National Ransomeware Alert: Our Cybersecurity at First Western Trust Bank

October 6, 2021


Yesterday, we received an alert from our cybersecurity information-sharing portal, sponsored by the Financial Services Information Sharing & Analysis Center (“FS-ISAC”), an agency of the Department of Homeland Security. This communication is directed to corporate executives and business leaders across the United States and originates directly from the White House. The threat of ransomware has become so critical to our national security that multiple measures are encouraged to mitigate this elevated risk.
At First Western, we continually assess our complement of security programs, solutions, teams, and response plans to ensure a resilient cybersecurity maturity. In order to deter the proliferation of ransomware, the U.S., along with international partners, is urging all private sector businesses to protect their networks with a recommended list of Five Best Practices:

Backup Data, System Images, and Configurations, Regularly Test Them, and Keep Backups Offline.

What We Do:

  • First Western leverages an enterprise-level backup system that is separated from our operational network and production systems. The backed-up data is encrypted while it is in transit, and while it is at rest. Two copies of backed up data is maintained one copy in the primary datacenter, and one copy in a geographically dispersed data center.
  • First Western and its industry-leading financial institution platform and managed services provider (“MSP”) monitors backup success daily, performs test restores, tests data center failovers, application and connectivity recovery, and other business resiliency preparedness.

Update Patch Systems Promptly.

What We Do:

  •  First Western ensures strong software and hardware vulnerability management, it engages a third party to conduct quarterly vulnerability scans as well as annual vulnerability and penetration testing. Additionally, First Western also utilizes another third party to conduct monthly enhanced vulnerability monitoring and critical patch management.
  • Using the industry-standard cybersecurity framework, First Western has robust cyber and business resilience programs that protect the integrity and confidentiality of its data and network for clients, users, and associates from unauthorized use, access and transfer utilizing state of the art intrusion protection, monitoring systems, cyber solutions and teams; vulnerability and threat scanning, and policy enforcement to protect against breach, malicious agents and adversarial information security acts.

Test Incident Response Plans.

What We Do:
• First Western has mature business resiliency management, disaster recovery, pandemic and incident response programs. Its complement of ongoing testing and training for business continuity management ensured its nimble pivot to remote, sustainable, profitable pandemic operations in 2020.

Check the Security Team’s Work

What We Do:
Not only does First Western comply with the industry standard of an annual third-party vulnerability and penetration test, it engages and additional quarterly vulnerability scan as well as another third-party service that conducts monthly enhanced vulnerability monitoring and patching. Additionally, not only does its MSP utilize a state of the art Security and Information Event Management solution (a “SIEM”) with a dedicated Managed IT team (“FISMIT”), First Western, itself, utilizes its own SIEM and a separate response team. These two, separate MSPs monitor First Western’s network activity 24/7 and focus on emerging threats and deployment of real-time incident response programs. Finally, First Western engages reputable audit firms to review operational controls and processes.

Segment Networks

What We Do:
Not only does First Western utilize a Virtual Desktop Interface solution that keeps sensitive data at rest confined to our secure datacenter, but it has also implemented a Virtual Local Area Networks (VLAN) which confines broadcast domains, reduces broadcast traffic, and logically separates business networks for granular enforcement of security policies. With its VLAN, First Western has created a virtual boundary around its business units.

First Western’s Additional Measures:

First Western has a continuous process improvement mentality around strategic cyber maturity and it couples that with the education of its clients and its associates.

First Western utilizes an array of endpoint, firewall, network intrusion, vulnerability management, anti-malware, host intrusion prevention and detection, and other 24/7 monitoring solutions and teams to ensure security of all of its information technology systems and users and conducts ongoing assessments of its cyber landscape to ensure its security stance is positioned for its current environment, emerging threats and growth initiatives.

First Western provides annual fraud and cyber awareness training for its personnel as well as monthly social engineering testing and training within a leadership-led risk-aware culture. Additionally, First Western employs a fully trained and staffed Risk/Fraud/Compliance staff that provides alerting and other risk-related training throughout the year. First Western’s clients receive cybersecurity communications to alert them to current and emerging threats as well as personalized recommendations for their business and personal email and account security.


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