Credit union teaches online safety

Challenged by increased phishing and other Internet scams, the Vancouver City Savings Credit Union (Vancity) is digitally empowering its members by educating users on secure online banking and safe Internet usage.

Using its Web site as a resource, Vancity created a privacy and security section that members can access to get information about online fraud and potential risks of identity theft.

“Privacy and security are a big concern for us in the banking industry and we are doing a lot on our end to make sure that our members’ information and all of our information systems are secure,” said Rowena Liang, CIO for Vancity.

As Canada’s largest credit union with $11.8 billion in assets, Vancity has over 340,000 members and 42 branches throughout Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Victoria.

Vancity sources security information from the Microsoft security resource site, said Liang. Online marketing syndication firm WebCollage hosts the security page for Vancity and updates the content on a monthly basis.

The Vancity CIO said leveraging the rich resource of information from Microsoft allows her company to provide Vancity members the tools they need to do safe online banking, without investing heavily on building content from scratch. “Microsoft has already built this as part of their outreach for PC safety…We should be leveraging this instead of trying to reinvent the wheel,” she said.

Vancity’s IT security team decides which content gets updated and included on the site, said Geordie Cree, security specialist at Vancity.

Vancity gets between 600 and 700 monthly hits on its privacy and security page. The company is currently exploring ways to drive more traffic to the site.

One possibility is creating what are called “cookie crumbs” throughout the main Web site, where each area that relates to an aspect of security would get a link that takes a user to the appropriate security information, explained Cree.

Microsoft said the security information on its site is always as current as possible. Information is also tailored for target audiences, such as programmers, IT administrators or consumers, said Bruce Cowper, senior program manager, security initiatives at Microsoft Canada.

“The biggest challenge that everybody faces is access to the right information in a timely manner. It is an immensely useful partnership from [Vancity’s] perspective and from ours,” said Cowper.

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