Simplifying IT Compliance for Credit Unions & Community Banks

As a CIO, IT manager, or MSP servicing financial institutions, you realize that compliance is an important priority. You need to be able to manage both internal compliance, ensuring employees follow operational policies to mitigate risk, and external compliance following rules and regulations established by outside entities such as the government.

Realizing the need for compliance is just half of the equation. Being able to effectively manage that compliance in an efficient and cost-effective manner is the second part. Let’s briefly look at some of the issues facing financial institutions concerning compliance, and then look at how you can achieve the second part without a big bank budget.

Compliance Worries of Financial Institutions

Compliance, auditing, and security issues keep financial professionals awake at night, and rightly so. Security lapses and failures in compliance can lead to huge fines, ruined reputations, and lost customer confidence. A CDW sponsored survey in 2015 asked senior executives at banks what concerns they had for their banks:

  • 76% felt regulatory compliance was a top concern.
  • 33% specifically felt that regulations from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau were a high priority.
  • 30% were worried about becoming more efficient.

Compliance issues for financial institutions are compounded by the fact that most financial institutions have branches and facilities spread across wide geographical areas, and that different departments within an institution have different rules and regulations. In addition, the growth of online banking has added to complexity in maintaining compliance.

U.S.-based financial institutions face fines that could be in the billions of dollars for not following government regulations such as the Patriot Act, Sarbanes-Oxley, and HIPPA. The Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of Currency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and other agencies all have their own set of rules and regulations for financial institutions. Financial institutions in other countries also have to meet multiple sets of regulations at one time.  Trying to manage multiple devices in multiple locations for such a variety of regulations can be time-consuming, complex, and costly.

A follow-up question in the CDW survey asking what the executives felt had the most negative impact on profitability drives this home:

  • 64% pointed to the high cost of regulatory compliance as a main loss of profit.
  • More than $1 in every $5 of profit spent on regulatory compliance for community banks.
  • 28% felt inefficiency had an impact on profits.

So, efficiently maintaining compliance could get rid of many of the nightmares financial executives find disturbing their sleep.

The Right Management Tool Makes a Difference

A Reuters study found that 81% of those responsible for compliance feel there will be a significant and continuing increase in the volume of regulatory information in the coming years. Yet, most reported there wouldn’t be significant increases in the budget to meet the demands.

There has to be a way to efficiently maintain compliance even if you don’t have the deep pockets of the mega banks. It doesn’t have to be the drain on profits it is now, nor require resources only big banks can afford. Nor does it need to be complex, time-consuming, and difficult for IT to manage the infrastructure to ensure everyone is in compliance. The key is in finding the right tool to manage compliance, auditing, and security – one tool that does it all efficiently. For compliance issues, that tool should provide:

  • Full Discovery – It’s impossible to keep a network in compliance if you don’t even know what devices are on it. The right management solution provides discovery and visibility for the devices in your system no matter where they are – even when the devices are in remote locations, such as when traveling, at home, or otherwise off network.
  • Centralized Control – As mentioned earlier, the infrastructure of many financial institutions is often geographically disperse, and may encompass ATMs, tablets, cloud-based apps, different branches, and more. An efficient tool gives you total control from one single console. And not only should it provide total access to your network, including remotely located devices, the right tool allows you to access that single pane of glass from anywhere to remotely monitor to ensure policies are being followed. Non-compliant applications should be automatically updated to become compliant, or if the app can’t be made compliant or is non-authorized, the right tool would set alerts for you or remove the apps automatically.
  • Automation Control – An efficient management tool is one where much of the work is done automatically for you. However, you need to have control of that automation through the ability to establish and configure policies, at the device level if necessary, and set how those policies are followed if there are conflicts. You should be able to create or reconfigure policies as needed when new regulations are added or modified.

Kaseya VSA does this and more. These features, plus its scalability, allow it to grow with you to meet demands without the need to drastically increase staff or budget. By allowing you to access everything from one pane of glass, you can easily check on policies and procedures for every device. Automatic updates and patching helps you avoid missing a device and having it fall into non-compliance. It is easier to stay current on regulations and add policies as needed when you can push updates to all devices from one single console. You have control of all locations and devices, even if you are away from the office – including from your home.

Maintaining compliance is just one factor financial institutions need to consider. Future articles will discuss two more important areas – auditing and security. You’ll discover how Kaseya integrates it all and improves your efficiency to save you time and money.

For more information about how Kaseya VSA can help you manage compliance, download How to Manage IT Risk Like a Big Bank (without a Big Bank IT budget) today.

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