How A Plan Overcame the Shutdown

How A Plan Overcame the Shutdown

By Don Baker, Senior Partner, CIO, Centier Bank

When news of the coronavirus pandemic revved up early last year, a global shutdown was looming over working Americans—many of which did not fathom how they would do their jobs in the event of a stay-at-home order. And, for many corporations – including Indiana’s largest private, family-owned bank – the combination of a business continuity plan and swift action to convert a non-remote workforce to a remote one was how Centier Bank remained available to clients as an essential business throughout the tricky early phases of the pandemic.

The buzzword “unprecedented” rang true for the Technical Solutions team at Centier Bank last March, but with a plan in place, proper technologies and security, and working swiftly with our partners, Centier was able to keep business processes up and running without any hiccups or disruption to clients. Consumers everywhere have relied heavily on financial institutions for Economic Impact Payments, Paycheck Protection Program loans, and financial assistance programs, and we knew we had to deliver the best service possible.

One of the main reasons Centier Bank’s workforce was able to go fully remote during the pandemic was because of a business continuity plan which had already been established. A business continuity plan is a living document outlining the process of creating systems of prevention in the event of an emergency, disaster, or in this case—a pandemic.

When you look at the technology landscape as early as four years ago, most companies would not have been in a position to have employees work in a major remote capacity. Proper technologies can also be attributed to the success of Centier’s remote workforce, which ensured associates could conduct day-to-day business without access to on-campus networks, phone systems, and databases. In the banking industry, there are several areas of operations which exist, and each needed a custom solution. With the implementation of Microsoft Bookings, clients were able to reserve in-person branch appointments online in order to minimize drop-in traffic at our branches, which mitigates exposure to associates and clients. With use of Microsoft Teams, our associates have been able to conduct collaborative group meetings across the state, as well as with clients. Technologies like Microsoft OneDrive enabled associates to have access to all their data and removed any dependency on a given device since OneDrive can be accessed via a desktop, laptop, or mobile device–all of which we require to be registered for security to our corporate Mobile Device Management solution.

Having a secure VPN network and MDM software ensured associates could access the corporate network in order to do their jobs and communicate with their teams. Companies across the country also saw an uptick in attempted phishing attacks during the pandemic because scammers are highly opportunistic. This is why our company emails cannot even be accessed outside of work unless associates have a secure MDM software—if someone’s device does get hacked, a hacker still wouldn’t be able to penetrate our company’s databases or environment, which is extremely important in this type of industry. The nature of banking requires us to have multi-factor authentication and many layers of cyber security, so ensuring we had trusted partners and vendors going into the remote workforce transition was a blessing.

The coronavirus pandemic is not over, but for essential businesses big and small, having the foresight of developing a plan can help you offset sudden expenses, stand strong, and lead with confidence in times of uncertainty. Investing in “what ifs” now is exactly how you will ensure business as usual later—no matter what.

Category Features, Last Word