5 Vital Benefits Credit Unions Experience with Managed IT Services

Jul 18, 2023

Where would your credit union be without technology? In truth, nowhere. 

Technology is the backbone of every credit union. If something goes wrong with all or part of it, employees can’t do vital aspects of their jobs, and worse still, members may not be able to do their banking as needed and wanted.

This puts tremendous pressure on internal IT resources even as tech talent remains scarce, cyberattacks continuously threaten, natural disasters frequently loom and regulatory examiners keep scrutinizing your credit union. Managed IT services like those offered by CU*SOUTH, a credit union service organization (CUSO), effectively solve this dilemma.

What Are Managed IT Services?

When a credit union signs a managed IT services agreement, it entrusts a reputable third-party service provider to maintain, monitor and manage all or designated parts of its hard and/or soft technology. In the case of comprehensive IT management, the services cover both hardware and software in the following ways:

  • Firewall, network and patch management
  • Servers and systems administration
  • Desktop monitoring, support and antivirus protection
  • Managed backups, business continuity planning and disaster recovery support
  • Reporting services
  • Email support

Providers typically offer various levels of managed IT services so credit unions can choose the plan that best meets their needs. Some providers even offer on-site IT support, as well as infrastructure assessments and consulting for technology projects and implementations.

By choosing managed IT services, credit unions enjoy these five vital benefits:

Eliminates IT Labor Struggles

Even if you want to handle your IT internally, finding the talent to do so is a never-ending challenge. The unemployment rate for technology jobs perennially beats the overall unemployment rate, according to a CompTIA chart comparing the two since 2018. CompTIA’s analysis of the May 2023 jobs report highlights this trend in a monthly snapshot that shows a 2.3% unemployment rate for tech compared to an overall rate of 3.4%, with over 300,000 tech-related jobs posted by employers in April 2023.

Additional research shows that a credit union’s challenge doesn’t end once it finds and hires IT talent. Retention is also a problem. Per a Gartner survey, only 29% of IT professionals seriously plan to remain in their current jobs, while McKinsey found that employees in tech roles change jobs every 2.7 years as compared to 3.2 years for those in non-tech roles.

With IT managed services, your credit union gains immediate access to highly experienced and skilled tech professionals, providing a reliable and stable IT workforce at all times.

Protects Against Risky Forces

The Verizon 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report depicts an ever-worsening problem of cyberattacks for the financial industry through comparisons to breaches investigated for its 2016 report:

  • Access through servers rose from 50% to 90%, most using stolen credentials gleaned through brute force hacking or credential stuffing
  • System intrusion more than doubled from 14% to 30%
  • Organized crime involvement grew from 49% to 79%
  • Impact on availability worsened from 6% to 14%

Unfortunately, cyberattacks aren’t the only force that can damage or disrupt your operations. A 2022 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report reveals that the U.S. experienced 122 weather and climate disasters with at least $1 billion in damages between 2016 and 2022. Cumulative damages in that time top $1 trillion, not including less costly events. The NOAA describes the increased frequency of such events as our “new normal.” 

Protecting your credit union from risky forces like these is the goal of managed IT services.

Satisfies Regulatory Requirements

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) expects all federally insured credit unions to maintain their members’ ability to access their money and banking services through tested Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plans. Under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), they must safeguard members’ sensitive data, and as of Sept. 1, 2023, report cyber incidents to the NCUA within 72 hours.

Complying with requirements related to other laws and regulations like the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) often involves automated solutions that need to be integrated into your overall IT infrastructure.

In short, your ability to avoid regulatory censure, enforcement action or penalties related to your compliance obligations takes a well-run setup like managed IT services.

Improves Member Experiences

Regulatory examiners aren’t the only ones who expect you to protect member data and recover quickly from a system disruption or cyberattack. Your members have these same expectations in an age when word of online or mobile banking outages and data breaches spread like wildfire on social media.

Regardless of duration, an outage is certain to anger members, potentially damage your reputation and hinder your ability to attract new members and retain existing ones. Managed IT services allow your credit union to effectively operate within today’s extremely narrow window for error.

Fuels Your Credit Union’s Future

It’s increasingly apparent that digital transformation is the key to any financial institution’s future. According to the most recent Chase Digital Banking Attitudes Study, most consumers want to manage all their banking from one place, preferably their mobile device. This includes 89% of Gen Z, 93% of Gen Y (millennials), 90% of Gen X and even 84% of baby boomers. A full 82% of consumers use digital payments on a monthly basis and 47% do so weekly.

The combination of all these managed IT services benefits means your credit union has the technology expertise and support needed to securely and continuously power the seamless experience (digital and otherwise) your members want and can undoubtedly find elsewhere if you don’t provide.

Contact us to learn what else CU*SOUTH’s managed IT services can do for your credit union. 

CU*SOUTH is building a collaborative, peer-to-peer community of Credit Unions
through shared development of technology and service platforms. CU*SOUTH is headquartered on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay, with a nationwide network of CU experts.

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