Keeping assets well protected

Keeping Assets Well Protected

Technology bolsters security and business practices in the financial vertical

Keeping assets well protectedThere are tens of thousands of bank branches and financial services locations throughout the world. The business environment itself is complex, as it combines elements of high-end commercial services with a frontline, retail component. A single, large bank, for example, might have thousands of locations, even more ATM locations and each facility can present a variety of unique security needs.

A main security challenge facing the banking world includes a need to protect thousands of geographically-dispersed sites, including various property types and threat levels. In addition to the need for overarching corporate security, banks and financial institutions must protect individual facilities such as retail banking locations, ATM services, cash vault operations and data centers. Security practitioners in this market require centralized management of security functions, but limited, wide area network (WAN) connectivity can present an obstacle to effective, networked operations.

At the corporate level, banks and financial institutions leverage video surveillance systems in conjunction with security personnel to protect and control access to premises while reducing the opportunity for fraud. Networked-based video systems are called on to interface with access control, intrusion alarm and environmental systems. Monitoring centers must be able to easily manage displayed video on multiple monitors and draw guards’ attention to events that need immediate assistance.

A comprehensive, end-to-end, IP video system can offer a proactive approach to security. Intelligent devices and security analytics, integrated with other systems and operating as a unified platform, represent the cutting edge of security technology for the financial sector, and many users are just beginning to test these new solutions. Integrated security analytics can simplify the administration of video systems, expedite investigations and offer business tools and added intelligence.

Powerful notification and response combined with real-time analytics offers a proactive approach to security management unlike any other this vertical market has ever seen.

The Ultimate Goal

At bank branches, security systems protect against robbery and fraud while ensuring employee and customer safety. Cameras are needed to view teller positions, drive-up lanes and provide overviews of the branch location. Some areas, such as cash drops and ATM vestibules, require 24-hour access, and cash vaults store large amounts of cash, making them a high risk area for internal theft or external attack. Therefore, high-quality video images are required to provide sufficient detail. Some bank branches, though, may not have an on-site security staff so video is often viewed remotely.

In-demand features and benefits include the ability to view video alongside events and on multiple cameras associated with events simultaneously. Multiple DVRs on a single site or across multiple sites can be managed as a complete system. Thumbnail searches can locate video quickly, if it isn’t associated with an event. Privacy masking protects sensitive areas, such as PIN pads and vault combinations, an increasingly popular feature given the increase in usage of megapixel cameras that capture greater detail. Other features include instant alerts and surveillance analytics.

As systems must be scalable to meet today’s security requirements and future goals, systems have to be camera-agnostic, support a range of analytic rules and integrate with other network platforms to address individual retail banking and corporate facility’s needs. Banks can purchase only the analytics they need now and add more as necessary in a seamless solution. Maximum capabilities include automatic and time-critical detection of rules violations and high probability of detection with low false alarm rates.

A New Level of Intelligence

Banks want solutions to increase security intelligence and situational awareness for its banking customers by including embedded video analytics, investigative management tools, enterprise-based, fraud analytics, and license plate recognition and facial detection.

Integrated, security analytics simplify administration of video systems and expedite investigations. Powerful notification and response combine with real-time analytics to offer a proactive approach to security management. Surveillance platforms that deliver an open, scalable approach deliver lower total cost of ownership (TCO) and ease of operation in a robust video and situational intelligence management suite.

Surveillance analytics can help security staff prioritize and automatically escalate video from cameras that have detected rule(s) violations, showing people or objects presenting pre-defined risks that may include crossing a pre-defined perimeter or line, an object left behind, loitering or movement within a restricted area, while license plate searches are easy to accomplish across multiple locations.

Drive Business Growth

Banks and financial institutions seek a competitive edge and increasingly look to technology to provide it. Today’s IP-based video security systems can help analyze customer activity with accurate people counting, track customer behaviors such as dwell and wait times, and analyze branch activity.

Retail administration can use the video system to view activity at lobbies of various branches as a tool to ensure better customer service. For instance, should one branch experience an especially heavy volume of business, tellers can be swapped as needed to ensure coverage.

Related to compliance, federal law requires reporting of any cash deposits of more than $10,000, a regulation aimed at preventing tax evasion and money laundering. However, to skirt the regulation, some people might resort to “structuring,” which means making multiple small deposits at various branches. If there are excessive deposits into a single account, a bank’s compliance personnel can get involved to track down who is making the deposits.

Always There

Users expect video systems to be reliable and offer “continuity of video coverage.” Because video surveillance in the financial sector typically involves many cameras, especially multiple branches monitored from a central location, a big challenge is how to distill and prioritize important events or situations out of hundreds, even thousands, of video feeds captured every day.

Video coverage is critical when a theft occurs or when a bank experiences violent issues, as its surveillance system needs to make it easy to export video and transmit it to authorities. The time saved versus needing to “burn” a DVD can be critical in the hurried aftermath of a robbery, for example. The focus needs to be on helping employees and customers deal with the impact of an incident, rather than trying to deal with a complicated export process.

Changing Tides

The financial industry has long been an attractive target for crime. Of course the financial market is home to untold amounts of money, but there’s another reason criminals are drawn to the financial world: the enormous number of transactions that occur every day. Every ATM deposit or withdrawal, online money transfer or credit card purchase represents an opportunity for fraud—and criminals know it.

All sizes of financial institutions face the risk of bank and ATM robberies, card “skimming” scams, credit and debit card fraud, and more. With fraud especially on the rise, point-of-sale skimming still occurs, but malware has taken center stage. Criminals are increasingly using it to penetrate financial records and private information, and they’re reaping enormous amounts of money for their efforts.

Malware is particularly troubling because it can be used at any time, from anywhere, and doesn’t require a fraudster’s physical presence. Increasingly, criminals obtain another person’s financial data online —including passwords and PINs— with sophisticated software and, in some cases, weak passwords. They then create fake IDs, credit cards or debit cards, and extract cash at an ATM, buy easily resellable items at a grocery or home goods store, or go shopping online.

Malware that specifically targets mobile devices is also growing in popularity. Mobile malware increased an overwhelming 614 percent in the last year, with Android operating systems receiving 92 percent of threats.

Video surveillance proves its value every day at financial institutions across the country and around the world. Growing adoption of new video capabilities will continue to unlock greater value, keeping financial institutions more secure and effectively empowering them with new operational efficiencies.

This article originally appeared in the February 2014 issue of Security Today.


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