For financial institutions, the ability to integrate devices, systems, and data easily and securely is crucial for the security of staff, customers, and assets. This integration needs to be achievable remotely across multiple locations and be scalable as new branches or properties are added to the network.

However, this is made challenging--if not impossible--when attempting to bolt together hardware and software from several different providers. While on the surface it may seem like this is a ‘unified solution' it really isn’t, and you’ll likely find it awkward and problematic to use. Potential problems associated include ensuring each component is effectively talking to the other parts as well as issues related to data security. This poses additional challenges with the need to train security staff on multiple platforms. 

An end-to-end solution from Axis Communications solves these problems because all system elements work seamlessly together, providing an effective network surveillance solution that you can scale as required. 

Why use a unified network surveillance solution?

There is a growing interest from financial institutions in migrating from analog to IP solutions. However, they have been more cautious in crossing over to new IP technology, sometimes due to budget constraints, cybersecurity concerns and privacy issues.

An end-to-end solution is a complete security system that readily tailors to your individual needs, using perfectly matched components from Axis’ wide portfolio of products from our video management system—AXIS Camera Station—to network video cameras and other networked devices such as speakers, intercoms, and access control products. It’s a full-featured solution that focuses on ease-of-use without compromising functionality. 

If you manage multiple branches and other remote buildings, a unified network surveillance solution removes the headaches that often come when attempting to integrate elements of a system from various manufacturers. 

The cost of a new solution could initially be off-putting for those with budgetary constraints. But if this is weighed against the issues of out-of-warranty equipment and lack of vendor support for devices as they reach the end of their expected life--when maintenance costs may be high and impractical--a new security solution becomes more appealing.

Stephen Joseph, Segment Development Manager, Banking and Finance, Axis Communications Inc. says, “The adoption of end-to-end solutions across many industries has grown tremendously. I think financial institutions have started to test the waters and feel confident they know enough about IP technology that they can safely start looking at migrating over from legacy analog solutions.”

How has the pandemic affected how financial institutions think about security?  

During the pandemic, the ability for financial institutions to be agile with how they operated was key. Joseph believes what was learned was that, if a problem did occur, managing operations remotely was a faster and less labor-intensive approach than traveling to a branch in person to sort out the problem.

 “It brought to light, in many cases, the need to be nimbler,” says Joseph. “If you didn’t have your system on the network and something went wrong, well, now you need to run out to each branch and manage the problem. I think many probably realized they don’t need to fear putting devices on the network. It benefits them. And, I know we’ll discuss cybersecurity in more depth later, but with an end-to-end solution from Axis Communications you can rest assured that our network products include a variety of built-in cybersecurity features to counter cyberattacks, prevent unauthorized access, and battle vulnerabilities.”

If you already had such a unified system in place, the ability to combine video surveillance and video analysis likely allowed you to seamlessly plan your operations in a COVID-19 secure way. And while much of the country is reopening (or has already reopened), the same unified surveillance system that was used to adapt to health and safety regulations can also now be used to overcome different types of challenges.

For example, installing AXIS People Counter and AXIS Queue Monitor can help you better understand choke points in-branch and the most popular times customers visit. This would allow the facility to react accordingly to provide customers with the best possible experience while still maintaining safety and security. 

You can install a low touch access control system that utilizes motion control and an automatic door opener to avoid contamination through multi-touch surfaces such as door handles. 

The need for agility was highlighted during the pandemic when financial institutions needed to move staff between branches to improve customer service. If they had a network access control system in place, there would be no need to get keys cut for each staff member because you can quickly add them to the system, so personnel have immediate access. And, if necessary, it’s just as easy to remove them from the system. 

Additionally, with AXIS Camera Station Secure Entry, physical access control and video surveillance are unified into one powerful platform with all core system components such as video recorders, door controller, readers, and cameras provided by Axis. From this platform, operators can centrally view and manage their network cameras, verify alarms, and handle user permissions with simple drop-and-drag ease. In turn, this provides them with improved situational awareness and enhanced security from the complete overview provided through AXIS Camera Station.

Axis network speakers can be used to communicate with visitors, deter intruders with pre-recorded or live announcements, and even play background music to enhance the overall experience as people wait to be serviced. Further, you can create events and alarms for the audio system within the AXIS Camera Station interface. With audio capabilities branches could regularly play service announcements to reinforce the need for social distancing and other pandemic-related safety messaging. Actively promoting safety best practices can make staff and customers feel more confident about visiting a retail location.

