Banks Make the Most of Convergence

Convergence practices among larger banks usher in higher security performance

In many organizations, the critical functions of information technology and physical security often operate independently of one another—unaware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses, the potential risks of operating separately and the benefits of operating as a team. Increasingly, however, the convergence of IT and physical security is becoming a preferred and highly desired business practice because of the new levels of performance it brings to its users.

Lessons Learned from Peers
The 6th ADT Financial Security Symposium, which will be held Nov. 14-16 in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, will address these issues as well as trends in physical security, identity fraud, and new video and access control technologies. Program presenters will include several of the 50 representatives from leading regional and national banks in attendance, representatives from the American Bankers Association, the FBI and Security Technology & Design’s editor and publisher, Steve Lasky.

At last year’s symposium, top security officers from two major financial organizations—National City Corporation and Citizens Financial Group—shared with 40 senior security officers from national financial institutions precisely how they are working to enhance the capabilities of their physical and IT security groups.
Gareth Webley, chief security officer for National City Corp., said his company has created measurable efficiencies by combining the physical and information security functions into one operation.

“At National City, we believe security events, regardless of whether they are physical or electronic, are to be handled from the same place,” Webley said. “You have to get it down to a single voice. The security solutions on the market today are IT based, and that will continue.”

Webley said the convergence of information and physical security is well underway in the banking industry. Physical security systems such as access control, intrusion and fire detection, video surveillance monitoring and other systems now demand larger segments of the network bandwidth.

He said other factors driving convergence are terrorism, cyber-based crimes coordinated with physical attacks, a host of government regulations such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, and natural disasters that have impacted the continuity of banking operations in recent years.

“A (physical) security officer is going to have distinctly different responsibilities than a firewall engineer, but there is an awful lot in between that can be done within the same group, under the same management with consistent policies, processes and discipline,” he said. “We want to create and foster a true unified organization with common services—investigations, administration, risk assessment and project delivery,” Webley concluded.

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