With more people working remotely, financial institutions are looking to offer more secure and flexible connections to their data and services, which often leads institutions on a search to find a managed service provider (MSP) to help safeguard their employees and consumer data. And, with constantly-changing regulations, financial institutions need a technology provider that can help fill security gaps, strengthen the IT department and protect their customers.
Just last year, the FDIC released a letter, FIL-19-2019, encouraging financial institutions – as part of their due diligence – to ensure business continuity and incident response risks are adequately addressed in service provider contracts.
So, what does that mean for financial institutions?
With an amplified security risk when working with external vendors and in accordance with the FDIC’s recommendations, financial institutions need to work with an MSP that has already taken the steps to support secure and compliant operations – holding a SOC certification and following security standards set by the institution.
With the rise of the remote workforce, having a SOC certified technology provider ensures the services being provided are secure and effective. Using a SOC certified technology provider is no longer just a recommendation – it’s a necessity – to protect financial institutions and consumer data. Whether all employees are on-location at the branch or all employees are working from home, choosing a technology provider that is SOC certified can make all the difference in securing the institution’s workforce.
There are many advantages to partnering with a SOC certified MSP, including leveraging access to extra security and resources, expanding the institution’s IT department to help protect all employees at all branches and adding an additional layer of safety for consumers and their personal information. Not to mention, utilizing a SOC certified MSP can help speed up the institution’s audit process when it comes to vendor due diligence and reviewing the IT infrastructure.
Additionally, utilizing a SOC certified MSP to provide security services ensures the provider is audited annually to verify that the provider is delivering on their promises, which can benefit both the MSP and the financial institution because the audit guarantees that the MSP is sustaining compliance and knows what to do in the event of a hack or attack on the institution.
The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) created the Service Organization Control (SOC) reports, which was designed to safeguard regulated organizations and oversee technology service providers. To minimize risk and exposure, any organization hosting consumer records in the cloud must meet the criteria of the report in order to obtain certification.
To receive the SOC II certification, an unbiased third-party auditing firm must review the MSPs policies and procedures, conducting a thorough assessment of the company. In the assessment, MSPs are required to prove that they not only have established procedures but also follow strict information security policies. A successful audit proves that the MSP abides by the AICPA’s trust principles and then, obtains its SOC certification. For financial institutions, this guarantees that their consumer’s data remains secure, available, confidential and private.
Ultimately, for financial institutions, selecting a secure technology provider is more important than ever before. Partnering with an MSP – an extension of the IT department – helps ensure that all of the institution’s branches are safe and secure, and working with an MSP that already takes the necessary steps to maintain secure operations and uphold compliance can help financial institutions stay protected.
Jeremy Baumruk is the Director of Professional Services at Xamin, a leading provider of managed IT services for highly regulated and reputation-sensitive companies. For more information, please visit https://www.xamin.com/.