Just like their big-bank brethren, keeping customers' personal information safe is the top concern for most community bankers, according to a survey conducted by the Independent Community Bankers of America. Of nearly 1,300 respondents - 50 percent of which came from the Midwest - just over 80 percent listed customer safety as a top concern over the next 24 months.

It stands to reason then that 57 percent of respondents said they plan to increase IT spending on security and 51 percent said they would increase spending for fraud detection. Nearly 50 percent of banks had increased their tech budget in 2008.

The top three data security concerns were ID theft (81 percent), virus attacks (63 percent) and hacker attacks (61 percent). The top technology concerns, security related or not, were managing risks (81 percent), protecting data and infrastructure (74 percent) and adding value to the organization (52 percent).

Yet, while more than 75 percent of respondents had an external penetration test and/or an internal network security assessment in the last 12 months, less than half had a Web site security assessment and fewer than one-third have conducted social engineering tests.

There's reason for hope, though, that community banks have the technological ability to keep their customers safe. Three out of four bankers responded that their bank's technology is either on target (59 percent), better than expected (13 percent) or far ahead and advancing (three percent).

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