When most people think about cybersecurity, they often picture high-tech solutions. Like advanced anti-virus software and robust firewalls. Or anonymous IT experts staring at monitors in darkened rooms. But this view highlights the role of technology as the main defense against digital threats.
In the credit union sector and elsewhere, effective cybersecurity involves more than just technological tools and tech whizzes. Instead, think about shared experiences and conversations among your team. These can play a vital role in cybersecurity protection for your credit union. Here’s how…
Barbarians at The Gate
Does this sound familiar? Every day, credit union staff receive emails from members with attachments. These include signed credit union forms, proof of income, photo IDs, proof of residency, and other necessary documents. And they arrive at the credit union from the personal email accounts of members.
This is just part of the normal routine of onboarding members. But consider the day when one of those attachments contains a macro virus. This isn’t something you can fix with some cold medicine. It’s much more insidious. It can spread quickly to corrupt data, access email accounts, and infect other shared documents.
Teach & Promote Cybersecurity Essentials
Anti-virus software and firewalls are critical. But a little staff diligence also goes a long way. Train staff to verify the sender of an email. Show them how to spot bad attachments. Most importantly, encourage them to report suspicious emails to IT – before clicking on them or opening attachments. These steps are an effective and inexpensive part of cybersecurity risk mitigation.
Finally, encourage staff to share experiences when they believe an email or attachment poses a problem. When staff share their stories about suspicious emails, the stories spread through the credit union for other staff to learn from. And that results in enhanced security for the entire organization.
Sharing experiences can also shed light on staff’s understanding of security risks. For example, in a former life, we learned that a co-worker diligently deleted emails and spam from their personal email account, but routinely opened attachments at work to onboard members quickly. This insight helped the credit union balance member service with managing cybersecurity.
Encourage Better Communication Between Staff and The IT Department
Staff members’ shared stories can also spark renewed interest in security. When staff learn from each other, they start asking more questions. They get better at detecting suspicious emails and attachments, particularly when the email is from a member.
Your IT Department may be pleasantly surprised by the influx of questions as staff become more inquisitive. The IT team will develop an appreciation for the issues encountered by front-line staff. Recognizing this, they may revamp annual security training, focusing on interaction and conversation versus dull technical information.
Cybersecurity issues, computers, viruses, scams, and software are always changing – sometimes so quickly that it’s overwhelming. To complicate matters, the cyber world is chock full of unfamiliar jargon. IT departments should consider incorporating firsthand experiences, recent media stories, and front-line security precautions into the credit union’s annual IT security training.
In conclusion, the cybersecurity landscape is continuously evolving, and credit unions must adapt to stay ahead of potential threats. While technology plays a crucial role in this battle, the human element cannot be underestimated.
Foster a culture of awareness and proactive communication within your organization. Empower your team to be vigilant, share their insights, and contribute to the collective security effort. Encourage open dialogue and the sharing of experiences. These are simple but powerful (and cost-effective) means of enhancing your credit union’s cybersecurity defenses.
Lastly, increase staff commitment and adherence to your CU’s IT Security Policies and Procedures with a well-rounded training program that utilizes both automated and conversational training methods. People recall stories with much more ease than they can the specifics presented in automated training. And stories generate more buy-in.
Remember, a well-informed and engaged staff is your best first line of defense against cyber threats.
Take action today to strengthen your cybersecurity measures through shared knowledge and teamwork. Learn about C4CU’s engaging in-person training programs…