We’ve all been there. You pile a week’s worth of groceries in the cart, head for the checkout stand and realize your debit card is right where you left it … in your billfold on the kitchen counter. You don’t have enough cash so you run home while the checker pushes your cart to the side. Unless you have Google Wallet. Then you just pull out your phone and you’re good to go.
Or maybe you buy a power adapter for your MacBook Pro and discover it’s the wrong one. So, back to the Apple Store you go, but what happened to that receipt? No worries, it’s stored on your iPhone, where it had been emailed almost before you finished paying.
Companies like Apple and Google are transforming how consumers do business. They are experts at using today’s technology to de-hassle everyday tasks. In the financial industry, many credit unions and banks are also working hard to make money management easier. Account access anyway you want it, mobile deposits, and same-day loan approvals, to name a few.
But What About Security?
Small conveniences mean a lot, and being able to find a receipt on your smartphone can come in handy. But it’s just a receipt – no sensitive information to worry about. Sadly, convenience alone can’t solve some needs, like keeping members’ personally identifiable information (PII) secure.
Take loan docs, for example. Most credit unions simplify getting a loan without the member needing to set foot in a branch. But how secure is it really to send those loan docs by email, fax, scanners or the U.S. Postal Service? Many printers and scanners store images on internal drives, retaining information such as PII, email addresses, and user IDs. What’s worse is that consumers then transfer those documents openly over the Internet. And cybercriminals can hack into email, too, particularly when it’s protected by earlier encryption protocols.
But there is a safer way. Using the Apple example of having your receipt right on your smartphone, let’s say your daughter is off at school after saving up all summer for a new ride. Her credit union approved financing the balance, but needs a copy of her driver’s license to complete the process. The challenge now is how to get a copy of her license with all that personal information from her school in Florida safely to her credit union in California?
What Millennial even has access to a fax or scanner? Instead of faxing or sending emails back and forth, the credit union places them in a personal, online “safe-deposit box.” Your daughter is the only one who has access to her personal information — her personal vault provided by her trusted credit union. She snaps a picture of her license with her iPad camera, drops it into her personal vault, and shares it with her loan officer in seconds.
There’s no worry about her PII because the picture never leaves her vault where it’s protected by encryption-at-rest technology. And she’s the only one who holds the “key” to open it. Now, that’s “Apple or Google” impressive to any Millennial!
Modernize Technology And Workflow
Using smart technology to deliver financial services to consumers, new competitors are starting to take a toll on the financial industry. And it isn’t just Apple and Google. Other giants, like Facebook and Wal-Mart, want a piece of the financial services pie, too.
It’s time for every credit union to use the right technology and a secure cloud to change how they do business. Sure, we’ve got the Baby Boomers and Greatest Generation in our membership bases to anchor the bottom lines now, but what happens in the next 20 years? Millennials and “Gen Z” (those born in the mid-1990s or later) have never seen a paper statement and rarely walk into a branch.
The Financial Institution Way
Most of us at Virtual StrongBox have spent our careers in the financial services sector, so we’re passionate about safeguarding member data. In fact, we’ve made it our mission to urge the credit union community to adopt encryption-at-rest technology because it is far superior to any other method today. I call it protecting data the new “financial industry way.”
We’re not alone in our concern. The TowerGroup finds cyber threats to PII in most banking processes. “Security vulnerabilities and potential compliance problems exist at every information touch point: in every analog fax machine that lacks activity logging; in every digital device that copies, prints, scans and faxes documents, stores images on an internal drive and retains email addresses.”
At Virtual StrongBox, we enable credit unions to offer members a designated amount of secure storage in personal, online spaces — StrongBoxes. They can be placed behind online banking or on the credit union’s website, secured by mobile multifactor authentication. Our patented “encrypted-at-rest” document storage, secure forms, push and pull file exchange, and e-signature capabilities can automate processes, reduce manual intervention, enhance member services and reduce costs.
By transforming how we do business, credit unions can offer members a secure place to store and exchange their sensitive files. Better security — the financial institution way.
Ron Daly is the president/CEO of Virtual StrongBox, Inc., a company known for protecting personal data the “financial institution way,” providing credit unions with a host of automated file exchange and file storage services For more information, visit www.myvirtualstrongbox.com.
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