CYBERSECURITY VIRTUAL ADVISORY SERVICES
With technical advancement rapidly evolving the state of many industries, information security is certainly at the forefront. In fact, cybersecurity is changing at, or even more, rapidly than consumer- or business-facing technology.
While this innovation is changing your business, it’s also changing the landscape for hackers and scammers. They are getting smarter, and they’re working harder to infiltrate businesses of all sizes and in all industries across the globe. There’s big money in hacking, sadly, attracting a great deal of young, bright talent.
To build a culture of security within your organization, and to constantly grow and evolve your security efforts to keep up with the bad guys, having an executive-level security officer on your team is critical.
We’ll talk about this a few times in this guide, but it bears repeating: CISOs, or Chief Information Security Officers, and CCOs, or Chief Compliance Officers, are expensive. According to Salary.com, the average salary for a CISO in the United States is between $192,000 and $254,000. Add in administrative costs and all that comes with them, and that number can quickly escalate to $300,000+.
That’s quite an investment for any organization.
Of course (and unfortunately), a breach or other security disaster can cost an organization many times that amount.
Thankfully, a full-time investment in a CISO isn’t necessary to gain the ongoing, strategic and literal protection your organization deserves for peace of mind and most importantly, results.
With our Virtual Information Security Officer (VISO) program, an experienced, senior-level information security expert from our team serves as your information security officer. They become a member of your team, your internal guide, overseeing strategic development and implementation of strategic principles.
They are in the trenches, teaching other members of your team what to fix and how, while managing outside vendors as necessary and overseeing a range of elements that all work together to keep your organization secure and/or compliant.
Your organization gains the experience, knowledge and peace of mind that comes with a senior-level information security officer guiding your organization, at a fraction of the cost of hiring a full-time resource.
Here at Vala Secure, we take a great deal of pride in serving as your guide. We are here to help you navigate the rough and ever-changing seas of cybersecurity and compliance. We’ve been doing this for more than 30 years, and as hackers, spammers, and regulatory guidelines change, we evolve right alongside them. With our virtual advisory services, our role as your guide takes on a new, even more important meaning. In the unique capacities of the VISO and VCO roles, we are literally members of your team, guiding and overseeing you on the path toward compliance and security.
The purpose of this page is to give you an in-depth introduction into virtual advisory cybersecurity and compliance services. We hope that upon reading this guide, you will feel comfortable making the best choice for your organization to ensure compliance and protect against ever-evolving cybersecurity threats. And if you need help reaching those goals, we hope you’ll choose Vala Secure to guide you through the steps along the way.
Specifically, this guide will examine the following components of virtual advisory:
- Virtual Advisory Services - An Introduction
- Virtual Information Security Officer (VISO) - An Introduction
- Services Provided by a Virtual Information Security Officer (VISO)
- Audits and Testing Overseen by Your VISO
- Virtual Compliance Officer (VCO) - An Introduction
- Services Provided by a Virtual Compliance Officer (VCO)
- Regulatory Compliance Audits Overseen by a Virtual Compliance Officer (VCO)
Virtual Advisory Services - An Introduction
What is virtual advisory?
Every organization today can benefit from the strategic oversight and knowledge of a senior level cybersecurity or compliance officer. Yet, the reality is that many organizations cannot afford to spend $200,000 in salary, plus another $50,000 to $100,000 more in recruiting, onboarding, training and administrative costs.
Virtual advisory affords every business the opportunity to tap into the knowledge base and expertise of senior-level cybersecurity and compliance experts, without the cost and overhead required by a full-time hire.
It takes a unique skillset for cybersecurity and compliance leaders to thrive in a virtual advisory role. Here at Vala Secure, our Virtual Information Security Officers (VISOs) and Virtual Compliance Officers (VCO) have extensive leadership experience as virtual advisors. They are able to seamlessly integrate with your company’s operations and easily weave the internal operations of your business.
How do virtual advisory and cybersecurity or compliance audits combine to better protect your organization?
We’ll talk more about the specific services provided by Virtual Information Security Officers (VISOs) and Virtual Compliance Officers (VCOs) in a bit. But in the meantime, you may be thinking about cybersecurity or compliance audits, and how a VISO or VCO relates to these important audits.
It’s actually similar to the comparison between a sprinter versus a marathoner. Think of individual cybersecurity and compliance audits as sprints. But the VISO/VCO are running a marathon.
