Tackling the evolving security landscape of 2023

Security challenges for financial institutions are evolving quickly and continually. Increases in cyberattacks, online fraud and ATM thefts are top of mind for the security teams responsible for protecting people and assets. The same digital transformation driving some of these pressures also offers the tools to solve them. Financial institutions are modernizing their physical security systems to meet these challenges.

Finding solutions that identify threats, expedite case closures, and manage security at branches, corporate headquarters, and data centers is crucial. Here are nine essential considerations for financial institutions looking to modernize physical security systems in 2023.

  1. Unification of security platforms: Overcome your silos

Financial institutions deploy cameras, video recorders, intrusion alarm systems, and access control at nearly every location within their enterprise, including offsite ATMs. Security teams need to be able to manage all these devices as well as have immediate access to them. A unified physical security platform provides full control over all these siloed systems for a global view of sites and operations. With a unified physical security platform, you can manage the security of all your sites from a single interface. 

The open connectivity of a unified physical security platform provides immediate notification of events, monitors component health status, and helps streamline administrative operations. By using common functionality across video and access control platforms, financial institutions can reduce hardware requirements and administrative costs. This also enables security personnel to retrieve crucial evidence from any location quickly and speeds up investigations while keeping employees, customers and assets secure. 

2.  Open-architecture systems: Choose solutions that enable growth and choice

No company wants to be locked into technology that leaves them without options. Yet even today many manufacturers sell proprietary cameras, video recorders, access control systems and software that will work only with their products. Open-architecture systems use non-proprietary components that can be sourced from third parties, so you can add components and potentially reuse existing components as your needs evolve. Open-architecture systems offer maximum flexibility as your needs evolve and grow. It’s less costly to maintain because of the availability of multiple third-party hardware and software options. By contrast, proprietary systems lock customers into both product availability and pricing. 

 3. Access control: Meeting security, scalability and data requirements 

As legacy components age, they become more vulnerable to evolving threats. Instructions on how to compromise cards and readers based on common protocols have been online for more than a decade. Advances in digital technology have eliminated the vulnerabilities in these older access control systems. New open architecture access control systems can utilize biometric readers, mobile credentials, and IP-based controllers to mitigate these threats while also providing easier movement of employees through secured areas. Unified access management of your facilities reduces the risk of manual error and provides data that meets regulatory compliance, improves operational efficiency, and provides additional business insight. 

4. Threat response: Real-time situational awareness 

In the event of an emergency, security teams need immediate access to video and critical information from mobile platforms including tablets and smartphones. Unified, open-architecture security platforms can provide this critical data, along with the ability to communicate with team members, emergency notification systems and communication platforms. Unified security platforms provide tools like map-based interfaces as well as automated responses based on your company’s standard operating procedures. This reduces the stress on operators responding to the threat as well as ensuring all policies and protocols are followed. This also allows for a full forensic audit of all actions and response times. The ability to automate threat-level responses with minimal human intervention has become one of the primary considerations for companies worldwide.

5. Cybersecurity: Protect network access and data 

The banking industry is the No. 1 target for cyberattacks; it’s 300 times more likely to be hit than any other industry. In 2021, the average cost of a data breach in the financial sector was $5.72 million.  To keep up with threats and risks, financial institutions need to deploy physical security solutions that engineer cybersecurity as a core objective during product development. Any device connected to your network — whether it’s an IP camera, an access reader, or a video recording appliance — has the potential to be a gateway for cyber criminals to access data via that network. These potential vulnerabilities require a security strategy that incorporates real-time notification of threats as well as best practices and the latest updates from third-party partners. 

Your physical security system should have built-in cybersecurity tools that stay resilient in the face of cyber threats. Look for solutions that hold ISO 27001 certification or equivalent and include cybersecurity features by design such as encryption for data, servers, all communications and granular authorization processes. 

6. Privacy: A growing concern

As customer and employee privacy measures become mandated by various jurisdictions, transparency about how and why video footage is being collected may become an issue that is relevant to your company now or in the near future. Advanced video management systems enable the secure recording of video while digitally masking the individuals on camera. Only authorized personnel can decrypt the recordings in the event of an investigation or sharing the video with law enforcement or other stakeholders. 

Authentication of the evidence via watermark ensures an unbroken chain of custody. 

7. Regulations: Stay secure and compliant

Your physical security software should automate security policies and all updates to meet regulatory compliance. Likewise, look for systems that provide full compliance audit reports with easy access to corroborating data like video files, user access and system maintenance logs. These features also augment the cybersecurity of your platform.

8. Visual data: More than just security

Unified, open-architecture physical security platforms offer benefits that go beyond improving security. Data from video surveillance systems and access control can offer insight into operational concerns from parking and office space utilization to lighting and temperature controls. Business intelligence including staffing and customer wait times also can be gleaned. A unified, open-architecture security platform is the key to unlocking this data.

9. Cloud: Objectives, strategy and options 

Many organizations currently utilize or indicate a plan to move some physical security operations to the cloud within the next five years. It’s important to understand the objectives, options and requirements for this strategy as they differ significantly.

Whether it’s access control, video recording, a global security operations center or evidence management, cloud solutions can provide significant operational benefits. With a unified, open-architecture security platform, some of these objectives are immediately attainable without a wholesale changeout of the current physical security infrastructure. Accordingly, these solutions can be implemented without changing the visual client interface, which would necessitate the retraining of an entire security team. 

Another facet of cloud solutions is determining if the solution will be hosted or managed within the organization’s own data center or contracted as Software as a Service. Find an open-architecture manufacturer who offers both choices and can provide a migration path from one option to the other. For long-term operational or capital expenditure planning, it’s a critical decision. Having those options is a sensible budgeting strategy.

A final determination in choosing the correct unified, open-architecture platform is vetting the manufacturer. Look for manufacturers that have a verifiable long-term history in the industry with significant and referenceable current users willing to share their experiences.

Financial institutions manage billions of dollars of investment, revenue and savings. They also manage vast amounts of private information, including data captured by physical security systems. When looking to modernize physical security systems, consider a solution that is more than a collection of necessary tools. A unified, open-architecture system can also provide a way to improve operations and access greater insight throughout the enterprise. 

Scott Thomas is Genetec’s National Director of Sales for Signature Brands in the United States. Prior to joining Genetec, he spent 16 years at Checkpoint Systems where he held various sales and management roles.