First Tech Merger and Data Security: Online Only
First Tech Federal Credit Union has expanded its relationship with security specialist Websense after using the San Diego company’s data-leak protection tools to protect more than 55,000 separate pieces of electronic communications during the credit union’s massive merger.
First Tech of Beaverton, Ore., and Addison Avenue FCU of Palo Alto, Calif., completed their consolidation a couple months ago, bringing together a $4.75 billion institution with 38 branches and about 335,000 members in the nation’s largest interstate combination of credit unions.
The first step for Websense was to work with the credit unions to identify and secure more than 55,000 separate merger-related pieces of communications, a process that took place between April and November last year.
The merger became official Jan. 1 and the company’s data leak prevention tools were used to protect data, moving through email and over the Web, as it was moved around through the database conversion, which was completed over Memorial Day weekend.
Both credit unions were already Open Solutions core processing customers, which helped make the data conversion and protection process a bit more smooth, Websense said.
“We were kind of fortunate in that the systems were already in place, so we were able to move in and get things going right off the bat,” said Nitsan Baider, a senior product manager who worked with First Tech on the project.
Websense also already had been providing its Data Security Suite to Addison Avenue for the past few years, and has now expanded its use of the company’s Web Security Gateway with the purchase of six Websense appliances to protect against malware, said Phil Romero, senior security architect at First Tech.
“We chose to implement Websense DSS during the merger and beyond, because the technology is well aligned with the growth of our organization,” Romero said.
People skills also made a difference, he said.
“We were very fortunate in that we had our processes in place already for a number of years and that our staff was very well informed and well trained bout what should and should not be communicated,” Romero said.
The risk of data loss increases during a merger, mostly because massive amounts of sensitive data are moved about. During Addison Avenue and First Tech’s integration, Websense’s help also included providing added visibility to track and help control, for both security and compliance purposes, how data was stored and moved over internal and external channels.
“Protecting confidential data during a merger and acquisition is critical to its success,” said Patrick Murray, Websense senior director of product management.
“In such transitional times, company files are almost always sent through an organization’s biggest communication channels: Web and email. And that’s when data is at great risk,” he said
Murray said Websense also now helps First Tech comply with regulations such as NCUA’s PART 748 standard by constant monitoring of member information as it’s transported across the network.