The focus on cybersecurity by credit unions and regulatory bodies continues to grow in scope and complexity. Consider recent Economic & CU Monitor data that shows the percentage of National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) exams devoted to cybersecurity increased by nearly 10 percent between 2017 and 2018—a trend that continues in the current regulatory environment.
The National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU) also continues to urge credit unions to make managing cybersecurity risks a priority, as it states on its website: “Cybersecurity is a systemic risk that affects all levels of business, government and ordinary people. It is such a high-risk area for credit unions that the NCUA placed cybersecurity as a top focus for exams. As the cybersecurity world continues to evolve, it’s important that your credit union is prepared for possible threats. Be proactive and shield your credit union from the ever-changing cybersecurity universe now.”
Implementing a centralized, cloud-based document management system helps to ease cybersecurity compliance pressures. The urgent need to be proactive from evolving cybersecurity threats can feel overwhelming. However, implementing a centralized document management system can help ease this additional pressure on your credit union. Here are five ways that taking this action makes it easier to implement measures that will not only meet the scrutiny of examiners, but also protect your members and staff from potential cybersecurity threats, providing peace of mind across your entire credit union:
- Secure storage of sensitive information. If your credit union is still handling an excessive amount of paper documents, emailing sensitive data and storing documents on hard drives, you are opening up both your organization and your clients to being potential victims of a cybercrime. Cloud-based document management mitigates internal and external security risks by providing the backbone of every cybersecurity program: the technology to securely store all documents in the cloud, eliminating the risks and expense associated with storing them locally on credit union servers or desktop computers.
- Control of internal and external access to member data and operational information. Another key component of cybersecurity compliance is controlling access to sensitive information collected from members and third parties as well as those generated internally. A centralized, cloud-based document management system will allow you to set customized levels of access for each individual or entity needing access files to perform critical functions for the credit union. Different levels of access for staff, board members, examiners, accountants, lawyers, and investment firms, can be created, to tightly control access to information for the protection of your members and the credit union.
- Monitoring and tracking of changes to documents and files in real time to maintain information security and integrity. With the right centralized, cloud-based document management system, your credit union will eliminate cybersecurity risks related to individuals changing or thieving financial and other sensitive personal information. This capability allows you to audit access and maintain true file integrity even with multiple users accessing files simultaneously, providing transparency and control from a security perspective.
- Protection of member and credit union information while stored and in transit, through financial institution-level security. The use of a cloud-based document management system such as SmartVault gives your staff and members peace of mind when it comes to the security of highly sensitive data that is in the custody of your credit union. Using a system with FINRA-compliant encryption and other security features simplifies the management and exchange of this information while ensuring the highest levels of security.
- Provide eSignature capabilities to staff, members and third-party vendors. Another key area for compliance and cybersecurity is the ability to utilize and effectively manage e-signature capabilities. While this technology is certainly more convenient to get loan and other key documents signed remotely, it also increases the need for higher levels of security for these documents and the sensitive data they contain as the information is collected, stored, and utilized by your credit union. A document management platform with e-signature capabilities will also simplify and secure this process.
As the complexity of cybersecurity compliance increases, so does the need for all credit unions to take action to address potential gaps in their preparedness for potential threats. Heading into a new year is the ideal time to review the technology you have in place to reduce risks associated with cyber threats as much as possible—starting with the backbone of your proactive protection program: a centralized, cloud-based document management platform.