Technology Best Practices, Part II

Affinity Plus FCU secures system access.

November 05, 2010
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Changing system access requests (SAR) from a manual procedure to an automated process was an essential step in the ongoing evolution of system access security at Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union, St. Paul, Minn.

The $1.28 billion asset credit union won a 2010 CUNA Technology Council Best Practices Award in the Information Security/Privacy Category for its new automated procedure.

Affinity Plus Federal had continually refined its SAR process over the years to address the varied types of staffing and levels of security found within the credit union’s workforce.

Technology best practices
The time required to complete a system access request has been reduced from days to hours, giving IT staff more time to tackle other projects say Affinity Plus FCU’s Keith Malbrue, chief operations officer (left), and Cary Tonne, vice president, information technology.

The result was a complex process involving the input of multiple employees and teams within the information technology (IT) staff. This manual system was prone to occasional “misses,” which were highlighted during internal and external audits, prompting additional checks and balances.

A comprehensive solution

Lengthy conversations between IT and human resources (HR) set the objectives for a new SAR solution that would:

  • Automate the submission process from a centralized source through to completion and back to the submitter with confirmation;
  • Provide comprehensive audit tracking and real time updating of the submission’s current status;
  • Offer the ability to submit multiple types of requests through a single portal;
  • Provide a comprehensive oversight mechanism to notify management and HR if the process isn’t completed in the established timeframe;
  • Satisfy audits and regulators’ reviews; and
  • Meet regulatory requirements, such as those set by the National Credit Union Administration.

Next: A SAFE process

IT Project Manager

Marsha Kimes
November 16, 2010 12:02 pm
Efficiency and consistency, what a great best practice!

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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