While Silicon Valley likes to focus on how the next startup will “disrupt” an entire industry, most of the exciting new trends in business technology are actually attempting to do the opposite – help industries become leaner, more secure, and better equipped to scale.
The biggest challenge, then, for most organizations, particularly those who are not technology companies themselves, is where to start.
Here, we will explore two significant IT trends that your credit union should at least be aware of, and how they might help your credit union in the areas of cost reduction, security, risk management and, more importantly, how they can better position your credit union to succeed in today’s ultra-competitive marketplace.
Desktops as a Service (DaaS)
Over the past thirty years, no other technology trend has been more transformative than the desktop computer. Try to imagine any business operating today without desktops; even the most blue-collared corners of our economy still depend on computing and the software it powers.
But let’s also think about some of the major pitfalls of owning and operating desktops in the modern work environment. For one, there is the capital expense to purchase the hardware and all the necessary software. Then there is the ongoing maintenance, security updates, troubleshooting, and failed components. More importantly is the constant security threat. We all know by now how vulnerable every internet-connected computer is to hacking, viruses, and other cyber threats.
The challenges of managing an office full of traditional desktops include:
- Enabling secure mobility to your workforce.
- Upgrading operating systems and other software.
- Maintaining hardware needs with tight IT budgets.
Desktop as a Service, or “DaaS”, which is not a new technology, but a technology development that has become, more recently, a cost-effective option. Daas takes the computing and storage element out of your office, virtualizes it, and houses it in a more manageable, centralized location — typically in a secure data center.
DaaS provides more freedom for users in device choice and connectivity, without exhausting your credit union’s bandwidth; there is no hardware and less software to purchase or manage; your users’ apps, data, and personalized desktops live in “the cloud”; and security, support, and compliance are easier to achieve. Additional benefits include:
- Lower and predictable costs, based on the number of users you have.
- Business continuity, with backup and recovery capabilities baked right into the offering.
- More mobility: users can securely access their desktop anywhere they have an internet connection.
Bottom line: moving your office desktops to the cloud will empower your IT team to control costs and keep your credit union more secure, while also giving your workers more flexibility in terms of accessing their data and apps no matter where they are located.
Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)
If your network or systems experienced a catastrophic event and became unavailable for an extended period of time (such as over 48 hours), what would happen to your credit union? Fallout from such an event could be as simple as the loss of a day’s productivity to more long-term damage that may include a dent in member confidence in your credit union. Worse: could your credit union suffer a complete or partial (and unrecoverable) loss to your critical business or member data?
As organizations become more dependent on digital data and assets for all aspects of the operation, from customer databases to financial data, serious planning to ensure those digital assets are secure and recoverable becomes critically paramount.
The great news for a growing swath of businesses and organizations today is the accessibility of more affordable disaster recovery solutions for organizations that do not have the benefit of an enterprise-sized IT budget.
Fundamentally, a true disaster recovery solution would require that data is backed up and/or simultaneously housed in a secondary geographic location. Because of this, major challenges include:
- Investing in multiple facilities – there is a significant cost and effort to operate a secondary physical recovery facility.
- Doing it on your own – IT’s focus is taken away from core tasks that add value to the organization.
Disaster Recovery as a Service, or “DRaaS”, allows you to cost effectively outsource your disaster recovery point of presence to a specialized provider – a provider that has already made the significant investments to build out a facility and hire the qualified professionals needed to support such a solution. Benefits of DRaaS include:
- Predictable costs – a fixed monthly cost makes budgeting and scaling much easier.
- Maximized IT resources – your IT team can focus on core tasks instead of managing a facility or secondary infrastructure.
- Improved compliance – selecting a DRaaS provider with in-house compliance experts means you don’t need to hire the additional high-cost staff.
The important thing to keep in mind when considering either DaaS or DRaaS is that these are not out of the box products. These are, rather, solutions that are developed and managed by what are known as “Managed Technology Providers”, who have invested in the necessary infrastructure and expertise to help organizations leverage technologies that have previously only been accessible to enterprise-sized organizations.
Final Thoughts: Do Your Due Diligence
It goes without saying, you can’t trust just anybody with your critical data and digital assets. When doing your due diligence for selecting a IT provider, ask the following:
- Can you visit their data center facility to inspect their operations and security?
- Can you view their financials to ensure the provider will be around for the long haul?
- How long has the provider been in business, and what experience do they possess?
- What security and compliance requirements and/or audits can they meet or exceed?
- Will the provider consult, strategize and plan your solution?
Ultimately, if your credit union wants to reduce costs, be more competitive, and minimize security risks, look for providers that will empower your credit union to take advantage of enterprise-level technologies without having to build and manage it all on your own.