CU Security: Take an Enterprise Approach

CUs are beginning to understand the disadvantages of disparate security operations.

March 18, 2013

Securing the credit union has never been more challenging. Today’s security professionals must play dual roles—proactive assessors of threats and stewards of the institution’s resources.

They thwart old-school robberies and burglaries, while also responding to evolving threats such as electronic fraud and organized crime. And in addition to protecting assets, they must now monitor, manage—and maximize—resources.

In this environment, security professionals committed to process improvement are maximizing resources by engaging technical solutions and services that can improve operational efficiencies while detecting and mitigating risks.

These realities present a unique opportunity to broaden the view of credit union security. Instead of the traditional single-branch approach, security professionals can look across departments, sites and channels.

They can transcend the traditional approach to security in two important ways:

Take a singular view of multiple touch points

Diverse consumer touch points are the hallmark of a successful credit union. From multiple branches to off-premises ATMs, mobile banking to the online channel, credit unions are available wherever their members are, ensuring meaningful, convenient banking experiences.

Transcend the Branch

Faced with protecting the organization while maximizing resources, today’s credit union security professionals can transcend the branch in two important ways:

  • By considering and planning for security across the enterprise, rather than branch by branch, channel by channel; and
  • By allowing security to surpass its traditional role to become an even more valuable, more powerful business tool.

Historically, each location—each touch point—within the credit union has been viewed as a discreet security implementation. Each site had its own unique security approach and, often, its own security partner for services such as alarm monitoring.

But credit unions are beginning to fully understand the disadvantages of such a disparate security operation. This is accelerating the movement toward an enterprise approach to security.

Another catalyst is the expansion of security threats. Historically, threats and risks were centric to the traditional assets of the credit union: cash, negotiables, personnel, members, facilities, and equipment.

Today, cybercrime, coupled with new regulations such as Dodd-Frank, Gramm-Leach-Bliley, Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard and more, mandates that credit unions also preserve confidentiality and protect data and networks.

To transcend the branch, credit unions must embrace a holistic approach to security that considers administrative offices, data and customer service centers, branches, off-premises deployments, retail delivery channels, data and networks.

Security professionals must plan for security across the enterprise to improve risk mitigation, standardize security protocols and increase efficiencies.

Make security a more powerful business tool

Considering how security can add value to other organizational operations is another way to break from the traditional branch approach. This broader view can make security a more meaningful, powerful business tool.

A value-driven approach leverages security resources to deliver value to other parts of the organization. For example, devices such as cameras—which traditionally enable monitoring of hot points to detect potential security issues—have capabilities far beyond security.

Cameras can also be used to monitor consumer traffic/flow, assess the result of training initiatives, measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, and more. This approach enables security to drive return on investment throughout the enterprise, leveraging security technology to help a credit union achieve specific business objectives.

At its most fundamental, security is viewed in terms of the cost savings it will deliver through things like thwarted robbery attempts, the prevention of network breaches or the replacement of keys. But in the enterprise scenario, it can also affect return on marketing investment, branch personnel efficacy and more.

In this scenario, security is more than a cost center. It can be the means for the entire enterprise to achieve cost savings and increase value.

Rely on a trusted partner

Partnering with a trusted security provider can make today’s dual security role more manageable. Security success can be accelerated when credit unions forge relationships with a single-source advisor that takes an enterprise approach to security.

Credit unions should engage with security firms that can comprehensively address a myriad of challenges, including enterprise compliance requirements. An effective partner can engineer solutions that leverage networks and migrate traditional security systems into an integrated services platform.

That partner can utilize emerging solutions and services—such as physical security information management, sourcing, cloud-based applications, and more—to enable credit unions to streamline security and focus on core responsibilities. And that partner can deliver managed or hosted security services that can meet objectives for business process improvement.

Divide and conquer

Balancing business strategies, maximizing resources and taking on the ever-changing threats and risks associated with advancing technology are changing the security paradigm.

By taking a singular view of the credit union’s multiple touch points, making security a more powerful business tool and relying on a trusted partner, credit union security professionals can transcend the traditional branch perspective for protecting the credit union.

And they can expand the value security delivers across the enterprise for many years to come.







TONY BYERLY is executive vice president, electronic security, for Diebold Inc.