Sheltered Harbor protects CUs, members from cyberattacks

May 16, 2019

CUNA joined with other financial services trade associations Wednesday to call on all financial institution CEOs to join Sheltered Harbor, a voluntary initiative to help protect against cyberattacks. CUNA is a founding board member of Sheltered Harbor and supports this effort to provide additional methods of recovery and speedy access to critical account data if a cyberattack or natural disaster damages a financial institution’s records.  

“The reason for Sheltered Harbor is simple: once improbable threat scenarios are now plausible. In response, traditional business continuity and disaster recovery planning is not enough,” the letter reads. “The only way to minimize the impact of a devastating disruption is to prepare for it. Implementing the Sheltered Harbor standard prepares institutions to provide customers timely access to balances and funds in such a worst-case scenario.”

Under Sheltered Harbor, financial institutions back up account data each night in the Sheltered Harbor standard format, either in its own secure data vault or with a participating service provider. The vault is separate from the rest of the institution’s infrastructure, including all backups.

Institutions that compete the data vaulting requirements are awarded Sheltered Harbor certification.

“Vaulting customer data each day is, of course, essential if a devastating cyberattack takes place. Restoring the data is equally important. Through resiliency planning guides and an expanding network of assurance and advisory firms, implementing the Sheltered Harbor standard helps your institution prepare the business and technical processes necessary to restore critical systems as quickly as possible,” the letter reads. “We are also working with core processors and other technology service providers to ensure institutions have ready access to solutions for data vaulting and recovery.”

Additional information, as well as a copy of the letter, can be found on CUNA’s Sheltered Harbor homepage