The Cantonal Bank of Lucerne (LUKB) utilizes digital signatures for its e-mail traffic, thus allowing encrypted communication between customers and the bank. The system is based on an intelligent secure e-mail solution by Swisscom.
Discretion, trust and security have always been the core values in the banking sector, and the successful advance of electronic communication has not changed this. However, risks have risen dramatically, and sophisticated techno-logical competence is required in order to continue to guarantee discretion and security.
From a security perspective, e-mails may be compared to postcards: They may be viewed and also manipulated by many people. Not only the sender and recipient share their e-mails, but also anybody else with access to the re-spective network node. In contrast to the postcard, however, its electronic counterpart is virtually impossible to destroy completely, as it is stored in various l ocations before, during and after transmission, thus leaving a trail of information.
The increasing desire of many customers to use e-mails for communicating with their bank made LUKB act quickly: “We wanted to enable our customers to keep using the most widespread form of communication when contacting us without having to worry about security and confidentiality”, explains Bruno Schnarwiler, Head of Security at the LUKB. Another reason for this initiative was that e-mail had become a key e lement for LUKB regarding customer retention and acquisition. The bank decided to add a digital signature to all e-mails, thus guaranteeing the identity of the sender. This is very important, as the customer immediately recognizes that LUKB e-mails really do come from their bank advisor and are not part of a phishing attack. LUKB also allows its customers to encrypt their communication with the bank themselves (free of charge). “We are one of the first banks in witzerland to offer such a comprehensive range of measures to ensure the security and confidentiality of e-mail traffic”, adds Bruno Schnarwiler.
All this is possible thanks to the secure e-mail service offered by Swisscom – an intelligent solution that provides automatic e-mail encryption and digital signatures. The system is extremely simple and easy to use. Both LUKB employees and customers continue to use their usual e-mail environments. And they do not require any special knowledge to use the secure e-mail system. “The solution is very userfriendly and requires a minimal amount of administration thanks to a high level of auto-mation”, says Bruno Schnarwiler, explaining the additional advantages of secure e-mail. Some 24 LUKB employees were involved in the pilot phase over a period of three months. All processes were tested and optimized continuously during this phase. Above all, the security aspects related to the increased uti-lization of e-mails were examined in detail. It quickly became clear that the secure e-mail service could be used by all LUKB employees. The system was rolled out for the entire organization directly after the pilot phase. As the service was activated automatically for each user when first using the system (so-called self enrolment), a staged rollout was carried out successfully. Since the completion of the rollout, LUKB is benefiting from a state-of-the-art service including precise service level agreements and clearly defined service parameters – from a single source.
The secure e-mail service by Swisscom provides LUKB with a high level of confidentiality, commitment, integrity and authenticity. “Each potential e-mail recipient can be reached immediately and securely, without any specific infrastructure requirements”, explains Cyrill Peter, Product Manager IT Security at Swisscom. No secure e-mail products or addons need to be installed as the cryptographic processes for encryption and decryption are completed at a central location. The intelligent secure e-mail service can also be used to exchange documents, offers and other kinds of attachments.
Secure e-mail is integrated into the central e-mail platform of Swisscom to ensure the service is perfectly aligned with other e-mail security solutions. Swisscom’s high-security data center fulfils the highest demands regarding security and availability”, explains Cyrill Peter. “The solution by Swisscom stands out as an easy to use, open and fully scalable application”, added Bruno Schnarwiler. The “Luzerner Kantonalbank” is convinced that it has set a new, high standard for electronic communication with banking customers, thanks to the secure e-mail service.
The “Luzerner Kantonalbank” (LUKB) was founded in 1850 and is a classic all-round bank with approx. 1000 employees. In addition to standardized basic services, it also focuses on real estate and SME financing as well as investment advice and wealth management. The bank is represented in the important banking areas of Switzerland, with an agency in Ticino and a subsidiary, the Adler Privatbank AG, which has offices in Zurich and Basel. The “Luzerner Kantonalbank” is a public company under private law and its shares are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange.