6 Signs You Need Help with GLBA Compliance

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If you work for a community bank or other financial institution, you know you need to achieve GLBA compliance.

Compliance ensures that you can pass your next bank audit. 

But, if your auditor’s exit notes show that you fell a little short on your most recent audit, it’s time to make some changes.

Let’s take a look at the top signs your institution needs help with GLBA compliance to get ready for your next audit or fix issues found in your latest audit. 

 

What Is the Purpose of GLBA?

Also known as the Financial Act of 1999, the Federal Trade Commission describes the GLBA: 

The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act requires financial institutions–companies that offer consumers financial products or services like loans, financial or investment advice, or insurance–to explain their information-sharing practices to their customers and to safeguard sensitive data.

The GLBA contains three main categories of protections

  1. Financial Privacy Rule: Financial institutions only collect and disclose personal financial information in certain contexts.  
  2. Safeguards Rule: To protect customer information, financial institutions must maintain appropriate safeguards. 
  3. Pretexting: Finally, consumers’ personal financial information should be protected from those looking to access it under false pretenses. 

Complying with GLBA regulations puts community banks, for instance, at lower risk of penalties and reputational damage

But, achieving and maintaining compliance can be difficult over time. 

In our experience, we’ve found six signs that a bank needs assistance in achieving GLBA compliance. 

 

1. You're Understaffed 

The first and most obvious sign that you'll need help handling GLBA compliance is finding that your organization is understaffed. 

The first bullet point on the FTC's website for “How to Comply” with GLBA says each company must "designate one or more employees to coordinate its information security program." 

Even if you have an internal IT department or person, chances are that they don't have the time (or the expertise) to dedicate to compliance. 

Finding an outside partner can make all the difference.



2. You're Not Sure What's Required 

While primary resources are available to help you understand what's needed, government documents can be difficult to understand and interpret. 

If you have the time, it's possible to pore over the documents and learn what is required of a financial institution to comply with GLBA. 

A shortcut an organization can take is to work with a partner whose expertise lies in helping other community banks and financial institutions understand what is required of them. 



3. You're Not Sure How To Comply

Knowing the requirements for GLBA is different from knowing how to implement them. 

If you have questions about how to collect and disclose personal information and how to maintain the safeguards to protect it, you’ll be best served reaching out to a qualified partner. 

 

4. You're Spending Too Much Time On It

Sifting through government documents and meeting with software vendors can be time-consuming. 

That’s why working with a team of experts can save you time—you can attend to your customers while your managed services provider works behind the scenes to protect their data. 

 

5. You've Experienced A Cybersecurity Incident

If your organization has experienced a cybersecurity incident in the past, and you’re unsure of your security posture today, you should assess your current situation. 

More than likely, a partner will initiate a network-wide scan to provide recommendations for how to minimize the effects of a future incident. 

 

6. You're Struggling To Train Your Team

Everyone is responsible for cybersecurity.

They don’t need to know the GLBA verbatim, but it’s up to everyone on your team to ensure compliance with GLBA regulations. 

A proper security awareness program should educate employees on appropriate behaviors as they relate to keeping sensitive data protected. 

If you’re experiencing any of these challenges, it’s time to research a qualified managed security services provider to help you with achieving compliance. 


Integrity specializes in GLBA compliance and provides support for audits and exams. We have extensive experience working with auditors from many firms, as well as examiners from the OCC and FDIC. We also follow guidelines outlined in your financial institution’s due diligence process. To learn more about preparing for your next audit, or remediating existing vulnerabilities, please download our complementary GLBA Compliance Checklist!

How to achieve GLBA compliance for your bank audits