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Don’t forget about physical security in the digital age of banking

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Danielle Kruger
Danielle Kruger
Daniëlle is an IT and tech journalist focused on gaming, gadgets and emerging technologies in a number of key industries.
Don’t forget about physical security in the digital age of banking
Laurence Smith, Executive at Graphic Image Technologies

Where there is money, there is a motive for theft and banks will never be the exception to this rule. Although banking is steadily becoming more digitised, there is still a need for cash, which means that physical security cannot be overlooked. Whether it’s the tellers processing money or cash in-transit syndicates targeting money while it’s on the move, the physical handling of cash is an increasingly risky business for banks. Keeping the cash safe while it circulates through the proper channels of our economy, is essential.

This process has always been heavily reliant on security guards, from ATM to wallet to cash register and all the way back to the bank by means of a heavily-armed cash in-transit van. However, the reliance on security guards is often problematic as humans are prone to temptation, but thanks to advancements in surveillance technology it is now possible to put checks and balances in place to secure the cash and prevent theft.

No two banks are the same, but the risks are

The location and layout of each bank means that each situation will be unique and each CCTV and surveillance design has to critically assess the risk areas and determine the level of imaging detail that is required to accomplish the task at hand.

For example, in order to protect vehicle entrances and exits at a banking location, thermal cameras with analytics are most effective as these cameras are not affected by weather or time of day. Furthermore, today’s cameras are capable of integration with Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven software to provide capabilities like automated licence plate recognition, coupled with an alert system that generates the appropriate response to be dispatched from the security control room.

In other bank zones like the teller areas, or access points to the vaults and strong rooms, a greater level of imaging detail is required. In those areas where personnel traffic is high, better resolution is required in order for CCTV to be effective.

Pay attention to the details

In addition to tightening up access control measures, where bank employee conduct needs to be closely monitored, it is advisable to utilise Ultra-High Definition (UHD) cameras or ‘4K’ cameras. Public-facing entrances and exits at banks will benefit particularly from the strategic placement of such cameras as they have the ability to deliver additional resolution above a standard camera (as much as four times greater detail at full 25 frames per second (fps) compared to modern full HD 1080p cameras and legacy Mega Pixel (MP) cameras), which makes it possible to electronically zoom in to areas of the picture without losing too much detail. Thanks to the enhanced resolution, fewer cameras are required to see more, and the quality of the footage is such that it becomes possible to verify facial characteristics. High resolution footage is critical for automated facial recognition capabilities. It is the main reason why CCTV surveillance is so useful in post-event playback, helping to identify and successfully prosecute perpetrators.

Eyes on the ground

Besides biometrics and mobile identity security to verify all transactions performed by bank personnel and prevent fraud, it is necessary to ensure that there are eyes on the security personnel responsible for transporting cash to and from the bank branch. Technology has moved beyond the simple wearable CCTV camera (with its many limitations) into a complete end-to-end video recording and management system, all wrapped up as a ‘smart mobile sensor platform’. This new technology makes it possible to capture HD video along with location and motion data thanks to a compact solution that consists of the sensory device (camera) and a Power, Comms and Storage (PCS) component.

Small enough to be attached to glasses, collars, shirts or even vehicles, it is now possible to view exactly what personnel are doing with the money on the ground in real-time, while recording of video footage happens automatically in the background. These units contain a panic button which the wearer can trigger to provide the control room with complete visuals and audio of the scene – as it happens. The control room can urgently dispatch the appropriate resources in response to any incident that may occur or threat that may arise.

Keep up with the times

The fact that video surveillance technology has steadily become more powerful, accessible and cost-effective means that today there is no reason for a bank branch, no matter how far-flung or remote, to lack an intelligent and responsive CCTV surveillance system. By ensuring that the surveillance technology utilised is the correct fit for its application in each particular risk area, inside and outside the building, preventative security in bank buildings can be tightened. Reactive security will become much more effective at keeping the money where it should be: safe inside the bank.

By Laurence Smith, Executive at Graphic Image Technologies

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