Leveraging a PSIM platform enables banks to more easily centralize their security operations while also helping them reduce costs in the process.
Photo credit: (Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Coolcaesar)
There are few industries that spend more on physical security than retail banking. With hundreds or even thousands of branches to secure and protect, banks invest in all types of technologies, from CCTV and access control to fire alarm and vault management systems. Monitoring and managing these systems across the enterprise can be costly as well. Mergers and acquisitions (which are commonplace in the banking industry) can create new complexities, as the “parent” bank is faced with either absorbing the other bank’s legacy security systems or “ripping and replacing” them.
It’s true that investing in security is a necessary cost of doing business. But when PSIM is added into the equation, banks actually have an opportunity to build a stronger ROI. Here are five ways banks can reduce their operational and capital investment costs using PSIM.
1. Eliminating rip and replace costs, control center consolidation
Banks that grow through mergers and acquisitions often strive to centralize their security operations for operational efficiency and savings. But this can require extensive custom integration or ripping and replacing of existing technology, which is very expensive. PSIM offers a better alternative. It uses gateways to aggregate information from different legacy systems into one seamless interface. This has a two-fold effect: banks can reduce capital investment costs by leveraging existing security assets to the fullest and also reduce operational costs by consolidating their security operations at a single location.
2. Faster response times
Experience shows that PSIM can improve incident response times by 75 percent. An incident that typically takes 20 minutes to handle will take five minutes instead. This is possible because PSIM automatically correlates data across sensors and systems to give the security operator instant situational awareness. Relevant sources of information like cameras, maps and floor plans are automatically presented to create a common operating picture (COP) of what’s happening where. PSIM also presents step-by-step procedures for the operator to follow, with built-in escalation and communication mechanisms. The operator doesn’t have to monitor multiple displays, toggle from system to system, or remember what to do next. This saves time and reduces the potential for human error. Virtually any bank monitoring function (e.g. breaches at data centers, bank branch panic alarm monitoring, remote equipment monitoring and maintenance, asset tracking, vault management functions) can be managed more efficiently through PSIM.
3. Reduced training costs
One of the dilemmas facing bank security control rooms is the sheer number of systems that operators need to learn how to use. This can be further complicated through mergers and acquisitions as new sites and systems are added. When systems are integrated through PSIM, the operator only needs to know one environment. This significantly shortens training time to get operators up-to-speed. One command center that uses PSIM for critical infrastructure protection reported that they were able to reduce security system training time from months to days for new hires. Banks can also use the PSIM system to conduct drills and rehearsals for various threat scenarios. The PSIM solution will capture each action taken so the bank can evaluate response procedures and make improvements.
4. False alarm reduction
The cost of false alarms and resulting unwarranted dispatches can be substantial, not to mention the related drain on internal resources. PSIM reduces false alarms by correlating various data sources for accurate and quicker alerting, and by giving operators the ability to instantly verify the authenticity of alarms prior to dispatching resources. Using PSIM, one bank said it was able to reduce false alarms by 75 percent. Considering that large retail banks may have to contend with tens of thousands of false alarms annually, and that a single false alarm can cost between $50 and $125, PSIM has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.
5. Future ROI
PSIM can easily scale to integrate new sites, systems, sensors, even analytic applications. This means banks can continue to grow their ROI on their original PSIM investment over time. For example, they can go from just monitoring branches to adding in corporate offices or data centers, from monitoring just security functions to reporting on system malfunctions, or even leverage PSIM together with video analytics for business intelligence. They can use PSIM and video analytics to answer questions like how many people come into different branch locations at various times of day? How long do they have to wait in line? Where are the bottlenecks in branch operations that keep the bank from providing great service? In what area of the branch do people tend to congregate and are marketing or promotional materials optimally placed?
It’s becoming very clear to security operators that PSIM can provide substantial cost savings. Based on my calculations, a typical bank can achieve a breakeven ROI on its PSIM investment in a year and a half to two years. That’s an impressive return on investment. But even more impressively, PSIM is an investment that can keep on providing value beyond its initial ROI, due to its openness, scalability and adaptability.