Safeguarding member data: How to foster a cybersecurity culture at your credit union

Credit unions are increasingly vulnerable to data breaches, with a staggering 88% of these incidents across all industries being attributed to employee mistakes. A balance must be struck between technical security solutions and creating a security awareness culture to address this significant cybersecurity vulnerability, especially for credit unions.

What is a proactive security awareness program?

Proactive security awareness programs are a vital form of education designed to mitigate the risk of cyber threats. This type of training aims to empower employees and IT professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to identify and respond to potential security breaches. By creating a sense of accountability and understanding among employees, proactive security awareness training helps individuals recognize and combat malicious activities aimed at their credit union.

We are diving into three key recommendations to help credit unions establish a proactive security culture. These recommendations focus on empowering employees and creating an environment where informed and secure decisions are the norm.

Three ways to build a culture focused on security

  1. Security belongs to every department

Cybersecurity has evolved and become an essential part of your credit union. Security belongs to every employee regardless of department. All parties are accountable and actively contribute to the credit union’s security culture. This can be achieved by equipping each person with security basics and the knowledge to judge threats.

Cybersecurity awareness is an ongoing activity, while training is a proactive action that must be taken on your credit union’s behalf. You can grow your security culture by having teachable moments through mock threat campaigns, training, and teachings using real-world examples. After employees have been provided with the proper awareness and knowledge, then comes accountability.

  1. Recognize and reward employees for their security efforts

Actively seek out opportunities to celebrate employee success. Proactively defend your employees from falling victim to cyber schemes, the return on investment outweighs the cost of the reward.

  1. Implement a proactive security awareness program

Practical, proactive security awareness programs emphasize engaging your employees to reduce user risk. It is best to implement a robust training program that doesn’t just deliver a one-off session that overwhelms employees with information that they will soon forget until the next training. For training information to become salient, it needs to be persistent and delivered in small doses (quarterly is suggested) to fit every employee’s busy plates.

Proactive security awareness programs use real-life de-weaponized attack campaigns to test employees, including phony email phishing attacks. They also implement training to ensure your credit union complies with set policies and industry regulations and track and continue to train high-risk users who fail attack campaigns.

How to play your part

The type of culture that you build at your credit union directly impacts your success. By prioritizing security and creating a culture focused on proactive defense, credit unions can mitigate the risk of data breaches and safeguard their members’ information. The suggestions above are just the beginning—there’s so much more to securing your credit union, but this is a great place to start. After all, wouldn’t you rather be proactive instead of reactive?


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Brittany Holmes

Brittany Holmes

Brittany Holmes is Corporate Communications Manager at Adlumin Inc., a cybersecurity technology firm. She focuses on content creation and management for Adlumin emphasizing cybersecurity best practices, risks, and solutions across ... Web: Details