LET YOUR EMPLOYEES BE YOUR FIREWALL AGAINST CYBER ATTACKS

It’s happening: unskilled hackers are accessing sophisticated systems easily, and more often. And antivirus software can’t keep pace with advanced phishing attacks. Unintentional clicks from a single workstation can usher in ransomware, bring on a data breach or even a cyber heist. What would happen if your site went down for several days? Or if your company were fined by the government for non-compliance? Or, even more seriously, what would happen if you lost the trust of your clients?

It’s likely that your business has suffered a data breach in the past twelve months. If your clients’ personal information, including social security and credit card numbers, was not stolen, call it luck. But if easy-to-use programs are taking down Twitter, Spotify, Netflix, and so on, imagine the catastrophe when hackers turn their sites on your financial institution.  Is there anything you can do about it?  You bet there is.

It starts with education. Your employees are your most vulnerable entry point, but also your first line of defense – and your star foot soldiers. Keep them aware, compliant, and always up to speed. Send the message that you depend on them to defend the system, and they’ll become your human firewall. What’s the best tactic for delivering this information? Professional, comprehensive awareness training. Live demonstrations of actual attacks are the fastest way to familiarize employees with the latest social engineering hacker tricks, and how to respond to them.

It can be applied in day-to-day situations. You already have quality products in place: filters, firewalls and antivirus software. But you need a strategic tool that works in an in-depth capacity when attacks make it past those first-level defense mechanisms. Spam, phishing, spear-phishing, malware, ransomware, and social engineering are all now in use by hackers, but they can be conquered. With effective training, your employees will be aware of the most important current attack vectors, and will know how to defend your system while they’re doing their job.

It’s easy to get started, and affordable for businesses of all sizes. Our cloud-based service makes scheduling automated training campaigns and simulated phishing attacks quick, and the free engineering tools we give you keep your employees’ skills sets sharp. Ready to learn more? Click on:  https://www.spccompanies.com/free-technology-consultation

And remember:

It only takes one infected computer on your system to spread malware to all of your other connections, without your even knowing it’s happening.

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SEGMENTATION – WHY IT SHOULD BE A PART OF YOUR PLAN

Segmentation should be a part of any financial company’s marketing plan. This strategy allows you to divide your broad target audience into smaller sections of consumers that have showcased common needs. After all, you can’t expect that everyone in a large group will have the same expectations, so you shouldn’t be selling to everyone in the same way.

Once you’ve properly segmented your target market, you’ll have a much clearer idea of how to promote your offerings to those populations, as you’ll know which products and services would be most relevant to them.

ENHANCE YOUR MARKETING EFFORTS WITH SEGMENTATION

Whenever you segment a target audience, you’ll be breaking that market down into smaller, manageable sections so you can boost sales, improve customer service, and make your promotional efforts more efficient.

Generally, businesses can segment their market based on things like demographics, geographical location, psychographics, and behavioral data. But banks can also segment their market into non-customers, low to high value customers, and former customers, as a few examples.

  • Non-customers are individuals who are currently using other banks, but they could also include young consumers who have yet to open their first bank account. You can connect with this market segment by providing special introductory offers and finding ways to differentiate yourself from your competition. If you can prove that you’re able to provide more value than other financial companies, you might convince customers to make the switch, as well as establish long-term relationships with new banking customers.
  • Low value customers might include those with a lower income and a reduced need for financial products and services. However, this segment could also include individuals who are spreading their savings across multiple banks. These customers would need to be convinced that they should invest all of their funds with your company, as well as grow their small savings into larger investments.
  • Individuals who are considered medium to high value consumers could include those who have significant investments with your competitors. You could try attracting these consumers with special deals, but you’ll need to work harder to differentiate yourself and prove your value.
  • Former customers could include those who have switched to another bank and closed their account with you, those who are no longer using banks to invest their money, or those who have become inactive with an existing account. It’s a challenge to re-engage this audience, but if they switched because they were dissatisfied, you might be able to get them back by offering a change in the way you do business.

Once you have a clearer picture of the various market segments that you’re dealing with, you can promote your standard banking services, high-end savings options, investment opportunities, loan options, and commercial products and services to the appropriate populations. Doing so will allow you to use your resources cost-effectively, as you’ll be targeting the customers that would actually be interested in what you have to offer.

DON’T NEGLECT THE BENEFITS OF EMAIL SEGMENTATION

Email marketing is an effective way to engage with your pre-determined segments and really let the personality of your organization shine. When done correctly, the ROI for this type of marketing could be greater than that of other direct response marketing options.

