Two years ago, we discussed the fact that, pursuant to supplemental guidance issued by the FFIEC, financial institutions were going to have take seriously the need to educate their online banking customers about ways to prevent online banking fraud. BankInfoSecurity's Tracy Kitten recently interviewed the heads of social media and information security for Bank of the West about their efforts in this area. In addition to posting educational videos for customers on the bank's web site, the bank is uploading to the bank's Youtube channel in an attempt to make those videos "go viral." In other words, the bank is blending its internal information security technology and social media expertise to do what the bank regulators want them to do: help combat online banking fraud by educating their customers.
While the entire, relatively short, interview is worth a listen, I took away the following points:
- If you want social media content to "go viral" (for the social media challenged: "circulate widely via social media"), you have to make the content "relevant and compelling." You also must update it frequently. Easier said than done. It's why I believe that banks need to blend their internal talents, the way that Bank of the West is doing. Social media is not the sole province of either marketing or "technologists." It takes folks with a variety of skills to make it rock.
- To banks like this one, that have been in the social media game for a while, the recently proposed FFIEC social media guidelines are no big deal. They should be well positioned to meet those guidelines with little, if any, modification to their existing procedures. As one of the gentlemen interviewed observed, they've been expecting these guidelines for years.
- Social media (videos) is only one arrow in the educational quiver. The bank is also using seminars targeted to specific groups of customers (small businesses, primarily, since that's the customer group that is most at risk for online banking fraud losses).
- Of most concern to information security officers is the movement of organized criminal organizations into this arena. They bring with them the money and skill set (not to mention the ruthlessness) to pull off the most successful heists, targeting not the banks but their customers.
- Quality is more important than quantity in online education efforts. Throwing everything against the wall and seeing what sticks will likely not be a successful approach.
- You need cooperation from different areas of the bank to do this successfully. Therefore, you need "buyoff" internally before you launch, not after.
- Most of these efforts are too new to be able to measure their effectiveness, but using the tools that are available to do so on an ongoing basis is important. If your efforts aren't paying off, then you need to consider tweaking them.