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Evaluating Your Bank’s IT Management– Questions to Ask

It’s one thing to have the latest and fastest technology at your bank, but it’s another to have technology that is reliable, secure, and compliant. If your bank’s technology performance is keeping you up at night and you’re not entirely confident in your IT management (whether it’s internally run or outsourced), then it may be time to conduct an informal evaluation. Ask yourself (and your team) some key questions to either get peace of mind that everything is working as it should or confirm that it’s time to make a change.

Let’s start.

Would you rather have a print version? Download your free PDF checklist here.  

Your Technology

  • Do your employees typically sign-in to multiple platforms during the day? 
    Many banks have their core processing, reporting software, and check processing as separate systems. These are often not integrated, making it challenging to work efficiently when staff is operating several windows at a time and increasing the risk for data entry errors. Security can also be compromised because staff may leave login information in unsecured places or be tempted to use easily guessed passwords to login into applications faster.
  • Does your business have a secure email provider where employees have individual email addresses and can send encrypted emails to customers? 
    Having individual email addresses instead of a general inbox helps staff maintain direct communication and confidentiality with their customers. Without a secure email provider, staff may have to rely on mailing documentation or asking customers to visit the branch, which can impact the customer experience. Having a secure email provider also helps reduce the risk of security threats by having the appropriate firewalls needed to stay compliant.
  • Is your business operating a current version of Microsoft Office? 
    If so, is that version available at every staff computer? Having only one current version of software like Microsoft Office is just as bad as having older versions available at all staff computers. Older versions of Microsoft Office can be limited in functionality, run slower, and not offer updates regularly. Having only one current version available on one computer means staff may need to wait their turn to use that computer. Both instances affect staff productivity and the ability to stay organized, which could trickle down and affect customer service.
  • Is your bank’s server or servers located on site, with a vendor, or a data center? 
    A bank runs a significant risk of data loss when their server is located onsite whether it’s at the bank or with a vendor. Should a natural disaster or cyberattack cause a system shutdown, the bank is more likely to recover customer data AND be able to use it if the server is located at an offsite, secure data center.
  • With that said, does your business have an updated business continuity and data recovery plan? 
    Having an updated and proven business continuity and data recovery plan helps reduce the risk of your business’ data getting compromised or lost, and enables your business to stay up and running if an unfortunate event occurs. Many vendors may say they have these plans, but you need to make sure they are tested routinely. There have been many cases where vendors don’t proactively test their plans and when a natural disaster hits, it may take them days to restore your bank’s operations or they might not be able to recover the data at all.

Your Management

  • Does your current IT management have both technology and banking expertise? 
    The right IT manager has both technology and banking experience and here’s why. An IT manager with no banking experience may not be aware of all the compliance requirements that a financial institution needs. This can lead to issues with regulators. A banker without technology experience may not know many IT responsibilities are outside of troubleshooting and resolving issues. They need to monitor system performance, conduct maintenance, and stay on top of current trends, updates, and innovation.
  • If you’re managing internally, does troubleshooting and resolving IT issues cause disruptions in business operations or take staff away from working on their primary roles? 
    If you don’t have a dedicated IT professional managing your technology and need to wear another hat on top of your current role, you may find that you and your staff are spending more time working on IT than running your business. It’s hard to be strategic and serve customers when you’re busy fighting IT fires.
  • If you’re outsourcing IT management, are you satisfied with how they resolve issues? 
    When outsourcing IT, you want to make sure a vendor makes your business a priority. Do your calls get routed to a call center or do you have an account manager? Does it take days for them to respond to a message? Do you have to work with multiple vendors to solve problems? Issues happen. Things break. But, it shouldn’t be a hassle to get the service you’re paying for.
  • Does your IT manager provide cybersecurity training regularly? 
    The financial industry is the hardest hit when it comes to cyber threats. The bad actors are only getting smarter in their ability to trick your employees into clicking on links and downloading files that can corrupt systems and compromise your customers’ data. Your IT manager needs to provide cybersecurity training, so that your bank is protected against phishing, ransomware, and data breaches.
  • Does your IT manager oversee your entire infrastructure including your bank’s core and digital platforms? 
    A good IT manager ensures your systems are updated as needed and troubleshoots and resolves technical issues. A great IT manager focuses on risk management and provides support for all of your systems including your core and digital banking platforms, so you don’t have to rely on multiple vendors. This IT manager also works with your bank to ensure you have what you need for security examinations and audit requests, all to make sure your bank meets compliance standards.

Your Next Steps

Based on your answers from above, we have two questions: 1.) Do you think your bank’s technology is being managed as well as it can be? 2.) Are you confident that your systems are secure and your customers’ data is protected?

If you said yes to both questions, that’s great. Your bank’s technology is performing optimally, has failsafe security protocols in place, is helping your staff with productivity and delivering customer service, and is benefitting your bank’s bottom line. Cheers!

If you said no to both questions, it may be time to make improvements in management. There’s simply too much at stake that your bank can’t afford to have your IT function poorly managed or just working on the bare minimum.

Your Partner for Managed Network Services

Your bank deserves to have a complete technology solution that covers your entire infrastructure and is fully supported by a team that have both banking and technology expertise.

When you partner with IBT Apps, you not only can upgrade your core and digital banking platforms, but you can add Managed Network Services (MNS) and offload your IT function to experts you can trust. IBT Apps’ MNS provides your bank with end-to-end security, ongoing maintenance, examination support, and total systems management. If you ask our clients what they enjoy most about MNS, they’ll tell you we’re more than just tech support. We have the risk management protocols in place to ensure your bank stays compliant and your customers are always protected.

It’s time to take the stress and uncertainty out of managing IT. Visit our Managed Network Services page to learn how we can benefit your business and contact us to discuss your options.


Evaluate Your IT Provider With Our New Tool!

We laid out the above questions in an online evaluation. If you're interested in seeing how your IT manager/provider measure up, take the Community Bank IT Management Evaluation. It takes less than 5 minutes and you receive a score automatically and recommendations via email.

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This post was previously published on Independent Banker.