It might have taken some time, but you have finally found what you think and hope is the right candidate to fill your bank’s IT network administrator position. Today’s community bank relies on the IT department to maintain its hardware and software and to ensure all systems are available when needed. The IT department is also responsible for monitoring an array of on-going IT concerns like antivirus status, patch compliance and email security, to name just a few, so ensuring the new IT administrator is managing all this efficiently and effectively is very important.
Once the new IT administrator has been on the job for at least several months, if not longer, how can you really measure their success and make sure they are efficiently managing this crucial aspect of the financial institution? There are a few key areas to evaluate.
How are they able to handle and recover from downtime?
Ensuring all systems are working correctly is a crucial aspect of the IT administrator position. Anytime one of the systems is down, be it the teller system, ATM network or online banking portals, it affects customer service expectations and causes a disruption in the financial institution.
Your bank’s IT administrator should be able to quickly investigate, analyze and resolve complex hardware problems on the bank’s computer systems and quickly perform advanced hardware and software repairs and support on a wide range of PC-based computers and peripherals. In addition, this individual must provide troubleshooting support for escalated software and hardware problems as well as respond to after-hours system problems in a timely and efficient manner. Financial institutions have little tolerance for downtime, so ensuring the IT administrator is able to quickly resolve technical issues and ensure the bank IT infrastructure is running smoothly is critical.
How smooth is the transition?
Ensuring a seamless transition between IT administrators is important for all banks. The new bank IT administrator should establish a new list of passwords, run a security audit and investigate and become aware of all previous processes and procedures of past administrators. These processes should be completed with little interruption for banking personnel.
Cybersecurity and Incident Response Tests
Having cyber incident response plans, policies and procedures in place is a critical aspect of compliance for financial institutions today. In addition to simply having the policies in place, a critical element is testing that these policies actually do what they claim. A comprehensive incident test can expose gaps in even robust plans and provide valuable insight into whether the incident response plan delivers its stated claims. The new bank IT administrator should perform these tests to make sure the financial institution is safe and in compliance with government regulations.
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You’re only as good as your last backup and disaster recovery test!
A backup and recovery test is an important process of assessing the effectiveness of a financial institution’s software and methods of replicating data, as well as its ability to reliably retrieve that data should the need arise. Backup and recovery testing is an essential part of a disaster recovery plan. In addition to ensuring the backup of mission critical data, testing also uncovers problems in software or processes that could lead to serious loss of data.
Insufficient testing leaves the bank vulnerable to data loss, downtime and redundancy of effort, not to mention in violation of government regulations. Backup and disaster recovery testing should be done at least yearly; however, this can be completed more frequently should the need arise or when changes are made to personnel and/or technology systems and procedures. The new bank IT administrator should run their own backup test to ensure they are familiar with the processes and systems.
People Skills — Are they able to work with people as well as machines?
In addition to showcasing stellar technical skills, IT administrators must also have good people skills. Good people skills have as much of an impact on the success of your IT administrator as their technical skills, and this area can be evaluated pretty quickly. They must showcase a good demeanor when they have to respond and interact with both customers and employees. When a problem arises, bank IT administrators need to be able to communicate with individuals about the problem, what has been done so far and ultimately how it will be resolved.
IT audit scores
Each year banks must go through an examination process with the Federal Reserve where the government agency evaluates the bank’s soundness, the level of risk involved in the bank’s transactions and activities and its compliance with banking laws and regulations. They also review the adequacy of corporate governance and the quality of the board of directors and management, as well as areas that must be strengthened to improve the bank and its overall compliance. Once the evaluation is complete, examiners will provide an overall rating for the bank. The rating is very important for the bank as it is proof of its success, soundness and compliance. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the IT administrator to ensure all things are in place for a successful evaluation and rating. This is a longer-term evaluation as this is typically conducted once a year.
A community bank’s technological assets are every bit as valuable as the money in the vault! The success of today’s community bank relies on the IT department so ensuring you have the right person leading this department and all its assets is crucial.