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SOUTH COAST METRO, Calif. – The growing demands of complicated technology infrastructure, security threats and regulatory compliance are also fueling business for consultants, including Compushare. The Orange County-based firm said it had a record year in 2005, adding 60 community financial institutions, including a dozen Southern California credit unions, to its clientele, with expectations of growing its current client base of about 345 by another 100 in 2005. The strongest areas for Compushare have been business continuity updating, security and compliance, and integration projects, said Romir Bosu, president and CEO of the firm he founded about 10 years ago. Security, of course, is a broad area, made more complicated all the time by the increasing sophistication of online attacks and demands of regulatory compliance, Bosu said. “What we’re seeing now is a focus on security that goes from helping with a single sign-on system and key fobs all the way to security assessments and remediation and getting our clients on programs that keep them up to date,” he said. “In the past, credit unions would tell us to do the assessment and they’d do the remediation. Now they often want us to do both.” Bosu also is seeing an increasing interest in updating business continuity planning in-house, including from clients of his such as Honda Federal Credit Union. Meanwhile, Compushare’s integration projects often center on operating system and technology infrastructure extensions and upgrades that don’t lend themselves to handling by in-house staff. “For instance, First City Credit Union in L.A. wanted to do an upgrade to its Citrix server farm but needed some help with their WAN (wide-access network) first,” Bosu said. “So we went in and assessed what they needed, determined they could get a little more life out of their WAN but had to upgrade their operating systems to Windows 2003. The project included an active directory re-design to allow a lot more centralized management and functionality. “That’s not the kind of thing that an institution would need to do again for the next five years or so, and it’s not something you’d expect them to have the capacity to do in-house.” With a staff of about 70, Compushare offers professional services as well as security monitoring and patch updating and “a couple software tools of our own,” Bosu said, to about 345 clients from its offices in Orange County, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas and Houston and Las Vegas. That includes about 65 credit unions, and while their technology needs are quite similar to banks and thrifts, Bosu said, there are some cultural differences. “Credit unions talk to each other a lot more, for one thing,” he said. “We get a lot of new clients word-of-mouth that way. Plus they’re more self-reliant. “On the security side they tend to be a bit more focused and little bit ahead of the curve compared to a lot of banks. And as for core processing, banks tend to be more likely to outsource and let the vendor dictate infrastructure to them,” the Compushare president said. “But credit unions are more likely to be doing something like running an in-house Symitar system and have an application guy who also writes reports and can do modifications,” Bosu said. “Our credit union clients tend to have a little more technical expertise in-house and not be afraid to experiment, to go ahead and use it.” -

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