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Surveyed your internet vulnerability?

You may find it hard to find a service not dependent on the internet

Obvious and mediocre won’t be found here—but “Why didn’t I think of that?” will! Challenging the banking status quo is Dan “The Wombat” Fisher’s personal mission. Obvious and mediocre won’t be found here—but “Why didn’t I think of that?” will! Challenging the banking status quo is Dan “The Wombat” Fisher’s personal mission.

Everybody uses the internet! Okay, so what? Here’s what: The obvious truth of that statement means the internet has become the mission critical system that you do not control! That is right, you have move almost all of your communication and interaction with the customer using internet facing products and services and you do not have any control over the internet.

Here’s a question for you. Just thinking internally, how many services and applications do you host today inside your enterprise (meaning onsite at your institution on your servers) that depend on internet? Second question: When was the last time you completed an internet vulnerability survey? Yes, an internet vulnerability survey.

If you have a phone system that uses Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and it is in house, that is one mission critical system. Where is your voicemail? In the event of a failure, you may have a major problem times two, but if your internet goes down and you use the same infrastructure to provide access to your network through phone sets, and it goes down, you have just hit the TRIFECTA! Oh, you thought you had Power over Ethernet switches and you just found out that your switches do not have a UPS battery backup?

How many services are web enabled?

Who is your Internet Service Provider (ISP)? You should have more than one and they should be entirely separate. Check, you may find out that both ISP connections are delivered using the same communication infrastructure.

How a many services internally to you rely on for the internet. Let’s just mention a few;

1.         Email

2.         Core service provider (yes, this is a big one).

3.         Check Capture (branch)

4.         Kelly Blue Book or NADA for auto loans

5.         Mortgage origination

6.         New account applications

7.         New account platform

If your primary internet disappears, what is your back-up plan for all these services?

Next on your list is to determine what systems rely on a service provider, your network and the internet. A good example is if you are an in-house bank that uses a service bureau to provide the Internet Banking application. Simply stated, a bank customer accesses your Internet Bank hosted by XYZ vendor, and then XYZ vendor forwards the customer inquiry to your system. If your network is down, the customer sees a “Not available” message. If it is during business hours you get calls. If not, then you will most certainly receive complaints. Even if it’s the vendor that has internet issues, the customer is still impacted and you will received calls and complaints.

Conducting an internet survey could be eye-opening. The best thing you could do right now is to try and determine every direct and indirect application and/or service that your institution offers that is internet dependent. Then ask the question: What would your customer do if the internet was not available. That would be a great starting point! If you have a good idea of where they would go, then you can start now to be ready!

—The Wombat!

Dan Fisher

Dan Fisher is president and CEO of The Copper River Group, a consulting firm headquartered in Fargo, N. D., that focuses on technology and payment systems research and consulting for community financial institutions. For nearly 30 years, Fisher has worked in the financial industry using technology to improve the bottom line. He was CIO of Community First Bankshares (now part of Bank of the West), has served as a director of the Federal Reserve Board of Minneapolis, the chairman of the American Bankers Association Payment Systems Committee, and was a member of the Independent Community Bankers of America Payments Committee. Fisher has written numerous articles on banking technology and the payments system. He has authored or co-authored six books and recently published a book titled, "Capturing Your Customer! The New Technology of Remote Deposit." You can contact Fisher at [email protected] or at 701-293-6222.
P.S. To understand Dan's nickname, check out "About the Wombat" on his website.       

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