By combining an effective email marketing strategy with market segmentation, you can connect with customers in a way that will generate more sales. A MailChimp analysis showed that email campaigns that were segmented had a 14% higher open rate than email campaigns that were non-segmented. This is because email segmentation allows you to send relevant messages to the many different types of customers within your broad target audience.

You can segment your emails by gender, age, location, language, and past banking behavior, as a few examples. Make subject lines interesting to entice people to open your emails. But to help ensure click-throughs, include short paragraphs and bullet points to make the content easy to digest. You can even use images to illustrate your message in an engaging way.

MAKE THINGS EASIER WITH MARKETING AUTOMATION

Marketing automation is the use of software to streamline your marketing processes, including customer segmentation. It can also help you send the right message to the right customer at the right time. Just think, your emails can be segmented then automated to help move potential customer through the funnel in a more efficient and streamlined way.

In addition to improving your online and offline marketing efforts, automation can help you save time, avoid errors, reduce costs, analyze and tweak campaigns, and schedule social media posts so they’re shared at the most opportune moments.

More importantly, market automation software could give you the tools necessary to connect with your customers at the best point in the customer journey or sales funnel. Your lead list could also become more targeted, and you could have an easier time achieving more sales while decreasing your lead conversion time.

PUTTING SEGMENTATION INTO PRACTICE

In the end, segmentation is all about learning more about your customers and then offering them exactly what they need to enhance their banking experience. After all, a brand new customer would have different requirements than someone who has been banking with you for several years or someone who’s only interested in a loan or mortgage.

If you have any trouble with applying segmentation strategies to your financial business, contact us today for a free consultation.

 

 

 

WHAT’S YOUR COMPANY DOING TO SECURE ITSELF AGAINST A CYBER ATTACK?

Your business isn’t huge, but is chugging along nicely. And as it matures, so is the Ransomware designed to attack it. That means the odds are getting stronger that your company is going to get hit. Symantec’s 2016 Internet Security Threat Report states that phishing campaigns alone target small businesses 43% of the time.1

  • 50% of  SMBs have been breached in the past 12 months 2
  • Of the  SMBs who claim to have suffered a breach, 60% of employees use the exact same password for everything they access, while 63% of confirmed data breaches leverage a weak, default or stolen password. 3
  • 60% of small companies that suffer a cyber attack go out of business within six months. 4

JP Morgan Chase made news with their $500M budget for cybersecurity in 2016, in step with Bank of America’s Davos announcement that cybersecurity spending would not be constrained.5  And your smaller organization has about $680,000 – $1M6 set aside to make it through a cyber attack, right? Oh, no – are you shaking your head? It’s time to enact a strong plan for cyber preparedness. Here’s what you can do:

  • Stay up to date! This means everything – your security software (antivirus and antispyware), web browser, operating system, email accounts and the many, many passwords scattered across your business’ cyber doorways. If an employee moves on, immediately cancel their log-in status; this includes external accounts where they had access, like your company’s LinkedIn, Facebook, or project management accounts. (This may seem obvious, but is so easy to slip through if departments haven’t informed IT of the existence of these accounts.)
  • Lock ‘em up! Every device, company-wide, should have a strong, one-of-a-kind private password assigned to it. Find tips on strong passwords here. Mobile devices and computer screens should automatically revert to passcode access when not in use. Electronic devices that have Internet connections should have their factory-generated passwords replaced. One overlooked port of access to your system could be your company’s printer. Make sure it isn’t the weak point in your otherwise secure network.
  • Encrypt it! More companies are migrating from physical to virtual servers for data storage. But do they encrypt it first? The cloud gives the illusion of total security, but to truly take advantage of that, encryption before storage is the way to go. Back on the planet you need to continue using a firewall and encrypt your information.
  • Cultivate the culture! It’s all about awareness. Even if you don’t have a CSO on your team, everyone at your business should be aware that security is a top priority. Provide employees with comprehensive training on how overall security, and specifically the handling of sensitive information, is part of their job.7
  • Plan ahead! Create a business continuity and incident response plan.8 If a breach happens, your team can leap into action.  First, acknowledge that an attack to your business is likely. Next, set up the right team to deal with an attack, and be sure everyone is aware of their responsibility in such an event. Third, and this is essential, keep your plan up to date! Be sure that key players are updated as people exit your company; run readiness drills to catch technology issues and human errors ahead of time.9

Even if you have enough cash to pay a ransom fee and clean up the mess, will you be able to recover your company’s reputation, and your clients’ trust? Rather than waste time worrying about what hasn’t happened, make the move now to ensure it never does.

