Cash In Transit

Enhanced electronic locking systems to accommodate unique security needs of ATMs

By definition, cash-in-transit (CIT) is the physical transfer of banknotes, coins, credit cards and items of value from one location to another. These locations may include cash centers, bank branches, ATMs, large retailers and other premises holding large amount of cash. The industry, however, is generally divided into two sectors: transaction processing and ATM servicing.

CIT ATM services usually include cash replenishment, cash reconciliation, deposit pickup and verification, and the transportation of cash and valuables in an armored vehicle. The first ATM was installed in London 50 years ago, and these cash dispensing machines are still considered an integral part of the banking industry today. There are no exact figures for how many ATMs are in use worldwide, but the Global ATM Market and Forecasts to 2020 by U.K. research and consulting firm RBR, estimates a total of four million active ATMs by 2020.

GardaWorld, an international security company headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, is one of the major players in the CIT industry. Canada is one of four regions that has the highest number of ATMs per million people and of the 65,000 ATMs in Canada, GardaWorld services thousands of them.

The Secure Lock

With tens of thousands of dollars in cash stored in these machines, and the high frequency of transportation to different locations, the importance of having a secure lock that can only be accessed by an authorized user remains a high priority for banks, CIT companies and more. Before electronic locks, service personnel who access ATMs have traditionally used combination locks or locks accessed by a key. However, due to the ongoing attacks on ATMs, which hinders the cash cycle, crime prevention measures and more robust security solutions have been steadily increasing.

According to the ATM Benchmarking Study 2016 and Industry Report completed by ATMIA and management consulting company Accenture, 50 percent of the ATM operators who participated in the global study confirmed an enhanced physical locking system was installed on the cabinet. Based on an earlier study, ATM theft prevention measures are evolving quickly, and likely to be implemented worldwide. Although advanced technology exists, such as anti-skimming and gas-attack solutions, there are still multiple advantages of deploying an electronic lock.

In October 2017, the electronic lock services specialists at Garda- World, including Vince Priolo, one of their members with more than 30 years in the security industry, identified the need for a better security solution and worked with company management to bring an advanced locking system to GardaWorld-serviced ATMs throughout Canada. The lock needed to be simple to program and service, provide the ability to share assets and be a secure solution for its customers. Of all the ATMs GardaWorld deploys and services in Canada, thousands of them are installed with solutions designed to protect an ATMs’ entire cash cycle by using time-limited, single-use codes, electronic locking keys and other features.

Sargent and Greenleaf (S&G) recently launched A-Series with a display that met all of GardaWorld’s criteria for a next generation solution. This electronic lock includes a large 30-character display with universally recognizable text, codes and icons to make programming and servicing much simpler. These features allow GardaWorld technicians and other authorized end-users to immediately determine and resolve any issues without having to rely on audio feedback and LED flashes or time-consuming troubleshooting steps.

“We have been using other locking systems from Sargent and Greenleaf and are pleased with the faster installation process, reduced activation time and greater functionality, because of the large display screen,” Priolo said. “This lock allows our technicians to have a more intuitive service process, since the unit displays all the steps on the screen and a secure locking system for our customers.”

Providing an Audit Trail

This particular electronic lock, when combined with S&G’s lock management software (LMS), can quickly provide the end-user with comprehensive audit trail reports showing when the lock was accessed and by whom. Other locks in the marketplace require a small electronic key to be programmed and used for transferring the audit trail data from the lock and this key must be physically sent to the audit reporting software to view the report. The ASWD allows the transfer to be completed with any USB, no preparatory programming required.

It’s now important that CIT companies are able to share access with other companies by simply sending a secure, encryption file between LMS software installations. CIT companies no longer have to setup time-consuming meetings to share access with an ATM lock.

“One of the benefits of using this type of lock is that it is connected to LMS, giving us the ability to remotely transfer data without having to physically be at the lock,” Priolo said. “With other locking systems in the marketplace, each party needs to be present at the lock in order for files to be transferred and exported, but with LMS and S&G we can provide both through a computer which saves time and money for all parties.”

Training for these locking systems and software is paramount. Giving CIT technicians the tools to be able to quickly and accurately service an ATM keeps both employees and the money safe. Ongoing training to ensure service is completed correctly minimizes premise time and simplifies ATM service. ATM security technology will continue to increase, and it all starts with having a highly secure lock.

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

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