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“The team stands together” — Guy Cormier


Alain Castonguay

13 September 2019 13:30

Guy Cormier | Photo : Alain Castonguay

The data leak experienced by the Desjardins group force the financial institution to review its management of it risk. The president and chief executive officer of Desjardins, Guy Cormier, tries to draw useful lessons from this leak, as much for its financial group for the members and customers of the cooperative.

Mr. Cormier was the guest luncheon, organized on 11 September by the Chamber of commerce and industry of Quebec (CCIQ). The gist of his argument was connected to the data leak announced on 20 June last, and that has affected 2.9 million members of Desjardins group, of which 175, 000 companies. Since the leak, no increase in the number of frauds has not been observed.

“In mid-June, I said that as a member of Desjardins group and as president, I felt betrayed. Three months later, I can tell you that I feel pampered, ” says Mr. Cormier. He took care to thank the employees of Desjardins, who form ” a great team. We stick together, ” he says.

The president of the financial institution also wished to thank members for their patience, their understanding and the expressions of confidence which have been made to him throughout the summer. Mr. Cormier says that ” the protection of our members is our only priority “, and that is why Desjardins has implemented its own program for protection, when his provider Equifax has been unable to meet the demand.

35 % adhered to the program Equifax

During the media scrum that followed, Mr. Cormier has confirmed that, to date, 35 % of the members affected by the data leak have joined the protection program offered by Equifax. “There are only two companies that offer this service in Canada” and the successful firm represents 70 % of the market, ” he said.

“We were victims of a malicious insider “, he recalls. Mr. Cormier admits not to know why the former employee of Laval responsible for the data leak has not yet been criminally charged. “The police of Laval and SQ are continuing their investigation and we work with them,” he says.

The financial institution has posted positive results for the quarter ended June 30, 2019, notwithstanding the provisions of 70 million of dollars (M$) that have been made to cover the new protections under the leak. Some 200 people are now in charge of cyber security. “We are in a permanent construction site for computer security “, he says.

Lessons to be learned

“When you’re the captain of the boat, you don’t choose your storms,” says Guy Cormier. It intends to encourage the whole population to improve its practices regarding the security of personal information.

Since 2015, Desjardins is actively involved in the Digital ID & Authentication Council of Canada, which prepares the ground for the arrival of a digital identity in Canada. The current mechanisms of protection are not adapted to the digital age, he says, recalling the use disordered in the number of social assistance (NAS) as a means of identification. The NAS is ” a system that was set up in 1964 and which has not been designed for that “, he said.

Desjardins has formed a working group to adopt best practices for the protection of personal information. The technological innovations must not increase the level of risk, ” he continues. “It has to be like a border between countries, friends : safe and fluid. “

The reflections of this working group will produce a report which will be made public in the first quarter of 2020. It is used to produce a component of citizenship education which will take the form of a practical guide to assist members and clients. “We are open to all good ideas,” said Mr. Cormier.

Desjardins will use this elsewhere in the world and major in Europe. Neither Quebec nor Canada are first class in terms of protection of personal information, he noted. In Estonia for example, it’s been 20 years that the citizens have a digital identity, said Guy Cormier.

Ironically, the morning of her speech, the insurer iA financial Group announced that the three representatives had bitten a phishing attempt made by hackers. This breach affects about 2,900 customers of the insurer.

Dynamism in Quebec city

The president of Desjardins group took full advantage of his presence in front of the business community in Quebec to underline the strength and dynamism of the regional economy. “The expansion of a growing number of businesses is hampered by lack of manpower. Quebec, champion of all categories of economic performance, could do even better without this barrier, ” said Mr. Cormier.

Desjardins group already holds a quarter of the credit market for companies in the metropolitan region of Québec, and the financial institution will continue to support the efforts of the companies that want to invest in the improvement of their productivity.

In addition, Desjardins has announced the awarding of$ 2.1 Million in support of a dozen of development projects in the National Capital. To this day, some 360 projects have been supported by the fund of$ 100 Million promised by Mr. Cormier in his election to the presidency in 2016, and approximately $ 76 Million has already been pledged to fund various community projects in both Quebec and Ontario.

The warranty cybercrime

Valérie Lamarre, senior advisor, public relations at Desjardins, said that the leak of personal information is related to an internal fraud and not a cyber attack. It specifies that the clients of Desjardins Insurance Companies already have access to three optional coverages : the restoration of identity, data compromise and cyber attack.

These amendments related to the cybercrime are offered to companies of all sizes since 2018. “No change has been made to this offer in connection with the record of the data leak last summer, both at the level of scope and pricing,” explains Ms. Lamarre.

According to the spokesperson, the accession to these guarantees is experiencing a nice growth among the customers of the insurer, even if there are many clients believe that only large companies are the target of the criminals of the Web. A kit of cyber security online is offered to the clients.

The Protection member Desjardins is offered to all members, both individuals and businesses. In the framework of a process of restoring identity, the member of the cooperative may be reimbursed up to $ 50,000 of expenses incurred. For the client-contractor who holds the optional warranty on the restoration of identity, the coverage may cover up to 85 000 $.

Client companies that wish to retain only the Protection member Desjardins will be able to withdraw this guarantee of their insurance contract. They will get a refund of the premium paid since July 15, 2019. Otherwise, they will be entitled to total coverage of $ 85,000, concludes Ms. Lamarre.

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