As we learn more about the mechanisms behind the massive Target data breach, the very real risks posed by third-party network access come into sharper focus. Credit unions, like organizations in nearly every other sector, often rely on vendors and other external partners to perform a variety of functions, such as payroll processing, benefits administration, facility maintenance and even employee training.

While these outside relationships are crucial, vendors’ access to sensitive data must be closely managed as part of the organization’s broader breach prevention strategy. Fortunately, credit unions have a number of tools available that can reduce the risk of vendor access and help the company maintain a strong security posture.

The implementation of effective security protocols begins with a determination of which data sets require the highest levels of protection. Credit unions and other financial institutions manage and store many different types of highly confidential data – member account numbers, Social Security numbers and other personal information.

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