WASHINGTON—The CEOs of credit unions and banks across the country have all be sent a letter from six major trade groups, including CUNA, urging them to join Sheltered Harbor.
A non-profit subsidiary of the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, Sheltered Harbor was created to protect customers, financial institutions, and public confidence in the financial system if a catastrophic event like a cyberattack causes critical systems—including backups—to fail, according to the organization.
Implementing the Sheltered Harbor standard prepares institutions to provide customers timely access to balances and funds in such a worst-case scenario. As of March, Sheltered Harbor members accounted for 71% of U.S. deposit accounts and 55% of U.S. retail brokerage client assets, according to Sheltered Harbor.
“The reason for Sheltered Harbor is simple: once improbable threat scenarios are now plausible. In response, traditional business continuity and disaster recovery planning is not enough,” the letter states. “The only way to minimize the impact of a devastating disruption is to prepare for it. Implementing the Sheltered Harbor standard prepares institutions to provide customers timely access to balances and funds in such a worst-case scenario.
How It Works
“How does Sheltered Harbor work? Financial institutions back up critical customer account data each night in the Sheltered Harbor standard format, either managing their own secure data vault or using a participating service provider,” the letter continues. “The data vault is owned and managed by your institution, is unchangeable, and is completely separated from your institution’s infrastructure, including all backups. When your institution completes the requirements for data vaulting, you will be awarded Sheltered Harbor certification. This designation and accompanying seal communicate to key audiences, such as customers, industry peers, and regulatory agencies, that your critical customer account data is protected.”
In addition to CUNA, the other trade singing the letter include the American Bankers Association, Bank Policy Institute, Financial Services Forum, Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, and Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. Each is a founding members of Sheltered Harbor.