A major UK financial institution is upgrading and automating security capabilities across a national network of critical assets to guard against emerging physical and cyber risks. 

The phased project involves migrating the organisation’s multi-site estate to the latest technology capabilities. This includes cutting-edge enterprise-class Lenovo hardware, advanced event detection and incident management functionality within Synergy, and benefiting from Synectics' latest AI-enabled 4K cameras.

An integrated solution for multi-site management

The financial institution has complex security needs, with facilities such as data, cash, and disaster recovery centres spread across the UK. These operationally critical sites require protection from threats ranging from robbery and vandalism to hacking.

Crucially, the objective is to monitor and manage security systems from control rooms at each facility and centrally from the organisation’s primary Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC). This is already facilitated through Synergy security and surveillance software and will be enhanced by the upgrade.

Seamlessly integrating third-party systems, including access control, intercom audio and ANPR – and pairing this data with intelligence from video surveillance – Synergy provides complete situational awareness 24/7 for operators based at each centre and the ARC. Operators can also control multiple systems from a single platform, enabling rapid, coordinated response to any event.

Dual permission system for robust threat defence

When cash is being stored in and distributed to multiple sites, there are many points where vulnerabilities could arise. Staff and transport could come under attack, as could the facility itself. In fact, the largest robbery in Britain was carried out by coercing the manager of a cash depot to force access¹.

To prevent situations like this, the financial institution is utilising the local/central control capabilities delivered by Synergy, coupled with new workflow and automation functionality, to implement multi-stage access verification.

Permission must be granted locally and centrally for an individual or vehicle to access any site. This process sees automated ANPR checks carried out by the system to verify that the vehicle is scheduled and to confirm that the personnel present match the names detailed on the approved vehicle manifest. Workflows confirm the outcome of these automated checks and prompt manual photo ID confirmation by the local team. If all is in order, the workflow is updated, and all information is automatically sent to the ARC team for final approval.

In the event of any suspected threat, for example, a mismatch of information, workflows prompt appropriate incident responses – from additional checks, area lockdowns and dispatch of additional on-site security to law enforcement notification.

This solution demonstrates the value of multi-site control and workflow-driven automation, providing a robust defence against threats such as coercion, vehicle interception and driver impersonation.

David Aindow
Business Strategy Director, Synectics

Data resilience – guarding against loss and attack

For this project, guarding against data loss is as important as mitigating the risk of physical breaches, and this requirement is being met in several ways.

Replacing ageing software and hardware across the entire security infrastructure and supporting new surveillance capabilities addresses vulnerabilities commonly associated with outdated technology. Not only concerning potential equipment failure but also with cyber threats.

David says: “Cybercrime is a major concern for financial institutions, making upgrades to specific types of technology essential. We also ensure our Synergy solution protects customers through sophisticated data encryption capabilities and, for example, by making it secure as standard, meaning default settings are designed to be cyber-secure, without any additional configuration.”

A backup ARC with full Synergy capabilities provides an additional layer of protection, serving as an essential disaster recovery facility to ensure business continuity in the event of a catastrophic failure.

Future-proofed protection

The project will see all the organisation’s current analogue cameras replaced by Synectics AI-ready 4K cameras – a mixture of vandal-resistant dome, bullet, and PTZ models. Until then, IP encoders will ensure existing cameras can be used before being gradually phased out.

The new cameras, with integral edge-based analytics, mean the financial institution can easily enhance measures as required in the future.

David Aindow adds: “Not only does the customer have an easy option to utilise analytics in the future, but they also can quickly and simply add additional third-party integrations and scale the system to include additional sites. All of which adds up to future-proofed protection.”

¹ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/14/hatton-garden-uks-top-ten-heists