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Very few organizations are as heavily regulated - or such prime targets for cyber-criminals - as credit unions. In the past, credit union IT managers had to spend a tremendous amount of time researching, justifying, acquiring, installing and maintaining multiple security technologies in order to protect their members’ critical information and assets. Many credit unions, even larger ones with significant in-house IT talent, are now making the move away from the enormous burdens of securing their credit union with internal resources and turning to managed security services. New York-based Power Federal Credit Union is one credit union that insisted upon the absolute highest levels of protection possible, so they chose to partner with Perimeter E-Security and their unique ‘Security in the Cloud’ model.
Of course, Power FCU did not make this important decision to outsource their security to Perimeter without performing due diligence. They developed a complete RFI (Request For Information) and did extensive research into various managed security systems and vendors. Once the list was narrowed down to four managed security services providers, the credit union performed both background and reference checks on them. According to Mark Baker, Senior VP and CIO at Power FCU, “we were only looking for big players that offered powerful enterprise-wide security systems.” He goes on to explain that “we did not want to install an appliance and be responsible for managing it and constantly checking it.”
After much fact finding, due diligence, and demonstrations, Mark and his experienced IT staff made the choice of working with Perimeter. “We were really impressed with Perimeter’s people and technology, but more importantly we were in philosophical agreement with them about how to handle our security infrastructure,” recalls Mark. Like every credit union senior executive, Mark and his fellow managers did not take this decision lightly. As Mark says, “security is such a sensitive issue and there are so many threats out on the Internet that we needed a company with deep resources and the very best security experts working for them.” Perimeter eSecurity, with over 60 fully integrated security services, 170+ employees, and 1250+ financial institution clients, fit that bill exactly.
With five branches, over 100 employees, and 32,000 members to support, Mark and his staff of five stay quite busy with day to day support activities and running their in-house core data processing system. He was pleased to report that “the rollout was flawless. We now have this technical presence on the Internet in front of us that essentially is a huge fortress.” In fact, Perimeter prides itself on offering complete plug & play solutions and uses the term “No Assembly Required” to characterize what they do. All e-mail, Internet access and third party vendor connectivity is routed through Perimeter’s unique centralized architecture that delivers complete redundancy, continuous upgrades, and a 24/7 engineering staff of trained subject-matter experts. Mark especially appreciates this last feature because he knows from twenty years of IT experience that “elite technical skill sets are hard to find, hard to retain, and quite expensive.”
Following the old adage of “trust but verify,” Power FCU hires other experienced security companies to perform periodic penetration tests of their network. Mark describes the results: “not one of the firms that we have hired to try and penetrate our defenses has had in any luck. Actually, they have never even come close to being successful at getting through Perimeter’s systems.” When it comes to outsourcing, it seems that security is the perfect fit – from both manageability and cost perspectives. Mark confirms that “Perimeter offers fair pricing, especially when you consider the level of protection that we receive.” He adds that “we can all sleep better at night knowing that Perimeter is backing us. They really are best in breed and deliver exceptional support and service.”