Change with the Times
Remember when you went to the bank with your father to set up that first savings account? Back then, things were pretty simple. You walked in the front door, filled out a paper and voilà, you had your own savings account.
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Jul 01, 2011
Today’s financial institutions have changed the way they do business. In many banks worldwide, financial representatives complete their work behind bulletproof glass. Cameras capture your every movement, and sometimes you are asked for a fingerprint.
Yes, biometrics is now part of the high-finance world.
Things have changed since your father introduced you to banking. Security has leaped forward since the fingerprint became part of identification at the local bank.
Taking a look at the financial centers around the United States, one city stands out as host to several key banks that are using biometrics to secure their headquarters. Charlotte, N.C., is a major player in the financial world, and its downtown area is flooded with financial facilities and thousands of employees.
Security today is literally right before your eyes.
Recently, Stanley Convergent Security Solutions announced a partnership with Hoyos Group to ensure an iris-scanning biometric security solution will protect the headquarters of one of Charlotte’s biggest financial organizations. Stanley CSS is the exclusive distributor and integrator of the Hoyos iris-scanning access control solution in the United States, Canada and Europe.
“The deployment of this system is a tokenless product and can be installed anywhere in the world,” said Jeff Carter, chief development officer and strategist for Hoyos Group. “Look at it this way: This is an access control system where the employees always have their identification with them—they always carry
The Eyes Have It
The Hoyos technology is installed in close to a thousand locations in North America. Stanley CSS is now providing sales, design, application, installation, service, maintenance and technical support for existing and new Hoyos customers. To support the Hoyos technology, Stanley CSS has trained and certified members of its sales, technical and operational teams on the Hoyos products and technology.
From the outside looking in, the solution is pretty simple. To gain access to a secure area, an employee, after registering his or her iris, walks toward the facility entrance and, without stopping, simply looks at the device mounted on a wall. It establishes identity in milliseconds.
Hoyos’ technology includes proprietary cameras, lighting technology, chip-sets, software and physical form factors for capturing iris data. As far as costs are concerned, Carter said the iris scanner is as reasonable as card readers, and employees never have to put their bags on the ground to search for a smart card.
“Iris scanning makes sure it’s the right person, in the right spot,” he said.
From the Training Table
For Stanley’s part, the integrator has completed its Hoyos training and certification for its National Account Managers, National Systems Integration Specialists, National Project Management, Application Engineering, Field Technical Specialists and Convergence Center of Excellence teams; the training was completed at the Stanley Training Center in Indianapolis. The company is in the process of a wide rollout to ensure comprehensive support for the Hoyos offering at a local, national and global level.
“In addition to the training held at the Stanley Training Center, we are educating our national account managers and local sales representatives on their own turf with Hoyos technology road shows and field training to ensure the most complete level of expertise,” said Christopher BenVau, senior vice president of national accounts with Stanley CSS. “This will include our enterprise solutions and the higher end of security systems and our government account managers.”
The company also plans to implement a remote webinar training venue for its employees to ensure all are properly trained and up to speed on the dynamics of the solution.
With exclusive rights to distribute the Hoyos proprietary technology, Stanley CSS can move the solution nationwide, as well as into the European marketplace. Hoyos will transition to Stanley CSS management of its entire global client base, including governmental agencies, foreign governments, large corporations and financial institutions.
“With more than a thousand successful Hoyos units deployed and installed in financial, commercial, military and government applications, biometric-in-motion iris technology is a proven, practical and, most importantly, cost-effective solution for customers who require the best identity management system with high throughput and high-level accuracy,” said Tony Byerly, president of Stanley CSS for North America and the United Kingdom. “Truly a security industry gamechanger, with identity management accuracy second only to DNA, but much more efficient, the Hoyos product line revolutionizes the way customers will secure their facilities, from common entryways and single-pedestrian doors to high-security areas and classified assets.”
Because technology plays such a key role in our lives today, glancing at an access control device seems to make sense. According to Carter, technology demands something easier than an access control card, especially when it comes to the sensitivities of a headquarters building. “One of the tests that the Hoyos solution had to provide is: Can it stand up to throughput every day?” Carter said. “What we have found is a product that is easy to use. We have it installed on the border in McAllen, Texas, and it is used tens of thousands of times—all successfully.”
The product also has been deployed successfully by the Air Force, as well as on both sides of the southern U.S. border. While it seems to work well in the government space, consistent use of the product shows that it is equally productive in the commercial space. The financial sector seems particularly interested in state-of-the-art security.
A Unisys Corp. study found that Americans are now more willing to pay additional fees for greater protection of their bank accounts than they were in prior
years, because they want to assuage increasing fears of identity and credit card fraud. Today, nearly 40 percent of Americans are at least somewhat willing to pay fees for more protection, compared with 27 percent when surveyed in 2004. Even more customers would be willing to switch banks for more protection.
