News & Insights

 
Insights5th September 2019

How Microsoft 365 Can Help Eliminate Challenges Faced by Credit Unions – Part 3: Security and Compliance

Introduction

Credit Union management of today will have contrasting emotions, and hesitations, when it comes to digital transformation and embracing cloud solutions. On the one hand, digital transformation is heavily motivated by the increased expectations of members and staff. Members want the latest technologies and the ability to manage their accounts from anywhere. In an increasingly connected world, employees also desire greater freedom, flexibility and the ability to carry out their work in the most efficient manner possible. However, one of the biggest challenges in digital transformation is ensuring security, privacy and compliance.

While members expect the latest in member-facing technology, they also need assurance that their data is protected. This challenge is compounded by the need for credit unions to stay compliant with, amongst other things, Central Bank guidelines. In fact, in a report published at the start of 2019, The Central Bank identified “strengthening Credit Union core foundations across governance, risk management and operational capabilities” as a key focus for the year ahead.

Enhanced Security and Compliance with Microsoft 365

In previous posts we have identified the many opportunities granted by Microsoft 365 in terms of optimising operations, creating a modern workplace, enhancing productivity and collaboration, and intelligent communication. However, one of the fundamental components of Microsoft 365 is its robust security and compliance structure. As opposed to the standalone Office 365 offering, Microsoft 365 is an integrated platform that brings together Office 365, Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) and Windows 10. EMS is an intelligent security and management platform that is designed to help companies to further empower their employees while also increasing security. It is this component that makes Microsoft 365 a more complete and secure solution.

In this article we will highlight the specific elements that make Microsoft 365 the perfect solution for Credit Unions that want to drive efficiency and productivity while staying secure and compliant.

Microsoft 365: An Integrated, End-to-end Security and Compliance Solution

As an end-to-end solution, Microsoft 365 offers a comprehensive set of features and unique intelligence across critical endpoints in today’s mobile-first, cloud-first world. Microsoft 365 users have access to Microsoft Compliance Centre and Microsoft Compliance Manager. The latter provides you with visibility of your Compliance Score Card, a grading system which can be improved upon through recommended adjustments and configurations.

The layout of Microsoft Compliance Manager reflects Microsoft’s three-pronged approach to compliance.

  • Assess – This section shows you at a glance how your organisation is doing with respect to data protection and compliance.
  • Protect – Provides you with high-level information regarding data loss prevention (DLP), third-party apps in use, shared files and shadow IT apps. Information governance and access controls are key features of this section.
  • Respond – Alerts you to regulatory requests that you might want to act upon. eDiscovery and auditing are key elements in this section.

A comprehensive set of compliance features within Microsoft 365 helps credit unions to meet the with the increased demands of regulatory and legal authorities, while remaining GDPR compliant.

Microsoft 365’s Robust Security Framework

The growing trend of the flexible and mobile workforce means companies need to be more vigilant around cyber-attacks and data breaches.  Microsoft’s response was to place added emphasis on security with the integrated Microsoft 365 solution. For Credit Unions, there are now three main layers of protection within Microsoft 365.

  1. Identity and Access Management – The vast majority of data breaches occur when a hacker steals a user’s identity. With Microsoft 365, partners can help customers protect identities and proactively prevent compromised identities from being abused. Two factor authentication adds an extra layer of protection. Organisations also have the power to limit access to certain resources while implementing stringent password protection policies.
  2. Information Protection – Employees are given better tools to safeguard company data and private information. Office 365 Advanced Security Management allows Credit Unions to gain insights around suspicious activity. Highly sensitive information such as financial reports or credit card details can be encrypted end-to-end and monitored to prevent accidental leaking. Organisations are given the opportunity to shape the entire cloud environment by setting polices around the accessing and sharing of company data.
  3. Threat Protection – Cybersecurity threats can come in many shapes and forms. A host of threat protection applications add to a more secure cloud environment. These include Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection, Office 365 Threat Intelligence, Office 365 Security Centre, Windows Defender Security Centre and Azure Security Centre. This data-driven approach to cyber security helps navigate through an increasingly sophisticated threatscape.

Productivity and collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and the Office 365 suite of applications, are arguably the most attractive features for organisations looking to upgrade to Microsoft’s cloud solution. However, without proper protection, these applications count for very little. With Microsoft 365, Credit Unions have access to a host of world class security and compliance applications. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, ActionPoint can help you to assess your risks, define security policies and walk you through the many layers of protection you gain by upgrading to Microsoft 365.

Want to know more how Microsoft 365 can enhance your organisation? Speak to one of our team at https://actionpoint.ie/contact/