As a leader, I am a big proponent of using what’s happened in the past — and is currently happening in the present — to better prepare our business and our customers for what’s to come. Applying this mindset in the financial industry is particularly helpful. The emergence of various technologies and trends enables us to determine what we can optimize for the highest efficiency and satisfaction level.

The past few years have been focused on the Internet of Things (IoT), data and analytics, and enhancing proactivity to mitigate the increasingly significant threat of fraud and cyber risks. While each of these elements will continue to play an essential role in the industry moving forward, we’re starting to see two common threads that will rise above all in the coming years: collaboration and convergence.

When broken down in terms of its relevance for banks and credit unions, we can expect to see these trends in certain areas in the future.

Security and customer engagement

We’re starting to see two common threads that will rise above all in the coming years: collaboration and convergence

There's no overstating the importance and value of one's hard-earned money. When it comes to keeping it safe, consumers demand their relationship with a financial institution is built on one powerful characteristic: trust. Customers must feel confident in placing their funds in someone else's hands, with the comfort and understanding that the institution's primary goal is to meet their needs while safeguarding information at all times.

The digital transformation and incorporation of intelligent technology into the banking environment have undoubtedly changed how trust is defined in this industry. As customers become more tech-savvy, their idea of a trustworthy and engaging banking partner begins. We're seeing the necessity of digital services for elevating customer satisfaction, such as mobile banking, chat features, and intelligent virtual assistants, complementing in-person service, and modernising customer engagement.

Now that customers are becoming more aware of some of the risks imposed by technology, simplifying and automating programs is more critical for banks than ever before. To address and mitigate customer concerns about data security and privacy, financial organizations must prioritise deploying an integrated, end-to-end solution that considers the vulnerability of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the risks of the cyber world.

A security-led strategy

But the aspect of security must remain at the centre of this strategy. As both the financial industry and the threats it faces become more complex, the promise of secure housing and management of one of our most sensitive assets is always top-of-mind. Ensuring adequate security, surveillance, and investigative processes are the key for banks to establish superior customer engagement and develop a healthy relationship based on protection.

It’s a simple fact: Financial institutions can’t drive exceptional customer service without security having a seat at the table. In general, the customer experience is typically made up of these two elements above all else, and loyal customers place their trust in banks to demonstrate an apparent dedication to understanding how both sides impact one another — which is in more ways than one.

Financial institutions can’t drive exceptional customer service without security having a seat at the table

As we start to see the physical layouts of branches evolve to become more productive for customer engagement, it’s imperative to ensure that security is considered in these changes. For example, many bank environments are transitioning to be more liberal and free-flowing, which we will all take advantage of after the pandemic is behind us. These new environments could introduce various risks when it comes to employee and asset protection, making it paramount for security to react to this adjustment accordingly from a safety and fraud perspective.

Physical security and IT

By now, you’re probably more than familiar with the term “convergence.” The evolution of the threat landscape and the significance of risks that today’s banking and financial providers face have made the word top-of-mind. Organizations worldwide demand a more holistic approach to security to ensure they’re consistently protecting consumer data, employees, brand reputation, and infrastructure.

Though this type of convergence has already begun to occur, the integration of physical and IT security will only become more critical in the years ahead. The use of advanced networked and cloud-based technologies in financial institutions — primarily through wireless network connections — has led to IT’s increased involvement in security decisions and operations, which is the right path to follow if a bank or credit union wants to ensure its solutions are protected against cyber threats.

The collaboration between physical and IT security teams must exist at every level of the process; from procurement to installation to maintenance over time, it’s crucial that IT personnel are involved and asking the right questions. In the future, physical security groups will likely rely on IT professionals to help them solve problems regarding the technical and cyber sides of security solutions.

Collaboration is key

Whether it's due to the evolving risk landscape financial institutions face or the desire to adhere to customer demands, it’s become clear that collaboration will be the key to success for banks and credit unions in the future. A modernised customer engagement strategy must incorporate a focus on security, and that element of safety must be comprised of both physical and IT components.

A modernised customer engagement strategy must incorporate a focus on security

But while the traditional definition of convergence may seem simple to understand, we must look beyond these words to determine how exactly the practice can and should be implemented. In a more detailed sense, convergence can be defined as a marrying of cyber and physical security capabilities to form a comprehensive approach to identify potential threats and expand awareness for better event response.

This level of “converged collaboration” fuels a unified and cohesive security strategy built with all areas of security in mind and can lead to better incident management and faster response. And with the potential impact of today’s security threats on a bank’s people, property, and brand, this approach is necessary to ensure that no stone is left unturned.

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Alex Johnson Senior Director of Product Marketing, Verint Systems

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