A Smart Security Program

A Smart Security Program

Enterprise approach combines modern access control technology with top-notch security staff

Northwestern Mutual believes in doing what is right, whether it’s for their clients, community or employees. For nearly 160 years, the Fortune 500 company has helped clients plan their financial security with confidence and has been a staple in downtown Milwaukee. Northwestern Mutual’s downtown campus consists of five buildings, including a new 32-story tower, three-floor Learning Center and commons space totaling more than 2.5 million square feet. More than 3,000 people work at the downtown Milwaukee location. The second campus is located in Franklin, Wis., a Milwaukee suburb and includes two buildings occupying 1.1 million square feet with a workforce of approximately 2,100.

Get with the Program

Northwestern Mutual operated several disparate security systems for access control, alarm management, intercom, video and visitor management. The new building project provided an opportunity to upgrade the security system and overall security program. On the technology side, the company selected AMAG Technology’s Symmetry Access Control - Enterprise System and Symmetry GUEST visitor management system. On the security personnel side, Northwestern Mutual chose G4S Secure Solutions Security Officers to post entrances and check in visitors.

“We didn’t want to tear out two access control systems to just get one,” said Northwestern Mutual, Corporate Security, Bret Du- Chateau. “We bundled it as a program to present a Security Access Program to senior leadership. We were able to tackle access control, as well as alarm management and visitor management for the entire enterprise with a very strategic approach.

“We went with the Symmetry-Enterprise system because we wanted everything to be automated and tie everything together from an enterprise perspective. Everyone is talking the same language,” Du- Chateau said. “Interoperability between the two command centers (in Milwaukee and Franklin) is now possible, when it wasn’t before.”

Each campus has a Security Operations Center (SOC) that is manned 24 hours a day. Operators use Symmetry to acknowledge and log alarms and buzz people in via the intercom and video integration. Audit reports are quickly printed to show statistics on the day’s activity.

“We used to have multiple applications so an alarm would go off and we would dispatch. We’d document it in an Excel spreadsheet,” DuChateau said. “After consolidating into an enterprise platform, we enter almost everything into Symmetry and generate reports that tell us how many doors we opened and how many alarms we acknowledged.”

Interoperability, Automation Equals Efficiency

By moving to Symmetry and automating their processes and documentation, Northwestern Mutual experienced an 86 percent reduction in the number of processes (alarm activity, forced access, timed access, doors propped open, duress calls), producing a time savings of 14 hours per month.

About 180 Vingtor-Stentofon intercoms are located throughout the two campuses in the stairwells and parking structures and at all main entrances. The intercoms are integrated with Symmetry Access Control so when used, the security officer knows where they are located and with a single click of the mouse, they can unlock a door for their customer. Prior to the integration, the security officer would answer the call and then need to figure out the person’s location.

“It’s a nice seamless integration that saves a lot of time,” DuChateau said.

During off hours when it’s quiet, Northwestern Mutual security officers can dynamically roll all operations from one campus to the next, including the intercoms. For example, if a downtown third shift corporate security team member working in their SOC takes a break at 2 a.m., they now have the capability to transfer all intercoms, security and video to the Franklin SOC. The Franklin corporate security team member can view and manage everything on large monitors for the duration of the break.

In the event of an emergency, the security team can perform mobile mustering using a Telaeris XPressEntry reader with Hawkeye software. The reader syncs with Symmetry Access Control to determine who is in the building after an evacuation. The security team can run a report that reconciles who badged into the building and who badged out via the Talaeris reader. The comparison shows how many people are left in the building and who they are.

Highly Trained, Flexible Staffing, Streamlined Visitor Management

Several hundred Northwestern Mutual sales representatives from across the United States come to the downtown campus every week for training in the new Learning Center. Processing these visitors must be smooth and quick.

Northwestern Mutual chose G4S Secure Solutions security officers to staff its lobbies and secure dock areas. G4S is able to scale up or down as needed on demand, making them the best fit as Northwestern Mutual added the new tower and commons at their downtown Milwaukee campus.

The security officers use Symmetry GUEST Visitor Management to register guests. They look up the pre-registered visitor in the system and print their badge. The officers get visitors checked in quickly and provide a positive customer experience.

“We chose GUEST because we wanted everything to be automated and tied together from an enterprise perspective,” DuChateau said. The software easily tracks the number of visitors Northwestern Mutual receives and can break down the information by building.

The data allows Northwestern Mutual to refine their process and become more efficient. For example, statistics show the bulk of visitors arrive between 7 and 9 a.m. and which lobbies receive the most visitor traffic. This data enables supervisors to re-adjust security officers to assist the busier lobbies during peak times.

“We know from a pre-registration standpoint that we have 300 visitors registered to arrive, and can send two officers over to a certain lobby to assist with visitor check-in. We leverage Symmetry GUEST to predict staffing requirements and to help streamline lobby traffic flow,” DuChateau said.

Symmetry-Enterprise also helps the onsite restaurant plan for the lunch crowd.

“At 9:30 a.m. every day we generate a “Who’s In” report and we’ll send that over to our restaurant team so they know how many meals to plan for,” DuChateau said.

Both campuses store confidential information and as such, they must adhere to some National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) standards. Provisions are in place to properly vet employees who have access to secured areas to ensure the right people have access so the company remains in compliance.

“We were able to add a 32-story tower to our downtown campus and not request a single FTE allocation to our staff,” DuChateau said. “Through automation and working smarter using Symmetry, we were able to deliver the same level of high security after the building addition.”

This article originally appeared in the October 2018 issue of Security Today.


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