Your VISO and/or VCO are focused on incremental improvements to your compliance and infosec programs. They are continually pushing the strategy of best practices and aligning them to your business goals. As your business goals/risks change, those programs should/will adapt to reflect those changes.
Audits are spot checks at specific points of the year to ensure your organization is on track with the regulatory guidance for that year. If your business is not on track, the audits will offer recommendations to bring them back on track.
Together, virtual advisory and cybersecurity or compliance audits work together to protect your organization in the short and long-term. Audits alone do not provide consistency to the rules and policies that your organization is supposed to follow. Only virtual advisory (or a full-time executive-level cybersecurity or compliance officer) can provide that.
Audits don't promise compliance or cybersecurity, they promise validation of your current state of compliance or cybersecurity at the point in time of the test. They also offer third-party perspective, so you have someone outside your day-to-day operations validating what your internal team is doing every day/week/month.
Seeing the connection between virtual advisory and audits in action
When you partner with Vala Secure to conduct, penetration testing, for example, your IT manager may have decided it made sense to test your network from the outside looking in. In those instances, we will conduct a thorough test and deliver a comprehensive report with specific recommendations on the actions you should take next to protect your organization.
That process is consistent across the board for our technology audits and cybersecurity testing.
Organizations with a VISO provided by Vala Secure; however, take an altogether strategic approach. With virtual advisory, your team gains someone who takes a holistic look at your organization to determine which tests are necessary. Oversees those tests and the implementation of any recommendations. Manages any outside vendors needed to implement (including our cybersecurity and/or compliance departments). And so much more.
Virtual advisory means ongoing, strategic protection and oversight for your organization. It places someone at the top who understand how your business works, then devises and implements a plan to ensure protection and/or compliance. As the waters of cybersecurity evolve or compliance regulations change, the plan evolves, and your VISO or VCO oversees any changes seamlessly. Freeing you to focus on what you do best: running your business.
Alternatives to virtual advisory
Virtual advisory fills two critical needs for organizations that need to ensure compliance and/or protect themselves from cybersecurity threats. In other words: just about every organization!
There are; however, four (4) common alternatives to virtual advisory that combined, are deployed by a majority of worldwide businesses (of all sizes).
Hiring an internal Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) or Chief Compliance Officer (CCO)
The most obvious alternative to a Virtual Information Security Officer (VISO) or Virtual Compliance Officer (VCO) is to hire your own full-time Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) or Chief Compliance Officer (CCO). This is the single, most-powerful way to add the amount of knowledge and resources to your team that you would gain with a VISO or VCO.
But it bears repeating: Hiring a full-time, internal CISO or CCO is expensive. To the tune of about $200,000 to $250,000 in salary alone, according to Salary.com. Add in costs for recruiting, onboarding, benefits, and all other administrative overhead, and suddenly the cost to protect your organization is topping $300,000 to $350,000!
For a vast majority of businesses today, that is simply not a feasible option. Yet, the critical need for compliance and protection against cybersecurity threats is very real, whatever the size and revenue of your organization.
Adding cybersecurity to the duties of your IT manager
Many organizations add cybersecurity to the already-exhaustive list of tasks on the shoulders of your IT manager. And while IT managers are adept at keeping your organization, its network, and your devices running (along with SO much more), a vast majority are unable to keep up with cybersecurity changes. At least, not at the level of intricacy needed to protect your organization at every level.
Trying one-off, band-aid attempts to fix the problem.
You’re busy running your business, and understandably, cybersecurity is a concern but not necessarily a priority. As a result, many organizations react to cybersecurity issues as they arise, attempting to resolve issues with one-off solutions from different vendors.
While “solutions” like this may temporarily put out fires, they do not protect your organization in the long run. A proactive, strategic approach with the help of an experienced, trusted partner protects your organization in the short and long run.
This is the scariest option of all, but for many organizations it is a daily reality. These leaders understand that cybersecurity threats are real and prominent, costing companies billions of dollars every year.
But, if nothing has happened to you yet, it can be awfully tempting to bury your head in the sand and deal with something if it comes up. Maybe you think your organization is too small to be targeted by hackers, or perhaps you purchased some software a few years ago that claims to protect you from common cybersecurity threats.
