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Secure File Sharing Is Critical For Boards Of Community Banks

The Necessity of Secure File Sharing for Boards of Community Banks

Board members of community banks and credit unions regularly handle highly confidential information. The relationships that financial institutions have with their community are very important, and they can be a key to the bank’s success.

Community banks need to have a good understanding of their customers’ financial needs and demonstrate that they’re willing to go the extra mile to partner with residents of the community. Some ways that banks show their commitment to their communities are by supporting local charities, working with volunteers, offering expertise in financial management, and offering opportunities for investing.

Trust is a very important part of the relationship between community banks, credit unions and the people they serve. Boards have a responsibility to share information securely to protect their account holders and maintain the trust of the entire community.

What Does Secure File Sharing Mean?

Secure file sharing, also known as protected file sharing, refers to the process where one user shares electronic files electronically with another user. By encrypting the files using an encryption algorithm before and during transmission, it’s more difficult for hackers to access the files and use them for nefarious or criminal purposes. State-of-the-art encryption allows board members of community banks and credit unions to share files in a protected mode, restricting access to files only to authorized users.

From board books to agendas, financial reports, and board meeting minutes, it’s crucial for boards to have control over the files they share electronically. Standard email programs, USB drives, and third-party cloud-sharing apps typically have inherent security risks. Such risks aren’t worth taking as they can leave your board in violation of SEC regulations or other current or future regulations.

As a company firmly committed to modern governance, we understand the substantial disruption that the challenges of a major crisis can present for governing bodies. To help governance leaders navigate through the uncharted waters and prepare for future crises, we’ve put together a Crisis Management Toolkit with core considerations and guidelines, tips and best practices to implement immediately. Download your copy now!

Why Is Secure File Sharing So Important for Community Bank Boards?

Community bank and credit union boards meet as often as they need to. Often, their board meeting agendas are jam-packed with important issues to discuss.

For larger community banks, board books can be hundreds of pages long, making them impractical for secure sharing. Board members can usually expect to receive their board meeting handbooks a week or two before a board meeting. If the board is practicing good governance, the board administrator or board chair should be sending out the agenda, board reports, and committee reports along with the board meeting handbook. The finance committee may need to gather financial reports from a variety of sources and consolidate them for the final financial report. This activity alone requires multiple instances of secure file sharing.

The weeks before a board meeting are a hive of activity. The last thing that board members need is to worry over a data breach when they already have so many upcoming issues to discuss.

Board Handbooks and Documents Require Strong Security

As numerous files are being sent between parties, it can be fairly easy to overlook the importance of secure file sharing. When the board can be sure that every communication and every electronic file is securely protected, the board has the freedom to give every item on the board meeting agenda focused time and attention. An unexpected data breach could bump all other agenda items to the back burner so the board can focus on the immediate crisis. In fact, it could delay other board agenda items for some time.

A Board Management System Solves the Problem of Secure File-Sharing

With a board management system, your board can put your fears about sharing board documents, board reports, and board documents to rest. BoardEffect’s board portal is a fully contained platform that has state-of-the-art security. It’s the perfect solution for all board communications.

Whether your board meeting handbooks are a few pages or hundreds of pages, you can send them out to your board members electronically before every meeting and be certain they’re secure. Secure file-sharing ensures that your board meeting books and board reports won’t get into the wrong hands whether you send paper copies or send them via electronic means.

When your board members use a board management system, they still have the ability to annotate, highlight, and mark up documents just as they would if they were using paper copies. What’s more, board members of community banks can attach documents to internal communications completely within the security of the portal, which eliminates security problems associated with standard email programs.

Data breaches are commonplace. Board members of community banks need to be aware that cybercriminals view banks as a prime target for cybercrime. With the large amounts of sensitive information that community banks handle every day, that’s a risk your board can’t afford to take. Data breaches are expensive to deal with, and if one should occur, the results would be immediately palpable. What can be even more damaging is the reputational damage that can occur when members of the community lose their trust and confidence in the bank.

Recent economic and societal factors have created a continually changing financial marketplace, creating lots of big changes for community bank boards. Whether your community bank or credit union has one location or many, your board needs a centralized platform with a robust framework where they can collaborate and share information securely on a consistent basis.

Because of the pandemic and the need for safety, community board banks are often meeting remotely. A board management system gives boards the ability to conduct meetings remotely and share files before, during, and after meetings without hesitancy. In the interest of convenience, BoardEffect is mobile-friendly, so board members can access meeting materials and other files using their favorite mobile device.

With these things in mind, let’s get into the specifics of BoardEffect’s commitment to secure file-sharing. The BoardEffect platform meets the NIST Cybersecurity Standard framework which is trusted by financial institutions and other organizations that rely on strict data protection. BoardEffect offers three levels of data protection and a dedicated SOC2 infrastructure to provide your board with a strong, multi-layered defense system. The security system was designed to detect and protect against accidental or intentional data leaks. Granular permissions give your board complete control over who can access board materials. In the event of an outage, our system offers a data recovery protocol to prevent a material loss of data.

The security threats for community banks and credit unions are only becoming increasingly complex and harder to mitigate. There’s never been a better time to consider the benefits of using a board management system. 

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