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How to Evaluate and Choose a Data Privacy Management Solution for Your Credit Union

How to Evaluate and Choose a Data Privacy Management Solution for Your Credit Union

Data often represents a credit union’s lifeblood — its most valuable asset, so to speak. A financial institution’s data may be directly linked to mission-critical operations, ROI, and overall profitability. Credit unions collect a diverse variety of data points, including personal data and financial data. These data types can be quite valuable and members of the criminal element have recognized this point. As a result, credit union data is a prime target for theft and other forms of compromise. 

This is where data privacy management software can work to a credit union’s advantage. The right data privacy management solution will serve as a perfect mechanism for protecting sensitive data and preserving data integrity. 

Why is Data Privacy Important for a Credit Union? 

Credit unions are prime targets for data theft and it’s easy to see why: these financial institutions collect both personal data and financial data. This accounts for two of the most sensitive data types. Place this sensitive data in the wrong hands and lives can literally be ruined in a matter of hours. It’s easy to see why data privacy matters for credit unions, banks, and other financial institutions.  

Companies and organizations across this business sector must implement data privacy measures — often, rather extreme and robust measures — in order to achieve and maintain both legal compliance and regulatory compliance too. Noncompliance can result in significant fines and penalties, making this a key risk management concern that credit unions must consider. 

Robust data privacy and security measures are also important for a credit union’s reputation and public image. Consumers shy away from doing business with a financial institution that has been linked to a data breach or data theft incident. Bad PR can also cause severe harm to a credit union’s public image, with some financial institutions seeing irreparable reputation damage. 

Why Does a Company Need to Protect its Data From Theft and Compromise? 

A data theft incident can result in long-term — or even permanent — reputation damage. Even the best, most experienced public relations firm may not be able to negate the adverse impact of a data breach incident. 

Trust is essential for success in the financial industry, including credit unions. A data breach certainly leads to a loss of trust since consumers expect that their credit union will store their personal and financial information in a manner that maintains privacy. 

Due to its value or potential value, a credit union’s data can be sold for exorbitant prices, with the highest bidder walking away with a treasure trove of information.  Personal data and corresponding financial data sets can fetch tremendous sums, even outside the “protection” of the dark web. This places credit unions at high risk of data compromise such as data theft, including the theft that occurs with ransomware. 

What’s Affected By a Credit Union’s Data Privacy and Data Security? 

Data protection measures are essential for achieving and maintaining the following. 

Legal compliance – There are numerous laws and bylaws that require organizations to retain data. This legislation may call upon credit unions to retain specific types of data for a matter of months, years, decades, or even indefinitely. 

Regulatory compliance – The financial space represents one of the most heavily-regulated industries. As such, there are countless oversight groups and regulatory bodies that may issue data-related mandates. These mandates span many aspects of data security, from specific security features to requirements for a particular level of security. Data retention requirements are also commonplace. In cases where a credit union isn’t required to retain data, the organization may still opt to retain that information since it can be essential for proving compliance. 

Client/consumer trust – Credit unions need to cultivate a sense of trust in order to succeed. Trust is essential in the financial space and without it, a credit union, bank or financial service provider will fall by the wayside. In fact, the mere perception of untrustworthiness is all it takes for a credit union to find itself in a bad position. 

Business Strategies – Company data can be an exceedingly useful tool for the creation of a new company strategy or the modification of an existing one. Data-driven decision-making relies upon a credit union’s data stores. 

A credit union’s many processes and systems can generate large volumes of data — data that is perfect for developing a business strategy or making other important decisions. But data also represents a liability, which necessitates a robust data privacy management solution. 

How to Choose a Data Privacy Management Solution for a Credit Union

Finding the ideal security and data privacy management software solution can be difficult if you don’t know what to look for in these systems. The following process will guide your credit union through the process of choosing a data privacy management solution using your challenges and needs as a guide. 

What security and privacy management meeds affect your credit union?  –  What are your credit union’s security and data privacy management needs? Create a list of each need, such as the addition of a firewall, improved encryption, and real-time machine learning-driven security alerts. 

What are your most significant security and privacy management challenges?  – What are your credit union’s most significant data-related challenges? Namely, what are the pain points that involve or affect data privacy. List out each challenge and the solution that would allow you to address that challenge (keeping in mind that you may not be aware of the ideal solution). Consider the following example.

  • Challenge: Fixed permissions on user roles leads to unacceptable data exposure.
  • Solution: Tools to create custom user roles with full permissions management capabilities.

Prioritizing your credit union’s data privacy management capabilities – At this point, you’ve determined which data management capabilities would help your credit union to overcome challenges and improve processes. Now, it’s time to prioritize the items on your list. Once you have a priority list, you can make note of which items are essential; in other words, “deal breakers.” 

Looking for a stand-alone toolset vs a module within a larger software system – Finding a stand-alone data privacy management platform can be difficult. Ideally, your credit union’s data privacy management tools should be clustered to form a module that is paired with other toolsets/modules for features such as data collection, data security, user permissions, and data access management,  along with general risk management functionalities. 

Leveraging Data Privacy Management Solutions for Credit Unions

Often, the ideal credit union data security and data privacy management solution is one that is built to suit a financial institution’s unique needs. 

Credit unions stand to see significant benefits from the use of a custom data privacy management software platform. Security and data privacy management features can be found in the form of a stand-alone platform. In other cases, data privacy and security management features may be clustered together as a module that exists within a larger platform, such as a larger risk management software solution. Whatever the situation, credit unions stand to see a variety of advantages from a platform with data management capabilities. 

At iTech, we specialize in helping companies make the most of their data using the latest technology. Our range of expertise is broad and it includes everything from data management tools to security and risk management platforms. 

The iTech team begins by learning about your Credit Union, its data collection strategy, challenges, expectations, and objectives. Then, we will develop a data privacy management solution for your credit union; one that aligns with your strategy and helps your organization to eliminate and/or overcome challenges — all while promoting profitability and delivering a strong ROI. Reach out to the iTech team today and let’s begin a dialogue about your data privacy management needs.