We’ve spoken to clients who deployed this method, and were literally waking up at night scared about what could happen. The potential ramifications to your business, your employees, and your customers could be catastrophic. While we don’t ever want to unnecessarily sound the alarm and try to stress you out, this is the unfortunate reality of business today. Whatever your industry, whatever your size, cybersecurity threats are very real.
Some organizations avoid taking steps toward ensuring compliance or protecting themselves from cybersecurity threats because they are intimidated by cybersecurity experts. This is completely understandable - we’ve seen the same messages and materials you have seen. That’s why here at Vala Secure, we do things differently. We help navigate the waters of cybersecurity and compliance together. You’re the hero of this story; we are here to help you get where you need to be.
Virtual Information Security Officer (VISO) - An Introduction
With technology audits and cybersecurity testing, a great deal of expertise and work is put into analyzing the many facets of your organization and telling you what you need to fix. At a high level, it’s a pretty straightforward process that, when you peel back the layers of the onion, is incredibly intricate.
The Virtual Information Security Officer (VISO) role moves into the strategic design and implementation of cybersecurity principles. With this service, we are developing the plan, writing policies/procedures, training your internal staff, conducting risk assessments, attending/running IT meetings and much more.
If you’ve been reading this guide from the beginning, you’ve heard us talk about the investment needed to recruit, hire, onboard, and retain a permanent, full-time Chief Information Security Officer, or CISO. It’s upward of $300,000 when you factor in salary and administrative costs.
Your Vala Secure VISO becomes a valued, trusted member of YOUR team, serving as your internal cybersecurity leader and maximizing your investment in the rest of your team. Not only do the direct costs of hiring a VISO from Vala Secure pale in comparison to the $300k needed for a full-time CISO hire, you get the added advantage of truly maximizing your additional internal resources.
Going beyond monetary investment, we recognize that in some locations across the country it can be a struggle to attract top information security talent to your organization.
We believe that the size or location of your business, whatever the industry, should never be a barrier to protection from cybersecurity threats.
Every organization needs senior-level guidance to keep its information, employees, and customers safe. That’s a big reason why we developed our Virtual Information Security Officer program.
Within your organization, our Virtual Information Security Officers will provide:
- Project Management & Risk Management Support
- Technology Policy Management.
- Incident Response Support
- Customized Training & Education
- Vendor Management Support & Review
- Business Continuity Management & Preparedness
- Forensic Retainer, Social Media Monitoring, Dark Web Scanning, Password Management and More
Services Provided by a VISO
Your organization needs senior-level guidance to protect its information, employees, and customers. Here at Vala Secure, our Virtual Information Security Officer (VISO) program was designed to provide you with precisely the level of expertise and implementation to achieve that goal.
The specific services provided by a VISO from Vala Secure were carefully developed and honed based on our own experiences as senior-level information security officers, and in decades of working with organizations from all areas and industries. We spoke with clients and met with our team to flesh out a program that was flexible enough to meet the needs of every organization yet structured enough to provide those services that are most important.
When you choose to partner with a VISO from Vala Secure, you’ll gain a treasure trove of expertise and experience, along with these deliverables:
Technology Advisory, Strategic, and Governance Support
At its base, the Virtual Information Security Officer joins your organization to provide information and insights that help protect your organization. To that effect, your VISO will provide general advisory services. What does that mean? Your VISO will be ready to research your challenges or questions, then provide articulate, actionable answers when you need them, via phone or email. Your VISO will also be sure to keep you up to date on the latest cybersecurity news, and any concerns that may arise.
Buy-in and understanding between key stakeholders in your organization is an essential component of your commitment to protecting your business. With that in mind, your VISO will coordinate regular feedback and Q&A sessions for your Board, so that they are constantly “in the loop” and kept abreast of testing, results, and any concerns.
Your technology department keeps your business running smoothly. Keeping this department on top of the latest security trends and highly secure is critical. Your VISO will identify, develop, and suggest improvements both strategic and process to help your technology department stay in tip-top shape.
Plus, your VISO will lead a support staff as needed to help you through specific technology projects, and to attend committee meetings as they arise. Your VISO will work closely with your technology point of contact to be sure everyone is on the same page and working toward the same goals.
Technology Policy & Risk Assessment Management
The seas of cybersecurity have an ebb and flow. Sometimes the tide moves one way, sometimes it moves in another direction. Developing and implementing a continuous improvement program, and conducting regular risk assessments, identifies and heads off any vulnerabilities so that you can continue focusing on your business. As a critical member of your team, your VISO will develop your technology policy and manage your risk assessments to keep things humming.
