Cloud Computing: A Case Study

Midsized Institution Has Streamlined Communications, Operations
Altra Federal Credit Union developed a calculated strategy before moving to the cloud -- advice all financial institutions should follow, says Brian Boettcher, VP of IT, who shares his lessons learned.Working in the cloud has improved the security for e-mail communications between LaCrosse, Wis.-based Altra FCU ($700 million in assets)and its members, Boettcher says. The cloud also has given Altra a competitive advantage, by streamlining IT operations and providing economies of scale.

But Boettcher warns that the cloud may not be for everyone. Sometimes the cloud is not as cost-effective as it may seem, he says. "You have to make sure that the features they are offering are going to work for you," he says. "Be sure the cloud vendor can integrate into your environment."

Altra has been working in the cloud since the early 2000s. The credit union recently signed with cloud vendor DataMotion to help secure e-mail communications and interactions with its members, among other things. "The greatest challenge we faced, in the beginning, in going to the cloud was making the whole process seamless," Boettcher says. "We did not want to burden our employees and our members, for that matter, with a lot of additional security steps."

During this interview, Boettcher discusses:

  • Technology considerations all institutions should take into account before jumping on the so-called cloud bandwagon;
  • How the cloud can improve efficiencies, if banking institutions have clear goals in mind before signing with a cloud provider;
  • Contractual considerations regarding security and vendor obligations institutions should take into account.

Boettcher oversees telecommunications, data and cybersecurity and networking functions for Altra FCU. Prior to Altra, Boettcher was employed at Dairyland Power Cooperative for 10 years, where he was the Director of Information Technology and was responsible for the IT requirements of the business. During his tenure, Boettcher implemented rigorous security controls through a comprehensive governance program.

Earlier in his career, Boettcher held technology positions with Fastenal Company, a major national industrial supply company and Marshfield Clinic, one of the largest private, multi-specialty group practices in the country. Boettcher started his career at IBM, where he held various positions from computer programming to management.

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