An article titled “Report Shows Fewer Financial Services Data Breaches in 2016” recently flashed across my screen the other day—well at least the headline did, not sure there was much of an article to consume. Pretty typical in this day and age: big headlines and white space are the rage. For a few seconds I thought quietly about what I should do in 2017 based on the kismet of this headline grabbing my attention. Should I just be confident that we are catching up and lessening the impact of bad actors against our organizations? Should I double down and go for an even bigger drop next year? Should I just smile and say all of this hype over cybersecurity is more sales driven than anything else?
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And after a few seconds of coming to no real conclusions about what to do, I quietly murmured “damn” under my breath, and said the only thing I could count on for what to do in 2017 was the fact that citing “headlines” as the validation of my business model would certainly get me fired. First, national statistics are not local ones. Second, there is no “analysis” in simple statements of data. And, third, there is no real way to rally people to what to do next if I do not actually give my opinion over simply stating the facts.
You might say, “DUH, Randy. What are you getting at? I know this.” Is this about data breaches or something else?
Actually both. Do your homework and dig deep into your local situation and experience on data breaches and risk mitigating strategies. Think for yourself and do not be too swayed by industry headlines—it’s very easy to overpay (the most common mistake by any business for most things). But even bigger than that, I worry we have severely under-invested in analysis in our networks for a long time. We have under-invested in teaching, hiring, and maintaining assets who can tell the difference between “analysis” and in your face data and reports, between local perspective and canned outside perspectives, and over-invested in data collection, data storage, and data processing. And the lack of balance in our investments will lead to our business plans being too narrow, and too reliant on vendor headlines than our own skills.
The number one thing credit unions can invest in for 2017 are analyst skills, analyst resources, and analyst capabilities. Armed with these skills, trusted and local – then credit unions will then be able to maximize the business plans going local. Tell Me Why I’m Wrong.