Branch Security: Identify Your ‘Hot Points’

Diebold report outlines how to make eight key security areas less vulnerable to criminals.

July 26, 2012
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5. Lobby

A financial institution’s lobby is a key starting point for crimes that take place inside the facility. Interior cameras, strategically placed personnel, and video analytics can help detect and deter crime in the lobby.

Interior cameras should be an integral part of a facilities security strategy. Key camera and monitor locations include the lobby overview, each entry/exit door, and new accounts desk/area.

The presence of staff in key lobby areas often deters criminal activity. Ideally, a security officer or greeter should be in the facility’s lobby to provide ongoing observation of entry into the facility, as well as activity at the teller line.

6. Teller area

The teller area remains one of the most targeted—and most vulnerable—areas of a facility. Financial institutions must remain vigilant in their efforts to secure this area from traditional and emerging threats.

Location is fundamental to securing the teller area. Teller lines should be removed from front door entry points. And tellers should have visibility to access and departure routes to and from their lines.

Branches with high cash and/or transaction volume should consider cash dispenser technology, which can reduce the overall cash exposure at the teller line.

The use of gates can help segregate and secure the area behind the teller line. In addition, cameras can deter criminals, as well as provide a reviewable record of activity in the event of a breach. A minimum of one camera is recommended for each teller station.

Tellers must be able to activate an alarm when needed. All teller stations with cash must have the ability to trip the alarm system in a safe and discreet fashion. Wireless hold-up buttons and bill traps can provide additional flexibility when securing the teller area.

Security strategies can also be leveraged to thwart fraud at the teller line. Policies and procedures should be developed and enforced for verifying the identity of both consumers who are affiliated with the credit union and those who are not.

The use of biometric technologies (i.e., fingerprint programs and facial recognition) can be employed for verification and assistance in flagging suspicious consumers.

7. Vaults and cash room safes

While vaults and cash room safes may be more challenging targets for criminal activity than other areas of the facility, the sheer magnitude of the assets they protect mean they still require fundamental protection.

Because a vault is typically the only piece of equipment in the branch that will never be replaced, it’s critical to select a vault that will meet your long-term needs. The efficacy of a vault is measured in terms of how long it would take to penetrate.

Experts recommend a minimum of a Class II vault, which could keep a perpetrator at bay for 60 minutes—more than twice the duration of a Class I vault. Class II vaults that are UL-certified can store up to $5 million.

Vault doors should be equipped with time locks that are regularly serviced. The time lock is critical to ensure no one can gain access through any lock manipulation whether manual or robotic.

Both vault doors and safes require alarm devices. At a minimum, they should be protected by door contacts and thermostat alarms. And cameras should be positioned at vault entrance/exit locations to enable monitoring of vault activity.

Consider self-service solutions, such as electronic vault attendants, to simplify the management of safe-deposit vault doors. Such solutions provide added convenience for consumers and they eliminate the expense of a vault attendant, enabling branch personnel to focus on core competencies.

8. ATMs

Consider three points of protection at the ATM:

  1. Secure the consumer. Security features such as ATM location, lighting, built-in cameras, and mirrors can help protect the consumer from attacks at the ATM.
  2. Secure the ATM. Brute-force attacks against ATMs still take place. From drills to torches to bombs to trucks that can literally tear machines from their locations, resourceful criminals will use any means possible to gain access to the funds inside an ATM.
  3. Secure cardholder and transaction information. The latest encryption technology is vital to ensuring the protection of personal identification numbers and sensitive transaction data.

For more information, visit Diebold’s website.

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