To manage complex IT networks, bank and credit union IT administrators need the proper tools to monitor the network, maintain patches, apply anti-malware, and troubleshoot network issues effectively. With constant technological change and increasingly strict regulatory guidelines, many community financial institutions struggle to efficiently administer these tasks and meet examiner expectations.
To counter these mounting pressures, community financial institutions are, or should be, looking for ways to more efficiently manage their networks. Often, outsourcing this function and the underlying IT operations proves to be the most effective and efficient solution, but some financial institutions are hesitant to outsource or have misconceptions when it comes to outsourcing their IT needs.
Some of the top myths about outsourcing IT network management include:
- Outsourcing is too expensive
While it is true that outsourcing can be expensive, the benefits have proven to consistently outweigh the cost. Outsourcing IT network management removes routine, repetitive tasks for your staff so your team can work on higher value projects, and distributes the work to ensure you maintain business continuity. Additionally, an outsourced provider typically has certified engineers who will monitor devices, maintain patch updates, and help you resolve complex issues, even when your employees are away from the office.
- A local provider is better because they can come to our location to fix a problem
It is simply no longer necessary for IT partners to be onsite to manage a network. In fact, it may be difficult to find a local vendor with the banking technology and regulatory expertise required to meet examiner expectations.
An experienced outsourced IT services provider can help your institution recover quickly from unexpected business outages in your community. If a disaster does occur, local providers actually add a level of risk as they could also be out of service as well, increasing your recovery time and putting your organization at risk. The right IT partner understands the nuances of the financial services industry and can provide uninterrupted service, no matter the distance or circumstance.
- Without a bad exam, everything must be okay
Regardless of location and size, small community banks and credit unions are under most of the same regulations as larger institutions, forcing a small IT staff to be well-versed in all regulatory guidance from cybersecurity to disaster recovery to meet examiner expectations. Auditors and examiners expect thorough documentation to prove that the institution’s daily practices match its defined policies and procedures. Financial institutions should not wait for a negative review finding to take a proactive approach to network management. Working with service providers that have dedicated staff and experts who understand the financial industry’s regulatory requirements and best practices ensures the required planning and reporting is completed in a timely manner.
- Outsourcing replaces the institution’s IT personnel
There are hundreds of tasks that a small IT staff must complete on a regular basis to keep the bank’s operations running efficiently. Many community financial institutions have limited in-house resources dedicated to IT network functions. If a critical staff member goes on a vacation, is out sick, or leaves the bank, it can be difficult for the institution to manage the network effectively and maintain compliance.
Outsourcing helps to augment the bank’s current staff to act as an extension of the IT team. An IT partner can provide bank IT employees with more time to work on strategic projects, support front-line employees and focus on other revenue-generating activities. With an outsourced IT service provider, financial institutions gain an entire team of IT professionals equipped with advanced technology experience to support their IT needs. The staff is empowered, not replaced.
- It’s better to do everything with the core provider
Without a doubt, the core banking platform is central to all financial institutions. However, you may be taking unnecessary risk by relying on them for all your needs. An IT services provider can help alleviate the stress by evaluating the infrastructure of the bank without bias, and eliminating the unnecessary hardware, processes and tasks, helping with overall management and ongoing cost. Whether it be network management, security, or compliance, it is unlikely your core will match the expertise a specialized partner can offer. Network management providers offer unbiased advice, while also diversifying your risk.
Many financial institutions struggle with choosing the right solutions partner. Smaller institutions in particular can benefit from outsourcing or partnering with a provider who offers network management solutions exclusively tailored for community banks and credit unions. Having a system in place that offers key features such as patch management, third party patching, antivirus, hardware and software inventory management, vulnerability remediation, and compliance-focused reporting to verify that your financial institution’s network is adhering to your policies and procedures is critical in today’s environment.
Safe Systems’ NetComply® One IT Network Management service is designed to help ensure community financial institutions operate even more efficiently, securely and compliantly, while also decreasing costs, increasing performance, and improving an organization’s overall compliance posture. NetComply One streamlines your IT strategy and sets you up for success. Safe Systems’ IT network management solution was built using experience from managing IT networks for more than 300 financial institutions. Safe Systems’ combined years of banking knowledge and regulatory expertise allows us to truly understand banking IT operations, the unique platform configurations of financial institutions as well as the enhanced regulatory requirements.
For more information, read our white paper, “Dispelling 5 IT Outsourcing Myths within Financial Institutions.”