Reaping the Benefits of Worry-Free IT Management
When Brian Maurizio joined Southern Illinois University (SIU) Credit Union in 2004, the financial mainstay of Carbondale, Illinois, was in the process of completing several mergers and acquisitions that would fuel considerable growth over a five-year period.
However, such growth requires extra resources, especially from an IT perspective. Building new branches, assembling new offices and onboarding additional employees meant SIU Credit Union’s network had to grow to meet the additional demand, and Maurizio’s team needed a hand.
“We were building several brick-and-mortar branches, and we needed help managing our network devices and extending our network to those new branches,” says Maurizio, who became SIU Credit Union’s VP of Information Technology in 2011. “We had to have someone monitoring those devices 24 hours a day so we knew what was going on with our network.”
The credit union needed a reputable partner to help manage its considerable IT infrastructure and cybersecurity needs, and CSI was more than happy to step into that role.
“They’re an Extension of our IT Department”
In addition to building SIU Credit Union’s network, CSI has worked closely with Maurizio since 2004 to help manage the credit union’s VoIP network, wireless network, storage area network and migration from on-premise email server to cloud-based Microsoft Office 365®. CSI also assists the credit union with crucial business continuity planning.
Maurizio leads an IT staff of three, and because of the close working relationship he has with CSI, he says he hasn’t hired additional IT staff in almost 10 years.
“We can lean on CSI to help us grow because they’re an extension of our IT department,” says Maurizio. “They even help with smaller, one-off problems, too. If we’re having an issue and can’t figure it out, we just call CSI.”
“We can lean on CSI to help us grow because they’re an extension of our IT department. They even help with smaller, one-off problems, too. If we’re having an issue and can’t figure it out, we just call CSI.”
SIU Credit Union
With CSI’s help managing the credit union’s critical servers and network devices, Maurizio says his staff has more availability to support employees, and he has more time to manage important initiatives that will help the credit union grow and provide enhanced services to more members.
“We recently acquired our Community Development Financial Institution certification, which gives us the ability to assist underserved and low-income populations with different types of loans,” Maurizio says. “As part of that, we are also testing self-service kiosks to deploy into counties that really need our help, and we’re very excited about that.”
With such ambitious IT-related initiatives on the horizon on top of handling SIU Credit Union’s robust technology needs, it would be safe to assume that Maurizio spends a lot of energy worrying about and dealing with cybersecurity. But that’s not the case in a CSI partnership.
“Peace of Mind That Lets Me Sleep at Night”
With cyberattacks and data breaches on the rise and hackers looking for more opportunities to exploit businesses, no network is safe from cyber threats. That’s why SIU Credit Union depends on CSI for firewall management, unified threat management, patch management, intrusion prevention system (IPS) protection and other services that improve the credit union’s cybersecurity posture.
In fact, Maurizio says CSI’s IPS detected and prevented nearly 15,000 threats to SIU Credit Union’s network in just two months.
“I have peace of mind knowing that when I lay down at night, CSI is actively monitoring our network to keep it secure,” says Maurizio.
SIU Credit Union’s IT team also works with CSI to complete annual IT and cybersecurity risk assessments. Together, they comb through the entire network to make sure everything is working correctly and that there are no security vulnerabilities. Maurizio says this work pays dividends during yearly audits from the state of Illinois and the National Credit Union Administration.
“Our examiners like to see that we have 24/7/365 service and monitoring from CSI on our network and devices. When they ask how we handle change management and monitor logs, it’s nice to say we have CSI do all of that for us. They don’t question you much when you work with a reputable vendor.”
Brian Maurizio SIU Credit Union
“Our examiners like to see that we have 24/7/365 service and monitoring from CSI on our network and devices,” Maurizio says. “When they ask how we handle change management and monitor logs, it’s nice to say we have CSI do all of that for us. They don’t question you much when you work with a reputable vendor.”
Maurizio says the reliability of CSI’s IT infrastructure management and cybersecurity tools even prepared the credit union for one of the most unpredictable situations he’s ever faced: the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We Were Prepared for COVID-19”
COVID-19 left many businesses scrambling to implement work-from-home policies and deploy methods for employees to complete their work efficiently and securely from outside the office.
But Maurizio says SIU Credit Union did not have to scramble because its virtual private network (VPN) —built and managed by CSI—was ready to support a remote workforce.
“We were prepared for COVID-19,” says Maurizio. “We didn’t have any remote workers before the pandemic, but since our VPN setup was already going through CSI, all we had to do was send our employees home with a laptop connected to the VPN and they could access our system remotely with no issue.”
Since the pandemic hit, Maurizio says he has reviewed his VPN capabilities with CSI and discussed the possibility of accommodating more remote workers for longer periods, if necessary.
“It’s nice to know that if we had to install VPN devices at an employee’s house, for example, we could do that,” he says.
It may seem that Maurizio is reaping all the advantages of CSI’s worry-free IT management, but he says he isn’t the only one benefitting from the partnership with CSI.
“Our Members Are the Ones Reaping the Most Benefits”
For almost 17 years, SIU Credit Union and CSI have worked together in a fruitful partnership that enables the credit union to grow and scale without expanding the IT department—allowing the institution to provide excellent service to its members without having to worry about the burden of managing IT infrastructure and a robust cybersecurity platform.
“To me, our members are the ones reaping the most benefits from our partnership with CSI,” Maurizio says. “All of our technology is designed to help our members and give them the tools they need to live their best financial lives, and they benefit from the effort CSI puts in to make everything work.”