Security. Safety. Process Improvement. When organizations build or upgrade a video security system, it is not just about security. It is about a platform that can provide innovative solutions for end-to-end oversight.
For Legal and Financial institutions, the oversight includes private information and facilities and the staff they employ. For busy locations and customer-facing interactions, it is critical to be able to monitor activity both inside and outside the building. With an end goal of providing safety for staff and customers, having oversight of transactions and traffic, and monitoring sensitive transactions and activity, what should these institutions know about video security?
In a recent conversation with Derek Martinez, National Business Development Manager, Video Security Solutions (VSS), Konica Minolta, I explored what he has been seeing in the VSS environment and what that means for financial institutions and law firms.
Zina: Let’s start with getting an understanding of what has been top-of-mind in the video security marketplace. Are there key trends?
Derek: There are common themes that we have seen in VSS that revolve around storage, access and analytics. Video images, especially good quality, high-resolution images need plenty of storage – plus they need to be easily accessed when needed. More and more, organizations are turning to the cloud for storage and video management. They can easily access the images remotely and are assured that their data is safe in the cloud.
Along with our MOBOTIX devices, there is greater protection from cyber security. We ‘close the back door’ to cyber thieves by not letting them in. Our German-made product line safeguards against stealth stealing through a hidden back door. The U.S. Government has cited this problem for some specific Chinese manufacturers who can sneak into your cameras and access your private video security information and has developed some rules about using these cameras within the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Finally, there are many analytical options that enable security teams to do more. The trend has been toward a proactive approach to their operations versus reactive. Within one platform, their video surveillance program can include IoT cameras with a variety of sensors and analytics that detect a problem before it happens – like reacting to heat before a fire ignites.
Zina: What has been driving video security innovation?
Derek: We have seen the need for better images. Many organizations have not thought about video security until they have a break-in, vandalism, or an incident in their parking areas. Then, when they review their video footage, they can’t see much. They have an expectation, but the realization is they did not know their system was delivering such poor output. This has made high resolution in cameras a top development effort.
Also, we have seen greater demand for a connected network. If a bank has ten branches, the security team wants to see the video from all of the branches. This remote monitoring is more common, but using mobile devices from anywhere is driving this greater level of innovation. Just imagine, you get an alert, pick up your phone, grab the video from the cloud and within minutes you know the nature of the problem.
Along with that access, there are the triggers for the alerts. Purpose-driven analytical tools have become more important when organizations can detect and scare an intruder or someone lurking on their grounds. I mentioned heat/fire detection earlier, but there are other monitoring features with people trying to get into places where they are not authorized, people showing up at an odd time, or loitering around entrances and exits. These activities trigger alerts and enable security to take action before there is a problem.
Zina: Let’s talk about financial institutions. What kinds of threats do they face?
Derek: Well, there is the internal threat and the external threat. We have one customer who transacts a lot of cash. This poses a loss-prevention challenge internally and a safety problem externally. People know that the customers are leaving with cash. Their perimeter has to be well-lit and well monitored. And, as you may expect, where there is a lot of cash, there is a temptation from the inside. Using our cameras, they have sharp oversight of transactions and activity occurring outside their retail locations.
Then, there is the system design. Do all their locations have cameras? How are they? Do they have gaps in their coverage? Have they upgraded lately? Have they ever needed images for police to aid in tracking down a thief? How clearly do they see their internal operations? The bottom line is, how well is your operational oversight? Is it “wow I can see everything,” or not?
Zina: What about law firms?
Derek: When I think of law firms, I think more about staff and customer safety. Depending on the kind of firm, there can be aggressive activity toward a law firm’s lawyers. And the firm should make sure that their offices and parking areas are adequately monitored.
Along the same lines as financial institutions, there is sensitive and private information in law firms. While that does not lend itself to intruding on a client meeting with a camera in the room monitoring everything, there might be areas for only authorized personnel.
Again, using loitering analytics around an area that is off-limits can alert security to a potential breach. They could be stealthy and send in security or use the two-way communication on the camera to let someone know “we see you.”
I realize law offices are in all different sizes and places, but securing an entrance for only authorized staff – via facial recognition – mitigates the problem of someone gaining entry by stealing a badge. Security for the office, staff and the information they have all starts at the front, back and side doors.
Zina: How can Konica Minolta’s FORXAI Video Security Solution help?
Derek: The FORXAI Video Security Solution (VSS) combines high-resolution cameras and AI-powered analytics to bolster safety and security as well as streamline business efficiencies.
By business efficiencies, I mean process improvement. Let’s say the team has a private parking lot governed by a badge to get in. It has to be secure since the team works all kinds of hours and they don’t want to find that someone stole their car when it’s time to go home.
We’ve used license plate recognition to replace badges, so all authorized vehicles can easily get into the lot without having to open a window. It’s fast and efficient.
Our VSS team works very closely with the customer to first listen to and understand their top-of-mind challenges, and then conduct an assessment. It is no surprise to us, but often to our customers that we uncover other issues that they were not aware of. We may start out looking to upgrade a network so there is better coverage (often, may I note with fewer cameras) with high-resolution images and low-light capabilities. Then, we find they have a server room where they don’t want the equipment to overheat, so a thermal camera monitoring in that space is a possible solution. It is an all-compassing review, and it enables the customer to co-author the right plan for their organization.
Zina: Looking ahead, what do you see?
Derek: I see the need for organizations to review their video security. It has to be a top-of-mind activity and not left as an afterthought. We have seen the results of organizations not paying attention to their video security: subway cameras not working so deadly activity in the stations cannot be seen and responded to immediately, and of course, oversight within K-12 schools where we have seen active shooters. With cameras in place, law enforcement knows exactly where the intruder is – and where they are going. I am quite surprised that there has not been a more national reckoning on getting video security in place.
We are all about proactive detection, because after the fact the organization does not have the information, missed the opportunity to prevent a tragedy, and law enforcement had no extra guidance on what is going on. In this mobile and digital age, it seems that this aspect of every business should be addressed. Our development team is constantly working on new detection applications so that we can provide customers with the type of actionable information that they need.
Derek, thank you so much for spending a few minutes on the FORXAI Video Security Solution. You brought up many different aspects of VSS beyond just a camera. Since the assessment seems like a critical first step, I’ve linked our information overview of the VSS Assessment so anyone who wants to know more can easily review the information. Thank you again.