Banking on security

September 2011 Security Services & Risk Management, Financial (Industry)

Shane Jacobs looks at how security in banking has evolved.

Security in the banking industry has evolved over the years hand in hand with the advent of new technology in the field of electronic security products and systems. As economies have grown worldwide, so has the disposable income, thereby increasing the proportions of cash handled by bank branches. This has attracted the criminal eye encouraging banks to step up their efforts in maintaining a secure banking experience for their customers.

Typically any retail bank would have the following areas that need to be secured against attack and/or breach by unauthorised persons:

* Teller area – Primary risk due to the presence of cash.

* Vault area – Primary risk due to presence of cash.

* Banking hall – Primary risk due to presence of cash.

* ATM lobby – Primary risk due to the presence of cash.

* Manager’s office area – Secondary risk objects due to presence of information leading to cash.

Management of any significant incident would normally have three aspects:

1. Detection.

2. Notification.

3. Operator action and police response.

It is recommended that the bank install a good intruder detection system, keeping the following points in mind.

Teller areas: Cameras should be installed above each teller counter position to cover the area where the money and instruments exchange hands. Cameras covering the face of the customer at the counter is also critical as this establishes the identity and presence of the person. Panic buttons and/or panic kick bars should be installed and monitored 24 x 7. Intrusion detection like motion sensors should be strategically placed to detect movement during non-working hours. Doors leading to the teller staff area should be covered by camera view as well as fitted with access control equipment to restrict access.

Vault area: Cameras should be installed to cover all access/egress points. Intrusion detectors like motion sensors, vibration sensors, magnetic contacts etc, should be installed in the vault for detection of any attempt to breach the vault. Biometric access control is recommended to the vault area to secure access for only authorised personnel.

Banking hall: Cameras should be installed to cover all access/egress points, waiting and queuing areas. Queuing areas should be discouraged as much as possible as it gives time for the miscreant to watch the teller’s operational habits without attracting any attention. Intrusion detectors like motion sensors, magnetic contacts etc. should be installed in the area for detection of any unauthorised presence during non-working hours.

ATM lobby: Cameras should be installed to cover all access/egress points and waiting areas. Intrusion detectors like motion sensors, vibration sensors etc. should be installed in this area for detection of any unauthorised presence during non-working hours. The spectator audio/video interface should be installed in this area to assist the user to request for help in case of any trouble or if the machine is not working properly. Pinhole cameras should also be installed inside the ATM machines to record the image of the person using the machine. Specialised ATM DVRs should be installed to record the images with the transaction data overlay to enable fast and easy audit of transactions and images for investigations.

Manager’s office area: All access/egress points to this area including access by elevators to these floors should be controlled by an access control system. Panic buttons should be installed in the manager’s office to enable him to request for assistance and/or raise a silent alarm in case of any incident or suspicious person being noticed.

For more information contact JRJ Consultants, +27 (0)82 776 9990,,

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