Are IT Budgets Poised for a Comeback?
CUs’ information technology budgets focus on three areas.
Conventional wisdom says technology is outdated in three years unless it’s upgraded or replaced. Throw in the Great Recession, and you get delayed tech investments and pent-up demand for the tools needed to run today’s high-tech business operations.
- Making vital security and infrastructure improvements;
- Striving for efficiency and productivity; and
- Supporting self-service channels and online interaction.
Credit unions put many items—now on their 2011 technology wish lists—on hold in 2009 and 2010 as they waited for the recession to ebb.
Although the national economy is still in flux, credit unions expect to relax budget restrictions in 2011 in pursuit of high-priority items, particularly security upgrades.
A critical security shift
The amount of elasticity in credit unions’ IT budgets varies with local economic conditions and the need for improved security. Kevin Prince, former chief technology officer and current consultant at Perimeter e-Security, a CUNA strategic alliance provider, says some credit unions are pushing the limits of their IT security capabilities.
Perimeter provides security solutions for financial services and other industries.
“There’s pent-up demand, and there are some things that have been held back that credit unions absolutely need to do,” Prince says.
Among the critical issues is a shift from “edge-based security,” which focuses on the connection between internal systems and the Internet, to a higher level of “end-point security,” which examines the potential for security breaches in all devices used in all aspects of operations.
“There are so many ways hackers can compromise end points now,” says Prince. “And when they do this—when they compromise a personal computer [PC] on the inside of the network, for example—those attacks very frequently can completely bypass all the edge-based security.”