 

 

 

 

ONBOARDING CUSTOMERS: THE INS AND OUTS

Proper onboarding of your customers is a major step in setting your bank up for success. Not only can you use this as an opportunity to showcase your stellar customer service, but you can also prove just how responsive you are to your customers’ needs and to changes within the broader financial environment.

As a financial company, your long-term goals include customer retention, and because onboarding is an integral part of the client journey, this is your time to shine and stand out against your competition.

Make a great first impression with the following tips so you can attract and retain customers while building your brand.

Prepare for Some Challenges

Before implementing an onboarding protocol within your organization, you should be aware of some of the challenges that you might face. For example, it could be difficult to differentiate your offerings from your competition if you are selling similar products and services. It could also be harder to attract and retain Gen Z customers who are more satisfied with big banks.

On top of that, there is a limited number of customers who are available to acquire in the first place. Only a small percentage of customers today will decide to make a switch, and many Gen Z consumers will merely go with the bank that their families use.

In order to overcome these challenges, your company needs to figure out ways of improving every customer’s experience from the beginning of your relationship. And it all boils down to your onboarding process.

Onboarding as a Differentiator

Despite changing markets, overhead costs, competition, and regulations, client onboarding will give you the chance to establish stronger relationships with new customers, as well as expand your brand while offering a more customized service for clients in different markets.

Also, because only about 30% of U.S.-based firms actually view onboarding as a differentiator, according to the Aite Group, you can begin taking steps that other banks are ignoring when it comes to acquiring more loyal customers. In the competitive financial sector, differentiation is key, and proving your worth to customers from the very start of your interaction with them will help you increase profits.

Ways to Enhance Your Onboarding Process

Whether you are ready to establish a brand new onboarding process or improve an existing one, implementing the following strategies could help your financial business stay ahead of the curve:

  • Analyze each customer’s needs. Thanks to online and mobile banking, there are fewer opportunities for your staff to actively interact with customers face-to-face. So when a new customer visits your branch to open an account, take that as a chance to really get to know them, their needs, and expectations.

    Once you’ve collected this information, the key will be to actually give your customers the help they need to fulfill their expectations. So don’t just gather the data; instead, make it a point to approach your customers with solutions that your bank can provide to make their lives easier.
  • Show your appreciation to new customers. A simple “thank you for your business” can go a long way when it comes to making a positive first impression on consumers.

    Whether you mail new customers a handwritten note or you send a text or email, this is an impactful way to show your clients that you care, but you should do it within a couple of days after a customer opens an account.

    Within the “thank you” note, include the customer’s name and the type of account that they opened, along with the perks that they can expect to enjoy as a result of working with your bank.

    You can even personalize these messages by including the name of the employee who worked with the customer, and you can also embed a link to a welcome video or introduction site that has been personalized as well.  

 

  • Keep the lines of communication open. After that initial thank you note, you should continue communicating with your customers in order to improve satisfaction and showcase your other offerings to suit their needs. Generating automated messages that are needs-based and consumer-specific will help you engage with customers rather than merely sell to them.

    Following up on a consistent basis, even when done several times, can be helpful, especially since not all of your messages will be read or remembered. These messages can be sent via statement inserts, email, direct mail, SMS messaging, and social media, as a few examples, based on how a customer prefers to receive communications.

    Personalize your messaging to cater to each customer’s needs, based upon data that you have collected from the onboarding process and from their interactions with your bank since they opened an account. You may, for example, promote your mobile deposit app, your rewards program, or your account alerts as you work on building more trust.

Achieve Growth with Improved Customer Satisfaction

When you are able to increase customer satisfaction, you’ll put your financial organization on the track towards increased profits as well. Focus on improving the onboarding process to not only get to know your customers better, but also to make a lasting impression. Saying thank you, communicating regularly with your customers, and ensuring all of their financial needs are met, especially as their preferences change over time, will help you retain their loyalty, which is an integral part of your success.

Do you need help coming up with the right messaging and the right marketing plan for both new and existing customers? Contact us for a free consultation to learn more about onboarding and other promotional strategies that work.

 

 

 

BANKS AND CREDIT UNIONS: MARKETING TO MILLENNIALS

The millennial generation consists of more than 75 million people who were born between the early ‘80s and late ‘90s. Therefore, banks and other financial organizations that fail to properly market to this segment of the population will miss out on a huge opportunity for profits and long-term growth.

