To say that cybersecurity is a top priority feels like an understatement. Our data is captured and transmitted with nearly every digital interaction we have, from ringing a doorbell to using an app to earn rewards points.
And there are always bad actors looking to get their hands on your data. Whether it’s thieves looking for a quick payoff or state-sponsored actors trying to obtain new technologies, it’s not an exaggeration to say protecting consumers’ data is a national security issue.
That’s how we frame it in our discussions with policymakers because that’s what’s at stake.
Increasing digitization makes this more important than ever. Paper records—and even physical, onsite data storage—is disappearing, with many companies relying on cloud-based services.
Our members trust us with their sensitive data, and we work hard to meet strict requirements to keep that information safe. But as the near-daily reports of data breaches will tell you, these bad actors are adept at finding weak links in the chain.
That’s why we’re clear with policymakers that financial institutions and consumers deserve nothing less than a strong national standard that would close the glaring loopholes hackers exploit.
But for credit union members, it’s also an issue of trust. Our members must know their information is safe.
All the talk of the credit union difference and people helping people won’t amount to much if members can’t trust credit unions to keep their money and data secure.
The good guys are always working to stay a step ahead of the bad actors, but so often it’s the good guys playing catch-up to the latest scam.
Leadership requires staying up to date on the latest information, scams, and solutions that protect sensitive data. It means getting executives, board members—anyone who handles data—current with the latest information on how to keep data secure.
NCUA knows this is important. It named cybersecurity one of its top supervisory priorities for 2022. The agency also continues to develop updated information security procedures tailored to credit unions’ individual size and complexity.
Pilot programs for these procedures will continue throughout this year, and the agency aims to finalize them by the end of the year.
The federal government is devoting time and resources to combat this problem. CUNA is proud to be a member of the Financial Information Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, a global intelligence community focused on financial services.
CUNA has a host of resources for those looking for the latest tools to combat cybercrime.
The CUNA Cybersecurity Conference with NASCUS brings together top experts in the field with information tailored specifically to the challenges and needs of credit unions.
Credit unions have big things planned this year and beyond, but we can’t lose sight of our day-to-day work of meeting members’ needs.
You’ve worked hard to earn your members’ trust. Data security and privacy will be an integral part of that trust as digitization increases.
JIM NUSSLE is president/CEO of Credit Union National Association.