Banks, at least those conducting business on a national scale, might feel the same way, because employee security is paramount.
“We’re living and working in a transformational environment today,” Carter said. “People are greatly concerned about the risk of fraud. You read about problems every day in the financial industry, and banks are taking this seriously.”
At the banking institution in Charlotte, employees are able to enter the main lobby of the headquarters, but to access the office space they must take a quick glance at the Hoyos solution based in the lobby area. From there, they enter the portico, where elevators take them to various work areas. To enter an office area, they are once again screened, or their irises are scanned. The Hoyos solution takes security to new heights.
“Our research shows U.S. banks lead some areas of consumer education on ID fraud as compared to their worldwide counterparts, but clearly there’s still a long way to go to make Americans feel secure about their banks’ business operations,” said Dominick Cavuoto, corporate vice president and president of the global financial services practice at Unisys. “People are clearly worried, reinforced by the fact that they’re even more willing than ever to leave their banks and pay for security protection.
“This consumer perception will likely drive banks to quickly adopt advanced security solutions or risk losing existing and potential customers, revenue streams and brand reputation.”
From the Beginning
This is where Stanley CSS and the Hoyos Group intersect. It also was the genesis of a pretty unique partnership.
“This technology is unlike prior biometric solutions, because it is unobtrusive, simple to use and commercially viable for wide-scale deployment,” Byerly said. “The technology allows Stanley to deliver unparalleled security with in-motion ID, combined with a highly accurate solution for both large- and small-scale applications.”
Stanley CSS, like many other companies, expressed an interest in demonstrating the Hoyos solution, but it was only Stanley that met the stringent criteria. Hoyos officials have cited the company’s forward-thinking practices as the selling point that prompted Hoyos to give the integrator exclusive rights. Stanley CSS has a worldwide footprint and is aware that identification is a core practice of the application. The company also has a bevy of end users who depend on their integrator to bring them the latest technology. Those end users like it because their employees always have their identification located under their forehead. The eyes have it.
The partnership also puts Stanley in a position the integrator had only dreamed of, because it makes the company a larger player in the security industry than ever before. It also didn’t hurt that Stanley was ready to step up, fulfilling training requirements and understanding the high-tech sector of ID management and access control.
“Biometrics has sort of taken it on the chin in the past,” BenVau said. “Things that were promised through biometrics were rarely delivered in the past. This is an application that delivers and is on the edge of technology.”
Hoyos’ iris scanner is also a security solution that has broad application in both North America and throughout Europe. Stanley was chosen because it is large enough to handle any integration, yet nimble enough to surge a deployment.
“This biometric solution transcends common access control applications,” Byerly said. “One customer estimated that they could save as much as $1 million annually using the Hoyos technology. If a photo ID is still essential at a particular customer site, simply use the lowest-cost solution and let the Hoyos technology do the lion’s share of the positive identity management work.”
While most perceive biometric solutions to be suited for high-end deployments only—such as a financial institution where records and meaningful numbers are secured—the situation also can be beneficial in smaller critical environments where effective identitymatching is paramount—in a day care, for example.
In fact, Stanley CSS is actively negotiating with a national day-care provider, and the in-motion biometric will be able to match the right child with the right parent. The application of the in-motion solution would account for an additional 1,000 installations. It also works well in a large campus setting where managing cards might be troublesome. The idea would be to add a few Hoyos readers to get people in the door and at work, and the cards could be used in other applications or discarded entirely.
“There is an entire range of advantages with the Hoyos applications and technology, including furthering the security bridge to better building management,” said R. Lance Holloway, director of technology strategy at Stanley CSS. “There is a great deal of hope that this technology, with its high accuracy and fast through-put, will become deeply integrated into a customer’s business operation beyond security.
“There also is a misperception that this product can somehow damage the eye, which is completely false and not possible since the Hoyos unit is only taking a high-resolution photo image of the iris.
“The solution also ensures that the iris it is looking at is a live example. It also exceeds FBI requirements, which for a fingerprint there are 100 points, but to get a match, experts often settle on seven or eight. The iris provides 2,048 points.”
It’s All About Finances
The banking industry is especially vulnerable to data loss and privacy issues. People are tired of having their credit card information stolen and being left wondering, “Where’s my data?”
Last year, financial institutions suffered more than $15 billion in financial losses. In an industry that uses card identification, a shift to digital identification seems natural.
The nation’s largest bank was quick to deploy the system, making certain the right employees enter the headquarters building, and no one else. The inmotion access control system stops tailgating, making sure the right employee is at the right place, at the right time.
This article originally appeared in the July 2011 issue of Security Today.