LAYTON, Utah—It’s a myth that a credit union is better served by keeping servers on site rather than in the cloud.
Xerex Bueno, chief technical officer at CUProdigy, the technology CUSO here, says buying a firewall is not enough to deter today’s dangers such as ransomware and dangers to even encrypted traffic.
“We invest very heavily in security,” Bueno explained. And since credit unions by and large aren’t capable of making the ongoing investments to protect themselves, “we provide firewall-as-a-service” using a next-generation firewall CUProdigy has in partnership with Palo Alto Systems.
The firm deploys cloud services and also manages and monitors those services. CUProdigy further offers disaster-recovery-as-a-service and infrastructure-as-a-service as well.
Bueno’s remarks (along with those of CUProdigy president Anthony Montgomery) are part of a CUToday series on “fake news” in the credit union community—myths and misperceptions of credit union members or officers that may call for further reflection and action.
“Credit union need firewalls on their side,” said Montgomery, adding they still need them to protect their PCs. But CUs also need to clear out their servers and move them to the cloud.
“Technology can be an Achilles’ Heel for credit unions,” Bueno suggested. “Credit unions are not in the technology business. They specialize in member services and loans.”
What credit unions must be cautious of, said Bueno, is putting too much faith in the myth “I can do it better on my own.”
“Take that time we free up and reinvest it on the business side,” he advises, saying the result is that a credit union will be able to achieve integration of the business and technology operations.
Montgomery gives as an example a California client that CUProdigy has helped. “We’re lifting their entire data center into the cloud.” Achieving economies of scale with the larger server means, “We can deliver the same services at cheaper costs,” he says.
CU's System Found to be 'Totally Lacking'
Bueno points to another credit union where the National Credit Union Administration found its disaster recovery system “totally lacking.”
“We delivered a solution where we had a successful (disaster recovery) test in about two weeks,” he told CUToday.info. “The cloud typically solves a lot of struggles credit unions face on a day-to-day basis.”
Montgomery pointed out there are still misperceptions about the cloud and considerable ambiguity about it that are slowing adoption rates by credit unions.
“Ten people will give you 10 different answers,” he said. But “if you have to buy hardware to be in the cloud, it’s not a cloud solution. Really that’s a service bureau, just putting a new marketing spin on it.”
Credit unions that use the CUProdigy solution range in assets from $6 million to $750 million, according to Bueno.
“We level the playing field. We provide high-end cloud technology to smaller and medium-sized credit unions,” he said. “They now can benefit from the latest cloud technology only the biggest ones could afford.”
Still, among the most prevalent of myths in credit union management is a belief that there is a loss of control if data is stored in the cloud. That, he said, “couldn’t be farther from the truth. We guarantee your data stays here in the United States, either in Salt Lake City or Denver. We provide access to it through a web portal, and we have multiple levels of firewalls.”
Montgomery touts the benefits of a private cloud versus a public one. “With a public cloud, you can lose control of your data. They have the right to move your data, push it across the United States or even overseas.”
That could lead to a fine if an institution has a regulatory requirement to keep data in the United States. “Credit unions should be mindful of that,” he says.
Bueno has written a white paper about the cloud that CUToday has published. It can be viewed at http://www.cutoday.info/content/download/24516/202369/CU_Prodigy%E2%80%93Cracking_the_Cloud.pdf