybersecurity first by focusing upon these three critical steps:

1. Visibly embrace Cybersecurity First strategies, investments, and cultures

The CISA discussed fostering an organizational culture of readiness. They highlighted the importance of leadership awareness, incorporating security into operational strategies, and investing in actions that promote security measures and an understanding of threats throughout the entire organization.

2. Increase digital security awareness

As much as cybersecurity discussions revolve around devices and apps, the attitude and awareness of staff make the difference between secure and vulnerable credit unions. Leaders need to make continuing investments in their staff's cybersecurity awareness and skills. Credit unions can also benefit from programs that improve their members' digital security awareness.

3. Protect critical assets

Credit unions should invest in secure software and hardware. Even so, the investment in better software and hardware security really protects an even more valuable asset: data.

Most organizations may find it difficult to maintain vigilance. Sophisticated digital criminals have circumvented even the best security measures, sometimes using surprisingly low-tech methods. Credit unions need extra safety measures everywhere they store, transmit, or harvest information.

Along with that, these organizations must also prepare for the possibility of failure with backup, recovery, and contingency plans. That means credit unions need to make an effort to analyze and remediate vulnerabilities, develop backup plans, thoroughly test their strategies in action, and train staff.

Work with the best cybersecurity core provider for credit unions

Even though awareness of the importance of cybersecurity continues to spread, an alarming number of credit unions have not kept up with an ever-increasing number and type of threats. The burdens of archaic systems, untrained users, and inadequate security strategies leave these institutions and their members vulnerable to losses.

On the positive side, a core provider like FLEX will enable a platform for credit unions that includes a multi-layer security approach. Take a few minutes to understand how FLEX can improve member experiences and all stakeholders' security by reading our eGuide to security services.

FLEX Security Services

Topics: Security, credit union cyber security, member data security

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