Midstate Security Takes Spartan Stores into Full Compliance

March 10, 2011
Payment card regulations propel retail grocer to IP

Midstate Security Company, based in Grandville, Mich., offers a range of innovative solutions to customers. The company, founded in 1980, knows it has to go above and beyond and provide additional intrinsic value to customers to keep them and fuel referrals, which drives the majority of the central station company's sales. So when retail grocer Spartan Stores needed help with a solution that spanned more than CCTV surveillance, Midstate Security stepped up with a big assist.

Spartan Stores Inc., which owns and operates 122 supermarkets, pharmacies and fuel stations in Michigan, needed video surveillance but also had to meet Payment Card Industry (PCI) regulations for information security. According to the PCI Security Standards Council, the PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) provides a working framework for developing a robust payment card data security process-including prevention, detection and appropriate response to security incidents. Retailers and others who comply with the PCI DSS can convey to their customers that their sensitive payment card information is secure and confident.

Operating on the philosophy of "building long-term relationships with clients and providing the highest level of service," according to David Nemmers, owner and president, Midstate Security had the perfect value-add proposition for Spartan Stores, with a planned migration to an IP video surveillance system from Cisco Systems.

Midstate Security, one of the largest security providers in Michigan and currently in expansion mode to the state of Tennessee, is a Cisco Premier Certified Partner well-versed in the design and implementation of the solution Spartan required. "PCI compliance was critical to this customer and it also provides a nice springboard to other prospects that require this solution," said Kevin VandeGuchte, Midstate's director of Business Development, who added that Spartan is a leader in the food distribution industry and employs some 8,000 personnel state wide. Spartan operates under the names D&W Fresh Markets, Family Fare Supermarkets, Felpausch Food Centers, Glen's Markets and VG's Food and Pharmacy. Spartan also supplies more than 40,000 private label and national brand products to nearly 300 independent grocery stores.

Like other U.S. retailers that accept credit cards, Spartan needed to follow compliance standards in order to satisfy PCI information security regulations. One requirement includes continually monitoring the area around servers that process customer credit card data to identify people with access to the servers. "To meet the requirement, we needed to store 90 days of video, with fluid video motion and clear picture quality for positive identification," said Tim Bartkowiak, director of Security and Loss Prevention, Spartan Stores.

Midstate Security was able to come up with a solution that addressed both compliance as well as long-term loss prevention needs, according to VandeGuchte, and the time was right to move from its existing analog DVR surveillance system to an IP-based platform. "Not only were we able to meet the compliance regulations, but we reduced management overhead, freed up time for security officers to monitor real-time video and also offered capabilities/options for the grocer to improve merchandising and product planning," he said.

Midstate Security implemented the solution in one of the Spartan Stores and plans to add others as video equipment requires upgrading or stores commence remodeling. It decided on Cisco Video Surveillance in part because it's the groundwork for the Cisco Physical Security Solution, which includes physical access control, a feature that could be added as Spartan Stores see fit, according to Dave McDonald, Security Consultant.

Another critical feature of the Cisco Video Surveillance Operations Manager software platform was the ability to reduce the time needed to manage privileges for about 175 employees authorized to view video. Spartan installed Cisco IP video surveillance cameras that capture video of the servers used to process credit card data, 24/7. The Cisco Video Surveillance Manager stores the video for 90 days. Authorized personnel in the on-site central command center and in stores use a Web interface to view real-time and archived feeds from cameras in one, some, or all stores, based on their access privileges. The Cisco Video Surveillance Operations manager can create access links to local police officers when needed, to view camera feeds from a laptop in their vehicles and connecting with the store's Wi-Fi network or a citywide network if available.

System wellness checks

Spartan Stores has approximately 3,050 in-store video surveillance cameras. Previously, security officers in the control center spent approximately one hour every shift to check digital video recorders (DVRs) and associated cameras for proper operation. If a camera failed immediately after the wellness check, the team might not discover the outage for another day or so and a delay in discovering a camera malfunction could be costly, especially if a theft/fraud, shoplifting incident or in-store injury occurred during that time period.

The Cisco Video Surveillance system reduces risk by continually checking the health of video surveillance cameras and automatically alerting personnel if transmission is impeded or delayed.

Midstate Security gave Spartan Stores a video surveillance solution that adds value above and beyond security and will help the grocer migrate into better operability and compliance.