By Clinton Lindemann, GM: Financial Institutions, Jasco Security Solutions
Jasco Security Solutions has considerable experience in the South African financial services sector, providing integrated security solutions to large organisations, with a national footprint. We believe that ongoing advances in security and related technologies and the increasing ease of integration between these components means solutions can easily be adapted to suit policy and other requirements. However, the organisations that will gain most from their investments in security are those that integrate security solutions further into the business, making greater use of the sophisticated functionality within these systems to not only auto-eliminate typical vulnerabilities but advance amd improve processes and operations.
What’s in place?
Security at financial services organisations is a priority so stringent policies and procedures ensure high standards and careful management.
Banking sector security systems include a mixture of CCTV, alarm systems, access control, ATM protection, off site monitoring and physical security (guarding). These various systems are usually linked back to a central control room using a variety of different forms of communication – e.g., analogue telephone lines, TCP/IP or GSM — ensuring that there is always communication between the control room and the various security devices installed in the field.
The control side of the systems have been designed for ease of use and understanding by the operators. Detailed reports can be drawn for post mortem purposes after an incident. Constant checks and balances are in place to ensure that the correct procedures are followed and there is speedy and appropriate action at the time of an incident.
During working hours the systems are able to send panic signals in times of duress so that physical reaction can be deployed. Remote sites are constantly monitored for any abnormalities. After hours, these systems are the eyes and ears of control room personnel.
New technology enhances security. Megapixel technology in CCTV cameras, for instance, mean facial recognition, even at considerable distances, is a reality. So is identification of potentially fraudulent activity by staff or criminal elements. Beyond basic security functions, however, there is a lot of value that can be driven from these systems.
As financial services organisations become more familiar with the sophisticated capabilities of the solutions, they are increasingly exploiting them to drive efficiencies in daily operations. Intelligent algorithms and analytics capabilities built into the software that drives CCTV solutions, for example, can today identify changes in the environment. Thus, banks apply these systems to monitor queuing – when a threshold is reached (say 10 people in the queue), floor staff are prompted to open up new counters to improve service levels.
Security solutions are also increasingly able to identify and take care of key vulnerabilities within security systems. This is thanks to a combination of best practices introduced by experienced service providers as well as intelligence built into security devices and the solutions themselves.
Identifying and dealing with vulnerabilities
Integration takes place between the various security devices and the central control room. The control room, in turn, is in direct contact with physical security, namely police or armed reaction personnel on the ground.
However, there are weaknesses in the system. Once such area of weakness can be inadequate training or a lack of correct operational procedures. For example, gaps appear in security systems when personnel do not arm, disarm or use security systems correctly; when insufficient preventative maintenance checks are carried out on installed hardware; or if standard operational procedures are not conveyed to key personnel responsible for the correct operation of the systems.
These vulnerabilities can be managed in a number of ways. Designing, manufacturing and installing self-managed security devices can eliminate human error from the equation. In terms of ensuring systems are in good operational order, service providers can be tied to SLA’s and held responsible for the maintenance and good standing of the systems. For example, ATM security systems are set on timers and will auto-arm once personnel have exited the site. The same applies for branches.
The bank of the future
The successful bank of the future will exploit advances in technology and communications on all fronts. To improve alarm handling and reporting, self-managed security systems will increasingly be installed. In addition, systems must be able to report faults and abnormalities automatically to service providers tied to an SLA and reaction times.
Security systems within the banking environment will be fully integrated with offsite control rooms. These control centres will, in time, be able to control the entire branch, managing everything from remote unlocking, to switching on the lights to facilitate verification during remote monitoring.
As the evolution of security systems continues – smart financial organisations will keep up with the changes, employing service providers that not only understand and can deploy systems to meet new threats, but are able to introduce advanced functionality into banking operations to improve efficiency – and the bottom line.