Today credit unions are fighting a battle on two fronts: First, they have been forced to navigate between providing their members the latest high-tech capabilities and how they function and serve their members in a timely and effective manner. Second, they have to maintain legacy system to support their back-end applications for transactions and other processes. They need the tools that will allow them to maintain and maximize efficiencies, and scale up and shift priorities as needed. They must confront these issues simultaneously, all while meeting ever-increasing demands. Simultaneous with these challenges is the constant need to support, manage, house, and secure these systems, applications, and data. Finding intelligent ways to maintain, operate, and keep applications and data safe has become paramount among credit union managers.
With the preponderance of data and applications needed to manage members’ vital information, credit unions require practical capabilities that allow them to remotely back up data to prevent ransomware and other cybersecurity threats, and replicate data in real-time to prevent data loss and prolonged outages. When cloud computing first emerged decades ago, some credit union managers were reluctant to embrace new technology, fearing they might run afoul of regulators. This notion has largely been debunked; as such, today managers are open to innovations that will allow them to keep back-office, branches, and members processing their transactions while protecting applications and data.
The cloud is no longer an outlier: Today 41 percent of credit unions have deployed some form of cloud computing, and those numbers are rising fast. “The cloud has become a natural progression for institutions like credit unions that require scalable, reliable solutions for data protection and information management, especially for IBM power systems, due to limited internal support” explains Hal Schwartz, president of Melville, NY-based CloudFirst, a provider of cloud services and system management for X86 and IBM power systems, including production hosting, data security, back up, and disaster-recovery services. “With many credit unions operating IBM legacy systems, they lack the available personnel to sustain on-site systems, data, and application resources. This is what is making cloud services so attractive to credit unions today.”
Credit unions relying on in-house legacy systems need reliable methods of preventing data loss and the ability to quickly recover from unexpected outages. Beyond managing everyday credit union workloads, among the cloud’s chief advantages are security and disaster recovery. According to Gartner, the cloud-security market represents the fastest-growing information security technology and services segment.
“As a financial services entity, security is of paramount important to every credit union,” Schwartz points out. “Cloud services providers take extraordinary measures to ensure that data is secure and protected.” And in the event of data intrusion, a natural or man-made calamity such as a flood or a fire, rapid disaster recovery represents a powerful component of a qualified cloud services provider’s role in offsite IT systems management. “The optimal goal is to limit downtime and restore data quickly and efficiently,” Schwartz adds. “A qualified cloud services firm will affirm that these are two critical areas that are of immeasurable importance — especially in the environment that credit unions face today. Data needs to be secure, and information needs to be quickly recoverable. Period.”
As more credit unions across the country are learning every day, embracing innovative strategies is key to success. The cloud plays an increasingly important role keeping credit unions’ businesses moving forward, and it’s doing so with enhanced data recovery, greater security, and real peace of mind.
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