But how should you market to millennials, and should your strategy be different from your traditional promotional plans? With big banks being most successful when it comes to not only acquiring but also keeping millennials loyal, it’s imperative to get your bank ahead of the curve.

What Should You Know About Millennials?

  1. One thing you should keep in mind when it comes to millennials is the fact that this generation grew up with technology at their fingertips. They use services like Netflix and Amazon every day, and they spend hours on social media sites that range from Facebook and Pinterest, to Snapchat and Twitter. Because technology plays such an important role in their everyday lives, millennials expect their bank to provide them with a user-friendly website for things like checking balances and making transfers. And they also prefer using their mobile devices to do everything from depositing checks to paying expenses.

 

  1. Millennials express themselves online, and they expect to be treated as individuals as well. Plus, they’re used to receiving customized recommendations based upon their likes and purchase history when shopping or using online services. So, in addition to establishing a brand presence on social media, it is also important to use data collection and analysis as a means to deliver personalized, real-time messaging that millennials will respond to.

 

  1. On top of preferring tech-savvy companies, millennials want to be able to trust a business, including their bank. Therefore, in order to be successful, you need to prove your authenticity through your messaging. Providing millennials with valuable financial information and tips that are easy to access will also help build your credibility and make you a source that they can turn to.

 

  1. Millennials are often willing to support brands that aren’t solely concerned about making profits, and many of them care about issues that are bigger than themselves. So if you can prove that your company is working on improving the world in some way, such as through charitable work, you can use that to gain an advantage over your competition.

 

How Can You Figure Out the Right Messaging for Millennial Customers?

Delivering the right message is key when marketing to millennials, and one way to go about doing that is by analyzing data about your customers. You may, for example, look at purchase behavior via credit and debit card transactions to determine if a millennial consumer would be in the market for specific products or services. Or you can check out the pages of your website where a customer spends the most time in order to determine their financial intentions. And you can also look at a customer’s account holdings and monthly expenses, which might include rent, a mortgage, or a loan.

As an example, if a customer doesn’t have a mortgage but has a medium sized balance in their savings account and has recently viewed your web page regarding acquiring a mortgage, you could make the assumption that they’re saving up for their first home. You can then use this information to deliver relevant messaging about your mortgage offerings. Your messaging could also include other helpful information that can guide them as they prepare to make such a big purchase.

What Are Some Ways to Engage with Millennials?

There are a number of ways that you can connect with millennials, especially online:

  • Create a strong presence on social media. This means actively posting about the products and services that would appeal to the millennial generation, as well as searching for posts where consumers are talking about your business. Answer questions and provide customer service.

 

  • Prove your trustworthiness. Millennials like doing a lot of research before making a buying decision, so it’s important to know what’s being said about your brand online via social media posts and reviews. Search out reviews that are already out there, and politely respond to any negative reviews to prove that you care. You can also increase brand awareness, visibility, and credibility by getting social media influencers on board to talk about what you have to offer.

 

  • Focus on providing experiences, as well as products. Millennials are all about experiencing everything that life has to offer. Provide a unique experience for those who visit your branch, as well as those who visit your website. Sponsor fun live events that will get your name in front of more millennials. Set up entertaining contests to get people interested and involved, and offer special deals that distinguish you from the competition.

Get Ready to Get Creative for Millennials

In order to appeal to millennials, you need to be creative and think outside the box. Traditional marketing tactics will only get you so far before you need to start catering to the needs and expectations of a generation that’s focused on experiences, diversity, and supporting worthy causes.

With the right data on hand, you can create the right messaging and establish the appropriate online presence to attract and connect with millennials, as well as convert them into loyal customers who will be excited to tell everyone they know about you. But if marketing to millennials becomes too much of a challenge, contact us for a free consultation. We can help you come up with the ideal strategy to promote your products and services to this unique generation.  

 

 

 

GETTING IN FRONT OF YOUR AUDIENCE – BREAK THROUGH THE NOISE

The goal of any marketing campaign is to break through the noise created by your competition and make your brand stand out against the rest. But in order for your efforts to be successful, you need to hone in on your target audience as well. With a triple layer approach, you can do all of that as you boost your conversions and improve customer retention rates.

The Three Types of Media in Digital Marketing

There are three types of digital media, and each plays an important role in a digital marketing campaign. Even though you should focus on each media type separately, when you put them all together, they should work as a cohesive unit.

