Banks cash in on integrated, scalable systems
Editor / Provider: Israel Gogol, Freelancer, a&s International | Updated: 1/27/2015 | Article type: Commercial Markets
In recent years the most talked-about security threats to banks have been cybercrimes and fraud. Though it seems that traditional security systems are no longer in the spotlight; banks still make substantial investment in their physical security systems. Changes in the design and layout of banks as well as banks' desire to make the most out of their installed systems have great impact on the design and implementation of current security systems.
Banks hold the great responsibility of keeping our money safe. Even though most of this money is now in the form of electronic bits and bytes, banks are still one of the first associations when we think of security and surveillance systems.
Banks usually balance the mix of their security systems between discrete and unobtrusive systems such as emergency buttons and small hidden cameras (e.g., at the counter area or an ATM pinhole camera) and more visible measures such as guards and larger cameras. The visible security systems serve a double purpose, both deterring potential violators as well as giving customers a feeling the bank is indeed a safe place to keep their money. Surveillance systems installed in banks will usually combine several cameras with different functionality. Outside the bank infrared cameras will provide day and night monitoring. Inside the branch, dome and bullet cameras are used for lobby and counter monitoring for clear picture capturing and forensic evidence. The main purpose of these cameras is to prevent illegal intrusion by unauthorized people as well as monitoring the office environment to prevent property loss.
CHALLENGES OF THE BANKING VERTICAL
A major obstacle facing security companies and systems integrators is aligning the security needs of individual branch locations with the requirements outlined by the corporate headquarters. “Securing the bank branches themselves is different from securing a corporate headquarters or data center location, as branches are more often the targets for criminals since it's assumed that's where the money is located,” explained Matt Frowert, Director of Marketing for Financial Services at Tyco Integrated Security. Therefore, the standard level of security and defense are more in-depth at a branch than for a corporate office. Many times legacy systems, or different versions of the same platform, may be found in different regional branches of the same institution within a country, which makes centralized management difficult. In addition, there may be internal resistance to changes or upgrades that the corporate standards demand due to funding constraints, or the local staff being inexperienced and lacking training regarding proper security measures and systems. Another challenge may simply be a matter of timing and scheduling; implementing major technology upgrades across very large financial institutions with many branches and offices.
NEW BANK LAYOUTS
In recent years banks have been changing their traditional set-up to be more appealing to customers. There are more “light” branches located inside shopping malls and supermarkets. Traditional branch layout and design have also changed and now include more open floor plans and fewer staff which are tasked with broader responsibilities. “More in-branch automation and systems found in these new types of banks very likely means that they may not have the same levels of cash that traditional branches have,” added Frowert. “During a robbery attempt, the suspect may be confused when he discovers there is limited teller cash and no safe like there would be in a traditional bank set-up. These new frameworks for bank branches will affect the security of the customers themselves and the bank's security model for protection,” he explained.
As a result, emphasis is placed on new systems that offer increased ATM protection through anti-skimming technology, access control, and proper lighting measures for ATM vestibules to help ensure customers are properly protected.
BENEFITS OF INTEGRATED SYSTEMS FOR BANKS
Like any other enterprise, banks require their systems provide security, safety, efficiency, and cost saving. “Normally, powerful VMS software can integrate four systems, such as video monitors, access control, alarm systems, and the intercom system, which are used to communicate with bank clients at other locations, for example using an ATM at a different site,” said Nathan Chen, Solution and Product Manager at Dahua Technology. In turn, each system includes several components: alarm systems for example will include fire alarms, seismic sensors to detect if someone is digging into the bank, and emergency buttons. Access control systems will combine card readers, biometrics, magnetic door sensors, etc. This provides banks with an integrated solution instead of four stand-alone systems. In addition, sensors such as smoke detectors or temperature sensors are now built in the cameras and can send alarms directly to the DVR system. This way the bank can benefit from having several sensors on one platform and cut costs.
