This article explores the security threats that banks face and how cloud-based physical security can benefit.
Banks have, and always will be, an attractive target of crime. A quick look at global statistics will show that, barring the last two years of COVID-19, bank robbery rates remain consistently high. According to the FBI, 2160 commercial bank robberies took place in 2019. The number was 2707 in 2018.
For security teams, using every available technology is essential to stay ahead of criminals. Cloud-based physical security solutions offer an excellent opportunity that banks can utilize. This article explores the security threats that banks face and how cloud-based physical security can benefit.
Current security threats banks face
There are several security threats that banks must deal with regularly. But the most significant threats they face are internal theft, liability, and skimming and other ATM issues.
Unfortunately, internal theft, also known as “shrink,” generally involving tellers, is a real concern for banks. Data from Statistic Brain shows that employee theft costs US businesses $50 billion annually.
Unlike external threats, protecting against employee-related threats necessitate close attention to detail. For instance, a good quality surveillance camera with analytics at the teller area can help to keep a close watch on the action.
Liability–risks associated with incidents such as slip-and-falls in and around the branch office–is another reason to have high-quality video surveillance inside and outside the bank and reliable storage for that video.
ATM security poses a major challenge to banks. ATM robberies happen in several ways. For instance, “skimming,” is a process where a criminal installs a device on an ATM that allows the criminal to “skim” bank card information. Using this device, criminals obtain customers’ PINs and card numbers to get into their bank accounts.
Fortunately, video analytics offers banks a way to deal with this threat. Dean Drako, Founder and CEO of Eagle Eye Networks, explained that his company has successfully helped banks combat skimming used cloud video surveillance analytics–specifically a “loitering” video analytic.
“It typically takes a criminal 4- to 5 minutes to install a skimming device on an ATM terminal, but the typical ATM transaction takes less than two minutes,” Drako said. “A ‘loitering’ video analytic can alert banking security personnel whenever a person is at the ATM for two minutes or longer, potentially allowing the bank to catch the criminal and ensuring the bank is making every effort to protect its customers and their data.”
Loitering analytics are also helpful to alert bank security personnel to other situations, such as skateboarders in the parking lot who might get in the way of bank patrons or a person sleeping in an ATM vestibule. The latter is a problem on the rise, especially in cities that have seen an increase in homelessness in recent years.
Moving physical security to the cloud
In a cloud video surveillance system, these challenges can be easily and economically addressed. Existing cameras can be repurposed in a true cloud video surveillance system, and video analytics, such as loitering, can be turned on with the click of a button.
Jake Stauch, Director of Product at Verkada, pointed out that banks and other financial service providers have had to adapt to unprecedented challenges stemming from the pandemic and current economic climate. Moving to cloud-based solutions can help them overcome these challenges better.
“To ensure they are maintaining high security standards – often across multiple sites, with reduced staff and the increased complexity of new policies and protocols – many are moving to integrated cloud-based security solutions that bring together video cameras, access control, intrusion detection, panic buttons, and 24/7 remote monitoring to enhance employee safety and reduce the risk of break-ins and theft,” Stauch said.
Are banks ready to embrace the cloud?
Drako pointed out that cloud adoption is accelerating in banking. Data protection and cybersecurity are some of the main drivers for the move to the cloud. Banks also have to deal with regulatory requirements.
“Having data securely stored offsite is a high priority, as is ensuring a cloud video surveillance provider has the necessary security credentials and protocols in place,” Drako said. “When financial institutions choose video surveillance providers, they want to see cybersecurity audits–such as SOC2 Type 2 and ISO 27001–that validate the high cybersecurity standards of cloud providers.”
Stauch believes that many banks see migrating to the cloud as a critical next step to enhancing their security. Bringing video security, access control, intrusion detection, and panic buttons onto a single cloud platform unlocks the ability to manage and protect their customers, assets, and employees with speed and scale.
“Customers who are migrating to the cloud are really excited about the features that a platform-first approach brings, including integrating door-based access control with video feeds, preventing false alarms with real-time video verification, and managing multiple sites from a single pane of glass,” Stauch said. “Of course, compliance and privacy are paramount among banks and financial institutions. Integrated cloud-based solutions make it seamless for banks to create audit reports to ensure they are PCI compliant across all their security systems and to have automatic firmware and software updates that proactively protect their system from vulnerabilities.”
What cloud-based features interest banks?
Traditional systems often require users to cobble together different hardware and software solutions and install multiple systems that don’t always integrate within a central system.
“With new technologies that integrate all of these products together in a unified dashboard in your web browser, security teams can monitor and regulate access to multiple sites and locations remotely and in real-time – viewing and managing security cameras, access control, alarm systems, and environmental sensors from a single pane of glass,” Stauch pointed out. “For example, banks manage a lot of complexity with scaling, updating, and changing permissions for employees. But a security administrator leveraging a cloud-based solution can update an employee’s access controls for specific doors or arming/disarming permissions for certain sites in real-time from anywhere in the world.”
Drako said Eagle Eye’s banking customers are really interested in cloud-based license plate recognition (LPR). Banks and credit unions usually have many sites spread across a state or region, and LPR helps them track and address criminal activity efficiently.
“Cloud LPR systems are centrally managed, which means that bank security personnel can look across all branches at once - there’s that single pane of glass that gives security personnel visibility to all locations,” Drako added. “Smart Video Search, introduced this summer, is also piquing the interests of banking security professionals. All Eagle Eye customers across the globe now have access to Smart Video Search, which uses AI to allow security practitioners to search across all cameras in all locations the same way they search the web. It’s a matter of typing in simple search terms such as ‘man in the red shirt’ and almost instantly getting results.”
Other benefits to consider
Banks, like many customers, are cost conscious. Cloud has less up-front cost compared to on-prem systems. And cloud allows customers to use existing wiring and cameras when upgrading their systems. Such benefits would help integrators and consultants offer attractive proposals to their customers.
“Bank security professionals are drawn to cloud video surveillance’s centralized management capability because they’re typically dealing with dozens or even hundreds of locations,” Drako said. “A bank’s IT department really likes the fact that cybersecurity and other updates are continuously delivered via the cloud–easing the burden on the IT department and ensuring that the system has the latest updates and features.”
Stauch added that the transition to the cloud is a natural next step for banks, given the pace of innovation and the enhanced security solutions available.
“Our natively integrated platform addresses clear paint points for end customers: Verkada is simple to install, scalable, and easy to use,” Stauch said. “Verkada has a steady pipeline of innovation to continue creating additional opportunities for partners to bring seamless cloud software solutions to customers. Verkada has expanded on its vision to help enterprises operate safer, smarter buildings with the addition of new product lines across video security cameras, access control, alarms, and environmental sensors and workplace management.”
As bank-related crimes continue to remain unabated, security teams will have to adopt new technologies. Although challenges such as certain regulations could make things difficult and slow for banks, transition to the cloud appears to be a natural way forward.