Community Banks Technology Survey: Data Security is #1

Community Banks Technology Survey: Data Security is #1
Despite economic setbacks this year, data security remains top-of-mind for the majority of community bankers.

Results from the 2008 Independent Community Bankers of America's (ICBA) Community Bank Technology Survey reveal that more than 80 percent of respondents are "vigorously maintaining data security" as their top priority, says ICBA's Viveca Ware, Director, Payments and Technology Policy.

Protecting customer data is their primary technological concern, says Ware. A majority of the 1,280 community bank respondents say they planned to increase spending on security technology. Fifty-seven percent of the respondents say they plan to increase spending on security-related technology over the next two years, and more than half say they will be increasing spending on fraud detection technology.

ICBA's Cary Whaley, Associate Director, Payments and Technology Policy, says while the survey results may reflect the community banks' stance from June 2008, when the survey was conducted, he doesn't see any signs that recent economic events have changed people's positions.

"Anecdotally, I haven't heard of any changes in the amount of security spending," Whaley says. "I haven't heard of any bankers talk either way in terms of cutting technology spending because of the economy. Community bankers are in the same economy now that they faced in June."

One question that the ICBA survey focuses on is spending. It asks "Did you spend more or less on technology than a year ago?" In every year since 2002, the amount has gone up, except in 2008, where only 48 percent said they would spend more, compared with 2006 (the last time the survey was conducted), when 55% said they planned to spend more than the previous year.

One possible reason: In 2006, community banks were investing in Check 21 imaging technology. "Once a bank has the imaging equipment bought and paid for, they wouldn't spend as much as the year before," says Whaley.

Another area of interest is managing technology risk, cited as a top technological concern. While still in its infancy, mobile banking is an emerging technology among community banks, says Ware. Although only 11 percent of community banks currently offer mobile banking to their customers, 30 percent plan to increase their technology spending for mobile banking over the next two years.

Internet banking is solidly entrenched and has reached critical mass at community banks, the survey reveals, with 89 percent of respondents maintaining an Internet banking website that allows customers to do business over the web. This is up 6 percent since 2006. Most common uses for online banking at community banks include electronic bill pay, updating account information and viewing check images.

The 2008 ICBA Community Bank Technology Survey was conducted in June 2008. Full results are available here.

About the Author

Linda McGlasson

Linda McGlasson

Managing Editor

Linda McGlasson is a seasoned writer and editor with 20 years of experience in writing for corporations, business publications and newspapers. She has worked in the Financial Services industry for more than 12 years. Most recently Linda headed information security awareness and training and the Computer Incident Response Team for Securities Industry Automation Corporation (SIAC), a subsidiary of the NYSE Group (NYX). As part of her role she developed infosec policy, developed new awareness testing and led the company's incident response team. In the last two years she's been involved with the Financial Services Information Sharing Analysis Center (FS-ISAC), editing its quarterly member newsletter and identifying speakers for member meetings.

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