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Backing up a year of technical transformation

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

We can count the weeks remaining in 2020 on our fingers and an eagerly anticipated new year is in sight. As we take time to relax this Christmas and look back on the unimaginable events of the past twelve months, the Irish credit union movement has much to reflect on with pride. Recognised as an essential service, our credit unions remained open throughout lockdown, transforming their operations to provide for members with an ethos of community and service that was plain to see.

The power of technology 2021 holds great promise of a safe return to closer contact with our wider circles of family and friends. Yet, for me, the power of technology to bring us all together, even when we had to stay apart is one positive I will carry into the new year. For businesses too, connectivity and telecoms became the linchpins that made it possible for work to continue when doors were closed.

Backing up transformation As the pace of change slows and a new calendar leaf looms it is also time to reflect on the transformations we have wrought and the tasks that remain. In Viatel, we work with many of the country’s credit unions providing technical advice and guidance along with our services. One area of focus for us in 2021 the back up of services.

The Covid-19 effect

Disaster Recovery plans in credit unions tend to concentrate, understandably, on share and loan systems. This focus potentially leaves other data without appropriate back up. Email is a particular concern because as face-to-face transactions decreased in branches, in line with HSE guidelines, many credit unions facilitated greater electronic engagement with members. Worryingly, email became the weapon of choice for cyber criminals seeking to exploit the pandemic. Operating outside of normal patterns greatly increases the chances of any of us, and our employees, falling victim to such a scheme. Last but not least, email back up is an area of IT governance that the Central Bank has brought to the sector’s attention in the past.

The bigger email picture Credit unions are not alone in their need to address email back up. While 285 million people worldwide operate Office 365, six in ten users do so without comprehensive back up. This is startling given the level of email data that is routinely compromised. 81% of IT professionals have experienced a data loss in Office 365. Given the increased reliance on email across all financial institutions and exposure to threats occasioned by Covid-19, prioritising email back up within each credit union’s risk management framework may be a new year’s resolution worth considering.

Seasonal wishes On behalf of the whole team at Viatel, I wish you all a safe and happy Christmas, a healthy new year and a heartfelt thank you for your frontline work in the community throughout the pandemic. Eilish O’Connor is Chief Technical Officer (CTO) with leading Irish cloud, connectivity and business availability provider, Viatel. Eilish combines technical insight with business acuity to guide and advise our customers. A member of her local credit union in Nenagh since childhood, Eilish would be happy to chat to you on You can visit us online at


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