 

  • Owned Media

 

Any web property that’s controlled by your business, and any web property that’s unique to your business, is considered owned media.

For example, your website would be considered owned media, as would your blog and your social media pages because they serve as extensions of your site and your brand.

It’s a good idea to aim for as much owned media as possible because doing so will enhance your presence online and allow you to attract more customers.

 

  • Earned Media

 

Earned media involves the use of SEO, including local and mobile SEO, as well as your content strategy. It serves to help more people find your owned media.

This type of digital media encompasses word-of-mouth promotion that occurs online in the form of recommendations, reviews, reposts, shares, and mentions. It can also include content that goes viral and content that has been picked up by third party websites.

Earned media is typically the result of achieving excellent organic rankings on top search engines like Google, but it also requires actively distributing your content. Focusing on developing interesting content that’s optimized for search engines can help you achieve those sought-after first page rankings that will put your owned media in front of the highest number of users. Just keep in mind that great content goes beyond blogs to include things like videos, infographics, webinars, eBooks, and press releases that are informative and engaging.

 

  • Paid Media

 

Paid media refers to display ads and PPC (pay-per-click) advertising campaigns that can be run on mobile and social platforms as well.

With paid media, you’re paying for ad space to promote your content and receive more exposure than you would otherwise receive. This is a solid way to not only drive earned media, but also to get more traffic to your owned media.

For example, you might purchase some sponsored posts on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, or you might pay one or more influencers who can share links on your behalf and help you expand your reach and conversions.

Evaluate and Continually Improve Your SEO Strategy

When you combine on-site SEO with online reputation management and SEM, you can boost your online presence and get the attention that you’re after. Once again, taking a three-tiered approach can help your business grow through effective marketing strategies, but you’ll need to revisit your plan often in order to continually improve. After all, by auditing your traffic and ranking, you’ll be able to identify where your website truly stands, and you can continue setting new goals as a means to reach your target audience despite your competition.

 

  • On-Site SEO

 

This approach focuses on improving your search engine ranking, particularly on Google. It involves developing content for your website that will not only be attractive to your target audience, but will also be easy for them to find. And it also incorporates back linking and tagging techniques, as well as community growth.

 

  • Online Reputation Management

 

The goal of online reputation management is to boost your company’s visibility, even when it comes to Google maps searches and local search results. You can utilize software and other tools that will help get reviews, mentions and overall, help you get in front of your target audience.

 

  • SEM

 

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) can include Google AdWords paid campaigns, ROI bidding, keyword optimization, and click to call campaigns. Keyword traffic should be evaluated regularly for changes, and your strategy should be tweaked accordingly to improve or maintain your search engine ranking. Consider creating a prioritized list of the types of keywords, as well as the specific keywords, that you need to start using on your website and in your ad campaigns in order to improve your overall SEO strategy and get better results.

Getting in front of your audience in a saturated digital world is an ongoing challenge that requires you always stay ahead of the curve. If you’d like to learn more about how to take a triple layer approach to your marketing strategy, contact us today for a free consultation with experts who can guide you through the process and tools for success.   

 

Sources:

https://www.titan-seo.com/NewsArticles/trifecta.html  

 

 

PROTECT YOUR COMPANY’S DATA: BUILD A BETTER INFRASTRUCTURE

The words “spend wisely” hover above any well-thought budget. And no budget is ever enough. IT division needs rise while the line numbers stay flat, meaning most CISOs are expected to deliver more from less.  Zeroing in on infrastructure best practices that boost value will improve data protection without breaking the bank.

Consider these six steps to building a more secure infrastructure and ensuring its longstanding success.

GET THE MACRO VIEW.

Provide the security team with a normalized, comprehensive view of the network, including: routing rules, access rules, NAT, VPN, etc.; hosts, including all products (and versions), services, vulnerabilities, and patches; as well as assets, including asset groupings and classifications. With this comprehensive network view, security teams can view hosts in the network, as well as configurations, classifications and other pertinent information. This serves both as a useful visualization tool and a diagnostic tool, providing analysis that is only possible when considered from the macro perspective. An example of how this would work: security and compliance teams can use this overall view to see how data would move between points on the network. It also highlights information that is missing, such as hosts, access control list (ACL) data, etc., and quickly and accurately conducts sophisticated analytics without disruption of the live network. Access path analysis helps to validate changes, and can troubleshoot outages or connectivity issues, enhancing visibility and improving security processes.