How do financial institutions benefit from an end-to-end solution?

Connecting disparate, standalone systems can be accomplished through integration. However, this can be difficult—if not impossible to accomplish—without sacrificing functionality. Disparate systems can be difficult to manage, can easily break, and often require users to switch between multiple applications to monitor or configure settings. And good luck trying to add on and scale the system with ease. Disparate systems are also more complex to service and costly to maintain over time. The flexibility and scalability of an Axis end-to-end solution makes sense no matter the size of the system you want to install. 

Benefits include:

  • Simple integration with other physical security devices 
  • Easy design with AXIS Site Designer, an intuitive tool that’s supported by AXIS Camera Station to streamline the design process whether small or large
  • Protection against evolving cybersecurity threats with two lifecycle management tools AXIS Device Manager and AXIS Device Manager Extend, which complements the functionality of the former
  • Controlling your entire system remotely from a single location
  • The ability to gain a deeper understanding of your operations and clients through data analysis
  • Consistent service and support from a technical support team that knows the entire Axis portfolio inside and out

Joseph also made a point to discuss how institutions today primarily rely on two predominant physical security solutions to protect people and assets: video surveillance and intrusion protection, the latter being used in non 24/7 facilities or in specific locations within the branch. But he sees financial institutions starting to branch out and look at other types of solutions that help them meet their customer service and security needs. Those are, as we’ve been discussing, end-to-end solutions.

 “The ability to scale should be really appealing to financial institutions,” says Joseph. “Add cameras. Add access control. Add audio. Add analytics, such as a tripwire application in the case of an intrusion protection system which can trigger an alert to security personnel, stream video to the VMS or trigger an alert via our network horn speaker.”

Joseph mentioned that an additional benefit to implementing a complete, end-to-end solution is cost reduction. This comes from reducing physical security personnel, streamlining operations, and enhanced cybersecurity which will mitigate losses.

How do customers benefit from an end-to-end solution?

A positive customer experience not only improves customer satisfaction but can influence sales of additional products to customers who have come to trust their financial institution and its employees. 

Video analytics can be crucial in improving the customer experience. The same people counting and queue monitoring analytics we mentioned previously can also help financial institutions optimize staffing levels, thus reducing waiting times for customers. When customers wait longer than three minutes, their perceived waiting time multiplies with each passing minute. Reducing this to the bare minimum will enhance their experience.

Mood music through the audio of your end-to-end solution can subtly affect their experience and loyalty too by creating a pleasant branch environment. Further, background music has been shown to boost productivity and improve morale and motivation. During the pandemic, wait times increased dramatically due to branch capacity limitations.

What is the protection against cyberthreats?

One of the principal concerns that financial institutions have when considering moving from an analog system to a networked end-to-end solution is data security. This isn’t surprising when research by Accenture shows that banks are having to fend off on average 85 cyberattacks per year.

However, as Joseph says, “The products you hang on your network are only as secure as the network you're putting them on.” As long as the financial institution has robust network security standards and implement security protocols, Axis provides products that have security capabilities inherently built into them to counter cyberattacks. For example: 

  • Communication stays encrypted from edge devices through transport and storage at the head end.
  • Signed firmware prevents attackers from altering firmware and embedding malicious code.
  • Secure boot blocks and rejects unauthenticated or tampered code during the boot up process before it can infect the system.
  • Axis Edge Vault protects the Axis device ID, a collection of certificates that include a digitally signed version of the unique serial number.

In addition, our lifecycle management tools provide easy, cost-effective, and secure management of Axis devices for installation, deployment, configuration, security, and maintenance tasks. And firmware upgrades are actively notified to prompt users to upgrade their firmware with the latest version, ensuring system security is maintained.

Are end-to-end solutions an effective answer for financial institutions physical security?

Axis end-to-end solutions are an effective way for financial institutions to improve physical security while enhancing their customer’s experience and driving brand loyalty. They are a secure option that allows remote monitoring from a central location and promotes agility in how the business operates.

End-to-end security solutions work seamlessly across all your locations and are designed to scale as your business grows.