Incidence Response Support
If an incident does occur, having a plan in place to remedy the situation minimizes the damage and gets your business back to work, often with nary a blip. Your VISO will create internal and external Incident Response Plans for Board approval, and as necessary, will work through the course of action with your staff.
Responding properly to an incident means more than technical support, though. Besides addressing the real or potential threat, your VISO will craft responses to any security breaches (like viruses, compromised emails or customer information, etcetera) and disseminate through your channels including email, your website, media requests, and more.
Education and Training
While your VISO will be developing, overseeing, and implementing your information security strategy, your entire team contributes to the security of your organization. To keep your team informed and empowered, your VISO will conduct training with your entire company, and at the department level.
Training will be customized to the specific needs and responsibilities of those employees, to IT best practices, as well as to any testing results. Once they’re on the schedule, your VISO will also remind your team and provide regular content to ensure information security stays top of mind.
Vendor Management and Due Diligence
Your partner vendors help keep your business running effectively and efficiently (like Vala Secure!). But they can also open up your organization to risk. Your VISO will develop, manage, and maintain your Vendor Due Diligence Program. He or she will develop and implement a risk assessment program for all your critical technology vendors, and will help gather any necessary documentation from those partners.
Business Continuity Management and Preparedness
Your VISO will develop (or create, if necessary) and provide ongoing management of your Business Continuity Plan or Business Impact Analysis. This service runs the gamut to ensure your business keeps running smoothly in case of an information security emergency. Everything from Recovery Time Objectives to training schedules, agendas, and checklists to keep everyone organized and prepared. Your VISO will also perform tabletop disaster scenario planning with your appropriate committee or team members.
Audits and Testing to Complement the Services Provided by your VISO
Your VISO will lead the way to keep your organization, employees, and customers protected. Chief among your VISO’s responsibilities is creating the plans and policies that will do just that.
From there, your organization will work with an Auditor to test those policies against the regulations, to ensure they are hitting all the necessary requirements. Your VISO and the Auditor work together in a checks and balances relationship to ensure your organization is protected under lock and key.
Technology audits and cybersecurity testing that may be implemented to test the policies and processes created by your VISO include:
Security is much more than simply checking boxes. Your VISO will customize each audit to ensure your business is thoroughly reviewed. If there’s something to be found, we’ll find it! Then, your VISO will craft an action plan to address any risks or vulnerabilities found during the audits.
Your VISO may conduct any or all of the following technology audits:
Regulatory Technology Audit
A regulatory technology audit will examine hundreds of items in your organization to identify any vulnerabilities in adherence to regulatory guidelines. In financial institutions and other organizations where compliance is critical, a regulatory technology audit can help you avoid challenges down the road.
Hackers are pretty savvy. They frequently steal and use personal medical information to do all sorts of fiendish things. To protect people across the country, the U.S. government passed the HITECH act. Hackers continue to adjust, and regular HIPAA audits are the government’s way of ensuring companies holding and using medical information are doing their best to protect their customers.
Our HIPAA testing will identify any vulnerabilities to ensure you’re compliant before the government comes knocking. Depending on your specific organization and needs, we’ll craft a custom HIPAA testing plan to check every possible nook and cranny.
ISO Gap Analysis
When only the highest level of security and protection will do, organizations aim for ISO 27001 certification. The cream of the crop proudly display their ISO 27001 status...but diligent oversight and testing is important to stay at the top of the pack.
As your audit nears, it’s important not to go in blind. Your VISO will lead the way for ISO Gap Analysis, which will compare your current security standards to ISO 27001 requirements. We’ll identify any gaps between your current standards and the standards needed to achieve and maintain ISO certification. Kind of like taking the PSAT before the SAT -- we’ll conduct the pretest so you can anticipate how you’ll score (and address any vulnerabilities before the big day!).
Sometimes, you don’t need the fine tooth comb of a full technology audit. Sometimes you need to just check the locks on the windows and doors...or something like that ;)
In all seriousness, a risk assessment makes sense for many organizations in many circumstances. If your VISO determines a risk assessment makes sense (now, and in many cases throughout the year to proactively identify concerns), we will assess all major areas of risk within your organization and calculate your Overall Risk Level. Then, with the resulting report, your VISO will implement the necessary changes to close any vulnerabilities.
