‘Blended Threats’ Need Blended Protection

Combating these new, complex challenges faced by CUs requires intelligence sharing.

April 20, 2013
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Threats faced by credit unions today have never been more sophisticated and complex.

Safeguarding information, accounts, systems, and processes is increasingly challenging to manage as these threats evolve into “blended threats”—the merging of traditional and new risks.

While the traditional risks continue, the growing concern is over these combined, more intelligent, and advanced attacks that exploit a mix of physical, fraud, business continuity, and digital avenues.

Criminals combine malware, phishing, and sophisticated social engineering strategies to effectively evade defense strategies. These attacks are effective because many audit processes lag behind in detecting gaps that stretch across various departments.

Combating these new threats requires intelligence sharing. A coordinated approach has a better chance of addressing gaps and, better yet, discovers new gaps. To accomplish this, credit unions must improve their data visibility across multiple sources to enable greater identity capabilities.

A good place to start is in the risk assessment stage, collectively identifying current capabilities and gaps. Various teams can then work collaboratively to design solid security measures to mitigate exposure risk.

Organizations might have many approaches in how to bring these various disciplines together to work as a cohesive unit. Some might consolidate risk groups under a single management structure and others might introduce independent audit or risk management groups to look across different areas.

While one size might not fit all, one thing is for sure: Each team must work closely with each other, effectively communicate, and collectively define processes to identify and close gaps.

By the CUNA BITS Liaison Task Force.

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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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