TAKE THE MICRO VIEW ON DAILY DEVICE MANAGEMENT.

Although a macro view is needed to see how all the pieces of the network fit together, network administrators must be able to drill down into the details for a particular device, easily accessing information on rules, access policies, and configuration compliance. This information must be considered within the framework of the broader network, including context such as segments or zones, routing, routers, switches, intrusion prevention systems (IPS), and firewalls. The network components that impact the device will undoubtedly come from various vendors, creating data of different vendor languages that must be deciphered, correlated, and optimized to allow administrators to streamline rule sets. For example, administrators need to be able to block or limit access by application and view violations of these access policies. Daily or weekly reviews of all devices on the network is unattainable with a manual process, and reviewing device configurations less frequently puts network security and compliance at risk. Automating policy compliance helps ensure compliance and consistency, and preserves IT resources.

OPTIMIZE YOUR NETWORK SECURITY AWARENESS AND CONTROL THROUGH INTEGRATION OF MANAGEMENT FUNCTIONS.

Coordinate workflows across functional categories to improve accuracy and efficiency, including configuration management, fault/availability monitoring, performance monitoring, and troubleshooting. From a management tools perspective, this either requires close integration and sharing of data between tools to ensure seamless and accurate handoffs from one to another, or a unified management system that supports multiple functions of a single core database and/or management data model.

IMPLEMENT HYPER-CONVERGENCE FOR AN INTERNAL, CLOUD-LIKE EXPERIENCE.

The convergence of virtualized servers, storage, and networking using software can significantly simplify data center provisioning and maintenance tasks, and reduce long-term costs. “Hyper-convergence changes all your internal processes because most of them were originally built around the separation of the network, storage, and compute layers. Hyper-convergence allows you to operate all three under a single stack.”

PLAN A RISK MANAGEMENT APPROACH THAT INCLUDES SIMULATED ATTACKS FOR CONTEXTUAL ASSESSMENT.

Include the ability to identify near-, mid-, and long-term risks and their likelihood, through “what-if” scenario planning. Today’s attacks often incorporate multiple steps that cross several different network zones, and an isolated view of any of these steps could appear innocuous. Attack simulation technology automatically looks at the holistic network – business assets, known threats, and vulnerabilities – and identifies what would happen if the conditions were combined. Attack simulation can also evaluate potential options to block an attack, providing intelligence for decision support. Understanding the likelihood of an attack and its potential impact against valuable targets is the key to assessing which vulnerabilities and threats pose the most risk.

IMPLEMENT A NEXT-GENERATION FIREWALL (NGFW) AT YOUR ORGANIZATION’S PERIMETER AND KEY INTERNAL CHOKEPOINTS.

The ability to quickly detect and implement automated security response mechanisms is a valuable asset. The tight interaction between traditional firewall rules, Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) signatures, deep packet inspection, application awareness, and global threat intelligence creates a far more secure network edge compared to traditional security architectures. Do also keep in mind: the more deep-inspection or rules the perimeter firewall is expected to process and enforce, the more horsepower and resources required. In other words, choose requirements wisely to reduce the risk of traffic slowdowns.

“A security-centric, programmable infrastructure that detects and responds to emerging threat vectors is essential for organizations to thrive in our hyper-connected era.”

 

 

 

FOREWARNED IS FOREARMED: THE 4 SECURITY DEVICES EVERY BANK NEEDS

Today’s modern arsenal of bank and credit union security devices offers a dizzying array of options. From hi-tech eye scan equipment and personalized biometrics to Internet of Things (IoT) activated systems, the offerings can be overwhelming. Where do banks start when building a comprehensive security system? How do credit unions know if they’re spending security budgets on the right equipment?

Although each financial institution has its own unique requirements, industry experts agree on the basic security equipment that every bank and credit union must have in place to defend against the most common breaches.

#1 CENTRAL ALARM SYSTEM

The most comprehensive, and therefore, the most important single piece of security equipment is an integrated central alarm system. Such a system is the first step to satisfying the FDIC’s minimum security device regulation.

An advanced access system should ensure that all external entry points to the bank are equipped with tamper-proof locking mechanisms. Most banks focus their efforts primarily on securing traditional door access, but attention should also be given to any possible entry point an unauthorized entrant may attempt. All windows should be equipped with glass break sensors, and ductwork should have pressure and motion alarms. Every internal location with access to cash, like teller workstations and cash desks, should also be secured with alarm activators.