Systems integration is also critical for protection against insider threats by employees which can be very costly. “An increasingly popular step in mitigating insider threats through an integrated security system includes linking access control to identity management,” explained Frowert. By integrating these systems, financial institutions can restrict employee access to sensitive areas, track entry/exit times by employee or department, and use a log correlation engine or security information and event management (SIEM) system to log, monitor, and audit employee actions. By monitoring these types of systems, managers may notice individual employees trying to access part of the building they are not authorized for, which is activity they can then flag and subsequently continue to monitor the employee's behavior for other activity that might lead to an insider incident.
HYBRID DVRs AND NVRs
Hybrid DVRs and NVRs allow the integration of both existing analog cameras and newer IP cameras. The use of hybrid DVRs and NVRs can therefore help banks make the most out of their existing legacy systems and give them the flexibility they need in adding more cameras or testing new cameras and technologies.
“Our customers are interested in how they can protect their investments in legacy infrastructure while also taking advantage of the benefits of newer technology. There is an increasing move towards new NVRs because they can prolong the use of video surveillance systems as well as provide enhanced features to end users,” iterated Stefano Torri, European Sales Director of March Networks (an Infinova Company). These provide both analog and IP camera support and allow organizations to test and deploy IP cameras selectively, alongside existing analog cameras. “Banks are thinking about the broader benefits of the technology they use, so for example, NVR technology provides advances in video compression and storage management compared to earlier DVRs, and the use of H.264 compression, optimized to limit video signal noise, makes images clearer while reducing the use of bandwidth and storage. These things are important if a bank wants to tag video based on user-defined criteria, such as motion detection, transaction events, or alarms. Software that delivers intelligence and analytics is also a growing trend amongst banks and financial institutions,” he added.
An example of an analytics function used in banks is loitering detection, detecting for instance when a person lingers around an ATM machine. If such an event is detected, security personnel can then access the video recording in real-time and make a decision if further action is needed. Analytics can also provide information on customer behaviors (e.g., people counting, queue monitoring) which can be shared across the organization to improve not only security surveillance but also customer service and marketing. For example banks can analyze dwell and wait time at branches and change branch staffing appropriately to make sure there are enough tellers to service the waiting clients.
Apart from connecting the different systems in the branches, banks can also share information between locations. This feature has been gaining traction and makes security more comprehensive. Intelligent video applications allow an internal investigator to track fraudulent transactions and alert branches. “For example, entering a stolen card number into the system will deliver brief video clips of every associated transaction from anywhere across the entire retail banking network,” explained Torri. Not only can security managers easily export this information to branch managers, but they can also present it as integrated case evidence to the police.
Apart from using video analytics, banks are using intrusion detection and keyless entry to improve security measures and increase cost effectiveness. Replacing or re-keying traditional locks can cost a bank up to US$3 million in just one year. To mitigate the risks and costs associated with using traditional keys, banks are implementing new, wireless locks which work with inexpensive access cards to open entry doors. These new technologies also provide audit friendly reporting for the activities of any individual or of a specific entry point in the branch.
OPPORTUNITIES IN BANKING
Banks are relatively conservative players in the security market usually waiting to implement tried and tested solutions. Due to their large scale and many sites, frequent changes of security systems are not likely. Therefore solutions that help banks take advantage of their existing systems, integrate several functionalities together, and introduce newer technologies will be the choice for the banking vertical.
5 Tips for a Successful Security Installation in Banking
Matt Frowert, Director of Marketing for Financial Services at Tyco Integrated Security, provided the following five tips for banks when deploying a security surveillance system.
- Find an experienced integrator who specializes in bank physical security.
- Look for a partner who can support everything from single bank branches all the way up to money center banking models (banks who deal with governments, large corporations, and other banks).
- Network with security affinity groups of industry organizations, like the American Bankers Association, to receive recommendations on vendors from other banks in your area.
- Standardize on leading access, video, and intrusion systems supported by vendors that have a track record of investing in technology.
- Invest in communication with and training of banking staff to enable them to effectively use the systems (e.g., arming the alarms at the branch level, managing the distribution of codes at the branch level, etc.).