Be cyber ready

By Camden R. Fine, president and CEO of ICBA

You can never be quite sure of what tomorrow will hold. Will other natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey or Hurricane Irma devastate our communities? Will another large-scale data breach compromise consumer financial information? Will hackers manage to find their way into another company’s server—or into a bank’s data?

These are all questions that weigh on business leaders’ minds, regardless of the industry. We can’t escape them, but we can heed warnings, anticipate the worst and proactively develop plans to protect our customers and businesses.

October may be National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, but community banks are dedicated to protecting our customers’ personal and financial data today and every day. This is part of what makes our relationship banking business model so special. Customer protection is at the heart of community banks’ cyber strategy, just as it is for disaster preparedness or any other business recovery plan.

We must remember that cybercriminals are sophisticated actors seeking to exploit personal and systemic vulnerabilities for financial gain. That’s why ICBA is focused on helping community bankers address the growing challenge of cybersecurity, arming them with the information, resources and partnerships they need to safeguard their institutions and their customers.

As a first line of defense, ICBA is an actively engaged member of the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC) and the Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council (FSSCC). The majority of community banks are also members of FS-ISAC. FS-ISAC is the global financial industry’s go-to resource for cyber and physical threat intelligence analysis and sharing. If banks are not members of the FS-ISAC, they can share cyberthreat and mitigation information through the Department of Homeland Security’s Automated Indicator Sharing portal. Participating in these groups is key to protecting our institutions and our customers.

ICBA is also a founding board member of Sheltered Harbor, an industry-led organization that is part of the FS-ISAC. It provides rapid restoration of customer account data after a cyberattack or other debilitating event. Similar to a fallout shelter, Sheltered Harbor is the answer if all other disaster recovery options have been exhausted. Community banks and financial institutions of all sizes have the opportunity to become members of Sheltered Harbor—a major step toward being prudent and poised in today’s “when, not if” cyber reality 11).

Sheltered Harbor combines proactive, secure data storage with a cooperative recovery plan to get your customers through a major cyberattack faster than you would on your own. By storing your institution’s data in Sheltered Harbor’s industry-standard format, a peer institution or core service provider can restore account information, resulting in minimized impact to customers. Participating in Sheltered Harbor is affordable, proactive and smart.

When the worst-case scenario could happen tomorrow, it’s important to know you’re not alone. You have resources and groups like FS-ISAC, FSSCC and Sheltered Harbor looking out for your bank and your customers. You also have ICBA, coordinating, advocating and communicating what you need on the cyber front.

Community bankers, we are in this cyber war together. No matter what tomorrow holds, you can rest assured that ICBA is there with you every step of the way.

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