#2 VIDEO SURVEILLANCE

Whereas access and alarm systems protect banks and credit unions against unauthorized access, video surveillance systems continue to be the primary tool in identifying and apprehending robbers, intruders, and any unauthorized entrants. Video cameras should be positioned at all critical locations including external access points, cash access locations, teller desks, drive-throughs, and ATMs.

Advanced digital video systems can provide remote viewing and advanced analytics that go beyond intruder identification to offer customer studies that enhance efficiency and profitability metrics.

#3 PERSONALIZED ACCESS

Knowing who gains access to a secure facility is critical. That’s why banks and credit unions are implementing personalized access systems. Unlike generic entry keys which can be shared by employees or fall into the wrong hands, custom access systems ensure that only those individuals authorized for entrance can gain access.

The two most popular types of such access devices are card swipe machines and entry keypads. With both approaches, employees are assigned a card or a password that is unique to themselves. Custom codes keep track of what employees are in the building at any given time, and if a card is lost, it can be immediately deactivated to eliminate unauthorized access.

#4 ATM SECURITY DEVICES

The final must-have piece of security equipment guards against the most frequent form of ATM attacks. ATM card skimming now accounts for nearly 95% of all bank losses, and as customers continue to favor such automated services, ATM crime is expected to increase. ATM Skimming refers to the stealing of a customer’s ATM card information, as well as their PIN.

Would-be thieves use a combination of keypad covers and internal devices to duplicate account access codes and drain customer accounts without ever having entered a branch location. In the past, banks and credit unions had to wait until the first ATM breach was reported. Today, however, there are highly effective security devices that can detect skimming activity and provide alert monitoring.

Remaining vigilant against the ever-changing security threats is a daunting task. The attention that is given to growing cyber threats often pulls time and attention away from the equally important commitment to ensure physical safety for bank employees, customers, and their assets. Every financial institution, regardless of its size, must allot sufficient resources for the four pillars of basic bank security: alarm systems, video surveillance, employee access and ATM security.

For more resources on how to make sure your company has the necessary security systems installed, contact SPC Companies – committed to helping bank and credit union professionals sleep better at night.

 

 

 

CALLS TO ACTION – WHAT YOU SHOULD BE USING

Businesses that seek to increase their conversion rate and lower their bounce rate can focus on calls to action that appear on landing pages and social media posts. While you can gain results from making your site more user-friendly, if you can improve a call to action (CTA), you might entice even more customers to move through your conversion funnel.

WHAT DOES A CALL TO ACTION DO?

A CTA could be text on your website, or it could be a more prominent graphic, button, or banner. The idea is to make your calls to action stand out enough that visitors will see them and click on a link that will take them to more information about your products and services. With the help of effective calls to action, visitors can be converted into leads, who can then become customers.

WHAT SHOULD A CALL TO ACTION LOOK LIKE?

Here are a few things that any call to action on your website or social media pages should contain:

Specific and clear instructions that tell visitors what to expect once they click through. Use words like “get,” “find,” and “why” in order to give them a reason to click the CTA link.

A standout design that can be recognized even when a visitor is merely skimming your content.

An action verb that provides guidance to visitors, such as “discover,” “learn,” “build,” “join,” “grow,” and “start” or “stop.”

Time-sensitive terms, such as “before,” “today,” “now,” and “ends,” in order to create a sense of urgency and convince visitors to click the CTA right away.

Words that prove the CTA will offer value to a visitor, such as “try,” “save,” “free,” “need,” and “want.” You can also include numbers, such as a percentage off during a sale.

Possessive terms like “your” or “my.” Using “your” can help you connect with visitors and convince them that you’re doing something for them, while “my” adds an element of ownership, such as “Start my trial now” or “Get my free eBook today.”

Extra tip: You don’t always have to be positive in your calls to action. Instead, you can use what is referred to as a negative CTA in order to grab people’s attention and show them that you understand their situation and you have the tools necessary to provide a solution. For example, you can start your CTAs with words like “confused” or “worried.” You could ask a question, too, as in this example: “Concerned about your bank’s mobile app security? Learn how to keep your information safe.”

WHAT ABOUT CALLS TO ACTION ON SOCIAL MEDIA?

Your social media pages should be designed to connect you with your target audience and encourage them to click through to your website and offers. The right CTAs on your posts could make all the difference, especially in an environment like social media, where users are already prepared to be exposed to a lot of CTAs on their newsfeed.

