Financial institutions face a range of challenges today; from post-pandemic profitability and regulatory pressure to fighting off fintech start-ups. And, as the physical and digital worlds converge, there’s the question of how to give customers what they want, securely, often while working with legacy systems.

Here, we look at ten ways that using a physical access control system can help secure your organisation’s future by going way beyond physical security.


1. Foster high levels of trust and protect your reputation

PWC says financial institutions should accelerate trust-building activities to aid post-pandemic recovery and ensure business continuity. As Timo Span, partner at Deloitte Consulting, explains: “For banks in particular, their customers’ trust is the most valuable asset. This trust can only be effectively safeguarded with a zero-trust security approach.”

In an industry so reliant on relationships, the right physical access control system can help engender the trust you need and prevent any breaches likely to damage your reputation.


2. Strengthen your security all-round

Physical access control systems aren’t just designed to protect from threats such as theft or terrorism – they can be key to protecting confidential data too. It’s critical to ensure your system itself is protected by end-to-end security options, including encrypted technology, to prevent it from being overridden by cybercriminals.

Before implementing AEOS, we asked an independent IT company to try to break into our IT systems. They used a little device with which they normally could ‘clone’ access cards without actually touching them. They had to admit that the AEOS encryption was so advanced, they didn’t have the technology to hack into the system. This is what we wanted to hear.”— Alan Ford, Security Manager, BNP Paribas

The National Institute of Standards and Technology spoke to the need for “identifying, authenticating, and authorizing individuals to access organizational assets and systems” in their Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity.


3. Increase efficiency while minimising risk

Advanced, modern access control systems can manage complex authorisations quickly and securely to ensure your protection is increased but your workload isn’t.

A system that’s easy to use, with a centralised database and streamlined integrations, significantly improves operational efficiency. Workflows and automatic authorisation management, for example, simplify security tasks while reducing risk.

As we were making an investment that would be used across many sites, we wanted to be sure we selected absolutely the right system. AEOS is cleverly designed around the people using it, so it brings value in terms of time saved and increased convenience, as well as improved security.” Mr. Ezzat Hallal, General Manager, Engineering Services, Bank of Kuwait 

4. Ensure compliance with strict and fast-changing regulations

Your physical access control system must support you in achieving compliance with a growing range of standards and regulations – from Sarbanes-Oxley compliance for internal governance to the new NIS 2 Directive for cybersecurity.

Furthermore, The National Institute of Standards and Technology, a division in the U.S. Department of Commerce, sets standards on tech-specific policies. This holds especially true for security control. Your internal stakeholders, particularly those in risk and compliance, should be a part of the decision-making process when vetting possible access control systems. Your organization’s access control policy will need to draw from your compliance management plan, so that you can address any compliance gaps.


5. Enable efficient auditing, reporting and traceability

While the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act of 2002 does not apply to companies operating outside of the United States, it exerts strong influence in other countries:
In response to the US regulation, the European Union established its own set of statutory auditing requirements.

The UK also followed suit, with the Department for Business, Energy and Strategy (BEIS) launching its own white paper to set out proposals for strengthening internal controls for audits and reporting inside financial companies.

Increasingly more transparency and accountability are expected from financial institutions. Which means more pressure than ever to produce clear, detailed reports in areas ranging from compliance to attendance. A physical access control system with powerful reporting functionality enables easy and accurate analysis and reporting. And ensures you can track where people are, or have been, and how your system’s being used.


6. Improve your hospitality

Choose a physical access control system that lets you easily manage visitors, parking, lifts, lockers, biometric identification and more. You can then provide a much more efficient, personalised welcome to customers, visitors, contractors and employees – all while maintaining high-security levels.

You can, for example, avoid bottlenecks in reception and lift lobbies by enabling visitors to self-register and reserve a locker at kiosks using mobile credentials, facial recognition or QR codes. And then direct them to the right lift. The user experience for employees, customers, and contractors alike, should be as safe and seamless as possible. Memorable experiences, after all, only add to your brand’s strength.


7. Combine centralised and decentralised management

Standardising and centralising your security systems and policies helps to increase security, safety and efficiency, and enables remote management and monitoring. Centralisation was a key driver for National Bank of Kuwait when it selected AEOS access control for its new headquarters. But you, like ING Belgium, may need to deviate at a local or individual level.

In one location, for example, you may need to implement a Chinese wall to prevent a conflict of interest or limit access to a server room. Your physical access control system should give you this flexibility to take control centrally – yet decentralise adjustments and day-to-day management.

Security management in banking is a discipline unlike any other. Our security is based on central access to buildings and central facilitation of technical solutions, but decentralized security and access responsibility per zone. AEOS, a leading platform in integrated security, turns out to be just as effective when deployed decentrally.” — Joris de Greve, Security Manager, ING Belgium 

8. Keep pace with changing risks and needs

Your security requirements may change quickly and in ways you can’t anticipate.

If we take one of Belgium’s leading banks, Belfius, their needs for a new access control system varied widely. Following the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of people working in Belfius’s Brussels headquarters each day went from 4000 to 500. In an evolving hybrid working environment, Belfius rented office space in which brought new security challenges. It’s only logical that they needed ultimate flexibility and scalability in their physical access control system.

As we’ve seen in recent times, the future can bring great and sudden changes. We need a security system that makes anything and everything possible and we believe we have that with AEOS.”— Jonas Vyverman, Head of Physical Security, Belfius 

9. Be ready to adopt and integrate future technologies

To ensure high levels of security and efficiency, you’ll need a variety of technologies to operate seamlessly with your physical access control system – from intrusion detection and video management to locker management and lift systems. And who knows what technologies you’ll want or need to integrate in the future?

For the most flexibility and futureproofing, choose a physical access control system based on open architecture that enables easy integration with your IT infrastructure and third-party systems (e.g. facilities management software, visitor management systems, HR databases). This was particularly important for Belfius, one of Belgium’s leading banks, when looking for a new system.

It’s important for us to have one system and everything connected to that system. And it’s reassuring to know that if we want to make changes, add more integrations or cope with complex requirements, we can do that easily with AEOS.” — Jonas Vyverman, Head of Physical Security, Belfius

10. Improve cost-effectiveness and scalability

McKinsey’s Global Banking Annual Review 2021 shows that profitability and market-to-book value are a cause for concern in the banking industry. While PWC indicates challenges ahead for the financial industry in general.

In this light, it makes sense to choose a physical access control system that brings added value in areas such as functionality, scalability, integration opportunities and implementation support.

As we were making an investment that would be used across many sites, we wanted to be sure we selected absolutely the right system. AEOS is cleverly designed around the people using it, so it brings value in terms of time saved and increased convenience, as well as improved security.Mr. Ezzat Hallal, General Manager – Engineering Services, Bank of Kuwait 

So you have a system that can provide exactly what you need, cost-effectively – now and in the future.

AEOS is certified by the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) and is trusted by organisations providing essential services around the world. Want to find out more? Please get in touch