Banking on Access Control

South Carolina Federal Credit Union’s solution delivers efficiencies, enhances security and ensures a “life simplified” for risk manager Janece Van Wart and security officer Brett Cole


Some organizations treat their brands as ads or marketing campaigns. But for South Carolina Federal Credit Union, “Life Simplified” is more than just a slogan. The financial institution’s brand promise permeates its Web presence, involvement in the community, internal systems and interaction with members. Understanding the need to live a more simplified life even impacts the credit union’s security strategy.

During more than 70 years in business, South Carolina Federal has grown to include 23 branches serving more than 150,000 members in nine South Carolina counties. This growth brought with it multiple security partners and disparate, overly complicated security systems that exposed the credit union to additional risk and left too much room for human error.

In 2007, the credit union evaluated its security strategy for access control. It concluded that numerous partners, disparate systems and multiple points of control for management of these partners and systems was not a “Life Simplified” solution. To the contrary, the system lacked the efficiency and flexibility that South Carolina Federal wanted to characterize all of its processes. Therefore, the credit union sought to identify a single security partner that could deliver a comprehensive access management solution that had to enhance security, simplify management, provide access to security data, deliver ROI and be flexible enough to enable growth.

Diebold’s Managed Access Control was created to do just that. Combining physical access control with remote management and monitoring, the solution gives South Carolina Federal Credit Union control of who accesses its facilities, as well as when and where those users have access.

Janece Van Wart, risk manager for South Carolina Federal Credit Union, says Diebold worked closely with the organization to customize the solution to its needs. “Our biggest desire for the system was customization, and we got it with Managed Access Control,” she says. “We have some very interesting and unique demands, and we worked closely with Diebold to come up with a solution that would achieve our objectives.”

Enhancing Security
Even with today’s sophisticated security technologies, many organizations still use keys and basic alarm systems to control who has access to their assets.

For South Carolina Federal Credit Union, the use of keys created security vulnerabilities. If a key was lost or stolen, there was no way to determine who might have access to the branch. Rekeying — including reissuing keys to employees — was a necessity and an unbudgeted expense.

With the Diebold system, keys became a thing of the past. The credit union replaced those keys with identification cards and key fobs, which were programmed to grant access to resources such as facilities, equipment and data. If a card or fob is lost or stolen, or if they are not returned by an employee who leaves the company, they can be deactivated instantly, ensuring they will not create a gap in security if they get into the wrong hands.

Once the credit union eliminated keys, it also added access control devices throughout its branches. Now, it can better manage access to specific areas of the branch such as vaults and back-office areas such as the employee break room.

“In this day and age, we needed a more secure environment,” Van Wart says. “And because we don’t have to cut keys or worry about replacing them in the case of loss or theft, it’s also a big cost savings. In the long run, the ease of the operation will be worth its weight in gold.”

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