The word “breaches” sends a shiver down the spine of business leaders around the world. That’s because when we hear about breaches on the news, we are often pummeled with scary threats and risks and PR disasters and all that sort of thing.
Here at Vala Secure, and especially with your VISO, we don’t get lost in hype or fear tactics. Instead, we take a calm, measured approach to protecting your business from a breach.
Your breach assessment is a personal, real-time inspection. It is a powerful way to test your organization on a number of levels without placing you at risk.
Cybersecurity tests with Vala Secure measure the effectiveness of your cybersecurity strategy, and outline the steps you can take to address any vulnerabilities and concerns. Your VISO will determine which cybersecurity testing makes sense for your business, then will oversee the testing and implementation of solutions to address any concerns.
Your cybersecurity testing may include any or all of the following:
During Penetration Testing, we use a variety of tools to try and gain access to your network from the outside looking in. Some of the tools we use include Nexpose, Metasploit Pro, Kali Linux and more. And our Penetration Testing is administered by a team of experienced, passionate cybersecurity experts here at Vala Secure -- all overseen by your VISO.
Penetration Testing will identify any flaws or opportunities that hackers and other nefarious characters could try to exploit in the future. Then, your VISO will take steps to address the opportunities and fix the flaws so that your organization is wrapped up tight and snug.
Penetration Testing - Wireless
Traditional Penetration Testing protects your organization from bad guys around the world. But what happens when the bad guys are right outside your door?
BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies and public-facing WIFI in particular can open up businesses to vulnerabilities. Yet, it’s pretty hard to tell your employees they can’t check their email on their phones, and your clients or customers that they’re out of luck when it comes to internet access.
Wireless access points often provide an entryway into your network for hackers. Even if your primary network is well protected. During wireless penetration testing, we’ll test every possible access point to your network, all under the guise of your VISO. If there’s a way to get in, we’ll find it.
Internal Vulnerability Assessment
A lot of cybersecurity testing takes an “outsider” approach -- trying to break in or exploit a way into your network. With an Internal Vulnerability Assessment, your VISO will test your internal network to see if any vulnerabilities exist from the inside.
Your VISO will oversee a range of scans during an Internal Vulnerability Assessment, which will comb through your network, servers, workstations, wireless network, software, and databases using cutting-edge technology. We have the tools and expertise to go toe to toe with hackers -- and keep them away.
Based on what we uncover during an Internal Vulnerability Assessment, your VISO will take action to address any concerns.
While your employees are humming along, doing their jobs and contributing to your bottom line, it’s possible that crafty bad guys are coming up with new ways to exploit them to gain entry into your organization.
Chief among them is, well, your employees. In fact, a recent report found that 47% of leaders indicated human error led to a data breach in their organization.
With social engineering, your VISO will oversee testing of your human network. Social Engineering identifies vulnerabilities with phone calls, phishing emails, in-person attempts...even dumpster diving (if the bad guys would do it, we will do it!).
If we find any vulnerabilities in your human network, your VISO will take action to close them up and keep your business safe, without embarrassing your employees.
VMaaS or Vulnerability Management as a Service, ensures consistent monitoring of your internal network to identify and proactively respond to potential vulnerabilities before they cause trouble.
Your VISO will oversee the development and implementation of VMaaS to continuously protect your organization throughout the year. We’ll conduct monthly scans and send detailed reports to your VISO. Plus, we can conduct on-demand scans when requested.
For organizations subject to SOC 2 and SOC 3 testing completed by external auditors, our SOC reporting will test and report on your organization’s security, availability, or the processing integrity of your system.
Virtual Compliance Officer (VCO) - An Introduction
We are super proud of the stellar reputation we’ve built in the financial industry over the past 30 years. We’ve served as a compliance and cybersecurity guide, conducting audits and assessments for banks and FIs across the country for decades.
Over the course of the past quarter century or so, we provided guidance and steps to help banks and FIs stay compliant. But we also found that in many cases, these businesses didn’t have the internal resources needed to take action on our recommendations.
All banks and FIs could benefit from the expertise and guidance of a Chief Compliance Officer. But many cannot afford the $200k price tag that comes along with that hire. And that doesn’t even include benefits!
There had to be a way to provide our bank and FI clients with the executive compliance leadership they needed to protect their organizations, without…(forgive us, but we have to…) breaking the bank.
