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Understaffing Has Many CUs Outsourcing IT
Thursday, February 8, 2018 6:40 AM

The widening gap between understaffed IT departments and growing demands for better, more complicated data security is pushing many credit unions and community banks to outsource the management of their IT networks and security monitoring, according to new research.

In a new survey of about 110 credit unions and community banks, done by Alpharetta, Georgia-based technology security firm Safe Systems, 80 percent see cybersecurity as their greatest security challenge in the year ahead. However, 31 percent had just one employee in their IT departments, and 26 percent had just two IT employees. Only 12 percent had more than five IT staff employees.  

In turn, the vast majority (76 percent) of the respondents said they’re outsourcing the management of their IT networks to third parties, and 86 percent are outsourcing their security monitoring—not a surprise, considering the number of recent data breaches, the study noted. A full 77 percent of respondents said they’d been hit with debit card fraud within the past 18 months, making it the most common type of fraudulent activity in the study. About a quarter suffered from malware threats during that time.

“These institutions continue to struggle with the rapid rate of change the industry is experiencing. The IT departments continue to be understaffed, forcing community financial institutions to augment their IT departments with outsourced service providers who are able to help them navigate technology, security, and compliance required today,” the Safe Systems report said.

Patches and Compliance in the Mix
Approximately 68 percent of the credit unions and community banks in the survey now rely on third-party IT providers for “patch management”—finding and implementing updates that patch security holes in hardware, software and applications. 

Failing to install patches has been the alleged culprit in several data breaches, including the one involving Equifax last September. That breach allegedly occurred because the credit bureau didn’t install a patch on some software in one of its systems. Equifax is now facing dozens of lawsuits.

Read more on this story at Credit Union Times.