Every organisation is expected to comply with ongoing regulatory changes, and the superannuation industry is no different. The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) is constantly enacting new standards and best practices that superannuation institutions must adopt. A few standards, in particular, focus on mitigating risks and practising due diligence when utilising technology.
By partnering with a reliable managed IT services provider (MSP) like Empower IT, institutions can simplify APRA compliance. Here’s how:
Superannuation funds are attractive prospects for cybercriminals. They store and manage mountains of sensitive information, including personal data, bank account details, tax file numbers, and ATO logins. They’re a massive cash cow, with assets over $2.7 trillion in Australia. At the same time, superfund providers are increasingly adopting interconnected systems that may give cybercriminals an entry point if not secured properly.
Back in 2019, regulators dismantled an online fraud syndicate that emptied millions of dollars from superannuation accounts. According to reports, stolen identity information from the dark web marketplaces were the driving force behind these frauds.
Due to these heightened risks, the APRA has strict standards when it comes to information security. Essentially, superannuation institutions must understand the weaknesses of their IT environment and implement the right controls to protect information assets from security breaches. This is where cybersecurity services from Empower IT can help. We provide:
- Comprehensive vulnerability and regulatory compliance assessments to understand your organisation’s risk levels and how it measures up to APRA regulations.
- Implementation of data security solutions designed to meet your requirements. This may include advanced threat prevention systems, role-based access restrictions, multifactor authentication, encryption software, endpoint protection programs, and more.
- Security training to help employees develop an understanding of cyber scams, proper data sharing practices, and good password hygiene.
- Proactive IT monitoring and testing of the organization’s security framework to further minimise the risk of a security breach.
2. Business continuity
Faulty IT, security breaches, natural disasters, and health crises massively disrupt a firm’s ability to provide essential services to beneficiaries and stakeholders. To minimize these risks, the APRA requires superannuation institutions to implement a ‘whole-of-business approach to business continuity management’.
This means institutions must thoroughly evaluate the likelihood and severity of certain business continuity risks and develop appropriate response strategies. For example, if a fire occurs, there must be an evacuation plan, data backups, and a secondary facility in place to keep operations running. It’s also crucial to have a communication plan for notifying key stakeholders and the APRA about the situation so both can take swift action.
There are many elements to consider when it comes to business continuity management, but Empower IT makes compliance easy by:
- Conducting risk assessments to identify likely events that may disrupt business operations.
- Performing business impact analyses to determine how particular incidents will affect business operations, data, people, equipment, revenues, and reputation.
- Formulating a security incident response plan that includes detailed steps on containing, eradicating, and recovering from a breach.
- Setting up data backup solutions and procedures in case of data loss.
- Providing IT solutions and support for alternate sites in case the superannuation firm’s primary office is inaccessible.
- Advising institutions on developing contact lists and communication plans for notifying the APRA and other affected parties.
- Reviewing and revising the business continuity plan at least twice a year to improve response protocols and recovery times.
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3. Dependable outsourcing
Superannuation institutions typically outsource functions like auditing, payment processing, administrative tasks, and IT management to a third-party organisation. When they decide to enter an outsourcing agreement, APRA standards require them to manage risks that have a massive impact on business operations. If institutions outsource their IT, for instance, their MSP must meet certain performance benchmarks. In this case, their MSP should have powerful information security, good data management practices, routine backups, and round-the-clock support.
Similarly, if outsourcing involves cloud computing services, providers must guarantee certain minimums regarding uptime, security, and business continuity plans. Empower IT helps superannuation entities comply with APRA regulations through the following:
- Financially backed service level agreements that outline the quality of performance institutions can expect. This includes 24/7 service desk, local and remote support, same-day ticket resolutions, managed backups, and regular security patching.
- Proactive monitoring and maintenance to keep the firm running smoothly.
- Cloud infrastructure and solutions that promise 99.9% service availability.
- Data backed up in multiple cloud servers located across Australia.
- Advanced encryption and multilayered security to protect sensitive assets and data.
- Monthly reports on system health and compliance with APRA standards.
If you manage a superannuation institution and need professional assistance with APRA compliance, Empower IT is your best option. We provide customised IT services and solutions to ensure your institution’s security, business continuity, and compliance. Call us today to keep your organisation in line with ever-changing regulations.