We sat down to devise a program that balanced the strategy and oversight of a Chief Compliance Officer with the flexibility (in time and cost) to scale up or down depending on the unique needs of every bank or FI.
The result of our efforts is the Vala Secure Virtual Compliance Officer (VCO) program.
As regulations continuously evolve in both number and complexity, your VCO stays up to date on the latest changes, providing your bank or FI with the most recent, critical information needed to make the right decisions.
Your Virtual Compliance Officer (VCO) will provide:
- Compliance Program Management
- Regulatory Knowledge Resource
- Customized Training & Education
- Policy, Procedure and Risk Assessments
- Internal Compliance Audit
- Compliance Committee Guidance
- Project Management
- Compliance Monitoring
- Compliance Advisory Services
Services Provided by a Virtual Compliance Officer (VCO)
Our Virtual Compliance Officer (VCO) program was carefully designed by our team of banking and FI compliance leaders to offer you the strategy, guidance, and oversight needed without the hefty price tag of a full-time Chief Compliance Officer. Using our Virtual Compliance Officer offering provides you with a wide perspective coming from a range of compliance viewpoints from our broad spectrum of clients from de novo to $5B in asset size.
The specific services provided by a VCO from Vala Secure were carefully developed and honed based on decades of experience with banks and financial institutions. The result is a robust service with one-on-one attention from a trusted VCO that truly assimilates into your team.
Your VCO service is custom developed to meet your precise needs. Whether you need to contact your VCO daily, weekly, or a few times a month, your VCO is at the ready. You’ll always receive the highest priority response time and feedback.
When you choose to partner with a VCO from Vala Secure, you’ll gain the senior-level knowledge and experience needed to ensure compliance, including:
Compliance Program Management
In addition to the overall management of your Virtual Compliance Officer (VCO) program, Compliance Program Management also includes the development or fine-tuning of your internal Compliance Program. Your VCO can offer support for an existing Compliance Officer (if applicable) or in most cases, will act as the Compliance Officer within your organization.
Regulatory Knowledge Resource
Keeping up with the world of regulations can be overwhelming; and with all that’s already on your plate, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with every change affecting your bank’s compliance. With a VCO, you can relax and focus on running your business.
Your VCO brings over 20 years of regulatory compliance knowledge and serves as your in-house regulatory knowledge resource. The Vala Secure Virtual Compliance team serves as a fountain of knowledge -- it’s our job to know the ins and outs of regulations, and to help you stay compliant! Send your VCO policies, procedures, disclosures, forms, and more for input to ensure they adhere to regulatory guidelines. Your VCO will be available by phone or email, so that your team can reach out with any regulatory questions.
Customized Training & Education
While you may not have to understand every small detail about regulatory compliance, it is important for your team to understand the essentials and perform their everyday tasks with compliance in mind. To help ensure everyone is on the same page, your VCO is available to assist with the development and administration of custom training and education.
First, your VCO will review any existing training program, then we can help fill in any gaps where additional or more intense training is needed. Our team can also assist in training your internal Compliance Officer and/or staff, if needed. This training can be provided in person or via webinars, and can be supplemented by email educational opportunities.
Policy, Procedure, and Risk Assessments
Every time regulations change, your bank or FI may need to change a bit too. Your VCO can assist with the development of policies, procedures, and risk assessments in response to new regulatory requirements. Your VCO can also update existing policies, procedures, and risk assessments in response to regulatory changes or with the addition of any new product development, as needed.
Internal Compliance Audit
Of course, with regulatory requirements, audits are necessary to ensure your compliance. With a VCO from Vala Secure, preparation for audits is all smooth sailing. Your VCO can oversee our full range of Regulatory Compliance Audits depending upon your specific needs, including: ACH Audit, BSA/AML/OFAC Audit, BSA Validation Audit, Compliance Website Review, Deposit Operations Compliance Audit, Fair Lending Audit, and Lending Compliance Audit. These can be done in person or remotely or a combination of both depending upon your needs and preferences. We’ll dig into specific audits overseen by your VCO in the next section.
Compliance Committee Guidance
VCOs from Vala Secure also provide compliance committee guidance, which could include setting up a Compliance Committee that reports to the Board of Directors, provision of reports that should be presented to the Compliance Committee, and attendance (either by phone or in person) at such Compliance Committee meetings.