Write your CTAs on social media as you would on your website, with the same sense of urgency and the same clear language that proves you have value to provide to your customers. But go a step further and implement these CTAs into eye-catching images that you can add to your posts.

Take advantage of the design elements already included on your social media pages, such as the cover image on Facebook, where you can even add CTA buttons like “Learn More.”

Include calls to action in posts that are designed to get a conversation going amongst your followers. Ask your audience a question that they can answer in the comments, but include your related CTA after the question.

Use attention-getting designs to showcase your calls to action. For example, on Instagram, you can post a colorful graphic in an ad so that you visually catch a consumer’s attention while having a CTA that grabs people’s interest as they’re scrolling.

TEST AND TWEAK

Even just changing a single word in an existing call to action might make a significant difference in your conversion rate and the effectiveness of your inbound marketing strategy. Research your target audience, as well as relevant keywords, and try out different words and phrases. Then test them and tweak them to make every CTA work for your business.

Confused about how to make your CTAs the best that they can be? Contact us today for a free consultation with our marketing experts so you can start getting the results you want.

 

 

 

7 WAYS TO HELP SECURE YOUR COMPANY’S EMAIL IN-BOXES

You’d never think of waving a red flag before a charging bull. But that is exactly what your company may be doing with your employees’ email addresses. It’s easy for cybercriminals to harvest publicly available email addresses through a deep web search. The more they can collect, the more they can attack your company, which raises your risk of being gouged by one of the many spear-phishing emails they’re likely to launch.

Employees can be fooled into replying to an innocuous-appearing email, clicking on a link or opening an attachment containing malware. One uninformed action can lead to a breach with devastating effects for your company – both legally, and to its reputation.

Take some or all of these steps to ensure your business stays out of harm’s way:

  1. Educate your employees on responsible ways to use email, and the growing risks of sophisticated phishing and social engineering attacks. Be sure they understand that THEY are the targets, just as much as the C-suite executives, as well as what is really at stake with one slip-up.
  2. Have a comprehensive e-mail usage policy in place that clearly and officially explains the organization’s rules and restrictions. Establish consequences for any infraction to these rules, and make every employee aware of them. An e-mail usage policy offers businesses some protection from liability arising from a breach of confidential information; it proves that the company had in fact taken steps to discourage and prevent the inappropriate use of its email system.1
  3. If your company’s email is residing in the Cloud, consider a hybrid approach; keep high-value email user accounts on-premises, maintaining strict management and encryption of their message flow. Allow rank-and-file user emails onto the cloud, since most providers don’t have the robust policy engines or message encryption required to ensure the strictest level of data security.2
  4. Commit to encryption. “If a company has a policy that says any data set that contains personally identifying information is considered to be ‘sensitive’ and has to be encrypted both in transit across a network and at rest, and the company has implemented technical controls to enforce that policy, it is very likely that the data set is safe.” And if your company is using the Cloud for data storage, encrypt anything classified or sensitive before uploading. 3
  5. Take safety precautions on your company’s computers. Commit to strong authentication procedures and firewall protection. It’s also important for employees to understand that installing third-party software, both on work computers and BYOD devices, can lead to viruses and malware. 4
  6. Don’t assume employees will take the steps to protect the company’s data. Make strong passwords mandatory, especially for any remote access tools, and consider implementing company-wide email content filtering. Content filtering involves using technology to scan ingoing and outgoing mails for malicious code and questionable material that doesn’t meet a company’s acceptable use policy. E-mail content management systems have evolved significantly in recent years, and while there are those that only serve for dedicated content filtering, others now possess a range of capabilities including spam filtering, anti-virus and anti-phishing. “Implementing an email policy is particularly advised for businesses that use, or intend to use, content filtering software to check the content of their employees’ e-mails. Employees would have to be made aware that their e-mails are being monitored,” advises IT security expert Richard Broeke.5
  7. Provide your employees with a company laptop and VPN number for the times when they are working off-premises. This will circumvent any temptation to forward proprietary company information to personal e-mail accounts, or download it onto their own computer. As with social networking sites, their personal email providers are under no obligation to protect confidential information at the level that a corporation may protect, nor are the employees of the service provider the company’s employees. Inadvertent disclosure of sensitive information—even information that is not obviously confidential, but which may reveal information about company plans and intentions—erodes competitive advantage and puts intellectual property and trade secrets at risk.6

Don’t let the cyber bulls push their way in – drop that red flag. Establishing secure methods and best practices for your company’s emails is a strong step in preventing cyber breaches.