One of the primary concerns of any financial institution is protecting the personal information of its customers, and rightfully so. Banks and credit unions are especially vulnerable to cyberattacks due to the sensitive nature of the customer data they store. For this reason, financial institutions often choose to prioritize security over other I.T. needs when searching for managed service providers (MSPs). However, banks that take a security-only view of their I.T. solutions are doing themselves a disservice. Here are several aspects of I.T. support banks should consider along with their cybersecurity needs.
An MSP can do so much more than safeguard your information; it can also help you achieve your long- and short-term business goals. For example, if you are interested in increasing the number of customers who open checking accounts with your bank, a managed service provider can suggest changes to your I.T. infrastructure that will allow more customers to access online banking services. An MSP can also provide software solutions tailored to the needs of financial institution clients, as well as simplifying and continuously improving service by providing a single platform for service management.
Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery
Disaster recovery is a major concern for any small- to medium-sized business, but banks, in particular, should be aware of the steps that must be taken in the event of a data breach, natural disaster, or major equipment failure. Because so much private data is stored on the computers and servers of financial institutions, banks cannot afford to be without a comprehensive business continuity and disaster recovery plan, and new FFIEC guidelines state that banks must ensure the solidity of their providers’ business continuity plans. As the recent Wells Fargo hack shows, even a large institution can be vulnerable to cybercriminals. Customers trust their banks to remain in operation even if a crisis strikes, so having a business continuity plan in place is essential. An MSP can provide guidelines for creating actionable plans and safeguard vital data in the event of a problem that impacts normal business operations.
Moving from a break-fix mentality to managed services reduces I.T. expenses and ensures that operations are not interrupted by network outages and other preventable problems. Taking a proactive stance when it comes to I.T. solutions helps banks to reduce costs and avoid lost revenue due to computer problems. According to a recent report by CompTIA, half of managed service users cut their I.T. expenses by 10-24%, meaning that financial institutions stand to see significant savings through working with an MSP. Banks that only work with MSPs for security-related services are therefore missing out on a number of cost-saving opportunities.
A managed service provider should help your bank meet compliance guidelines such as SSAE No. 16. It should also keep you up to date with the latest FFIEC and FDIC regulations so you can focus on the day-to-day requirements of running your business. Because network security requirements have increased in recent years, getting outside I.T. support can reduce your risk of non-compliance by providing additional security for sensitive client data.
Transferring data to private cloud servers is a step that has the potential to free up significant capital, not to mention the physical space taken up by bulky hardware. Banks that embrace new technologies can reap the benefits of improved security, as well as infinite scalability and ease of access. With many smaller financial institutions struggling to handle the demands of an increasingly online client base with legacy technology like aging mainframes, switching to cloud services makes a lot of sense. A 2016 report by BAI.org notes that regulatory bodies are increasingly recommending cloud solutions for bankers, provided that they are secure and meet compliance guidelines.
Monitoring & Support
An additional benefit of working with a managed service provider is that they typically provide 24-hour monitoring services, as well as remote I.T. support. This ensures that cybersecurity and network connectivity are constantly maintained. An MSP can also provide support services such as employee awareness training, on-site vulnerability assessments, physical facility security recommendations, workstation protection, software management, and email relay and scanning services. With remote access to help desk support, banks can also tackle I.T. challenges as they emerge.
How to Find the Right Provider
Choosing the right MSP partner is one of the most important decisions you can make for the future of your bank. It can allow you to focus on core competencies without having to devote unnecessary time and money to solving day-to-day I.T. problems—but only if the provider you choose aligns with your bank’s needs.
The first question you should ask a prospective MSP is how much experience they have working with clients in the financial sector. Because of the specific compliance requirements and security concerns that go along with banking, it is essential that your provider demonstrates experience working in the industry. A provider with other banking clients will also be better equipped to meet your specific technological needs and can suggest solutions that might not have occurred to you. Additionally, the MSP should be SSAE16 audited to ensure that third-party activity is conducted safely.
A recent article by BankNews offers a list of concerns for banks to consider before partnering with a managed service provider. Patch management is one of the considerations listed, with the article noting that “patch vulnerability exploits” are one of the biggest cyber threats facing banks. It also emphasized the importance of business continuity planning and security awareness training for employees. While security is naturally a primary concern, it is far from the only reason to partner with an MSP. With the right I.T. support, banks can enjoy streamlined operations, predictable expenses, and access to the technological expertise they need to stay competitive.
To learn more about MSP solutions that can help your bank handle changing marketplace conditions and serve clients more effectively, call 844-44-JMARK, send us an email at jmarkit@JMARK.com or visit the Contact Us page of our website.