With constant changes to regulations affecting banks and FIs, the management of your compliance program is an ongoing task. Your VCO will develop and/or expand your current compliance program on a continual basis. This may include identifying, developing, and implementing strategic process improvements, controls, and standards.
Your VCO will also provide regulatory updates and summaries related to any new or changing regulations to leadership (and may disseminate to the rest of your team as needed). Plus, your VCO will keep you on track to smoothly get through your audits by establishing important timelines and reminders for completion of any compliance program activities.
Ensuring compliance requires an ongoing commitment. As such, your VCO will establish a monitoring schedule on key processes, policies, and procedures. The most important goal with ongoing monitoring is to identify any problem areas before audit examiners do, and to present appropriate solutions that address them.
Your VCO will also conduct virtual reviews in all areas that are examined by regulatory agencies. To keep you in the loop on regulatory performance, your VCO will develop monitoring review reports and present them to your compliance committee and/or Board of Directors.
Compliance Advisory Services
During the day-to-day operations of your bank or FI, questions and situations arise where support and knowledge may be needed to help with regulatory interpretations, concerns, and processes. We’ll work with your team to keep your business moving forward, without letting regulatory concerns slow you down.
Clients tell us that sometimes it can seem impossible to find answers to their specific compliance questions. We excel at research, and our VCO team knows where to look for answers to those difficult questions (that’s if we don't already have the answers at our fingertips!). We’ll share prompt results for any research performed and will provide feedback whenever opinions are requested.
Regulatory Compliance Audits that Complement Services Provided by Your Virtual Compliance Officer (VCO)
Your VCO will be at the helm as an internal resource, helping you keep your bank on the path toward compliance. As noted in the previous section, one of the core responsibilities of your VCO is to oversee regulatory audits.
We care about protecting your bank or FI and keeping you in compliance. These audits are completed either remotely, in person, or a combination of the two, depending on your specific needs. If any issues are found during the completion of one or all of these audits, specific recommendations will be made for addressing them before your next exam.
Regulatory compliance audits that may be implemented to test your policies, procedures, and regulations include:
ACH Compliance Audit
An ACH compliance audit may be completed on site or remotely and ensures your bank or FI complies with all provisions of the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA) Operating Rules during your required annual audit.
We will perform an evaluation of the overall adequacy and effectiveness of your BSA/AML compliance program. This will include policies, procedures, processes, risk assessments, and more. The Vala Secure regulatory compliance team will also verify your adherence to the BSA recordkeeping and reporting requirements by performing transactional testing. As part of the BSA audit, we will review an assessment of your overall process for identifying and reporting suspicious activity, as well as the effectiveness of the process.
BSA Model Validation
During BSA model validation, we will review and analyze your use of the automated BSA program and present any findings or recommendations in a risk-rated report based on the following model:
- Model Usage and Effectiveness
- Development, Implementation, and Use
- Governance and Control Mechanisms
Deposit Operations Compliance Audit
Mistakes in the way your bank places holds on accounts, discrepancies within your new account disclosures and periodic statements, or a breakdown in your error resolution procedures can lead to potential violations within your next regulatory compliance exam. One of our regulatory deposit team members will thoroughly evaluate your deposit operations to determine compliance, and address all regulatory requirements through in-depth, independent testing and review.
Fair Lending Audit
Fair lending violations can have devastating effects on an organization. Vala Secure will determine whether your organization participates in any discriminatory practices on a prohibited basis that could lead to fair lending violations under the Fair Housing and Equal Credit Opportunity Acts.
Lending Compliance Audit
Vala Secure will evaluate your lending compliance management program and its ability to ensure technical performance within regulatory compliance. Together, we’ll review any procedural weaknesses and direct your attention toward those areas that pose the greatest risk of compliance or legal issues.
Virtual advisory services, including a Virtual Information Security Officer and a Virtual Compliance Officer, help banks and FIs get the senior-level expertise and experience needed to keep them compliant and protect them from hackers. All without a multiple six-figure price tag.
We hope that this in-depth introduction into virtual advisory cybersecurity and compliance services helps you feel comfortable and confident when making the best choice for your bank or FI. The seas of compliance and cybersecurity can be a bit rough to navigate, but here at Vala Secure, we’re here to serve as your guide, helping you achieve and maintain compliance and keep your business secure. We’ll help you protect your customers, your employees, and your business.
To learn more about virtual advisory services from Vala Secure, contact us to schedule a consultation.