Does Your Video Surveillance System Measure Up?

If your video solution doesn’t help you work faster and cut losses, it’s time to reassess.

April 15, 2013

Video surveillance is a critical component of any credit union’s security system. But if video evidence isn’t there when you need it—or it takes you hours to find the video you need—it may be time to shop around for a more reliable solution.

Video surveillance technology has come a long way since the introduction of first-generation digital recorders 10 or 12 years ago. Today’s marketplace is crowded with products of varying reliability and performance, and solutions that claim to be a one-size-fits-all.

With that in mind, here are some key points to consider when searching for the video surveillance system that will best secure your credit union’s members, staff, and assets today and in the future.

System reliability and performance

One of the first decisions you will face is whether to go with a Windows- or a Linux-based recording system.

Ali Mahmoud
Ali Mahmoud

Many Window-based systems were designed for specific applications and, as such, are not ideally suited to credit union environments. They can pose an increased security risk and result in maintenance nightmares.

In addition, Windows-based solutions are prone to time synchronization problems, which can make it difficult to find video evidence.

Linux-based systems, by contrast, are inherently more reliable, and many credit unions now specify them as a requirement up front.

You also would be well advised to insist on a hybrid video recorder capable of accommodating both analog and Internet protocol (IP) cameras. Hybrid support allows you to add high-resolution IP cameras strategically to your system to capture amazing clarity and high-quality evidence while continuing to make use of your existing analog cameras for as long as budgets and priorities dictate.

The ability to easily monitor the health of your surveillance system should also be high on your requirements list. If a camera stops recording or is disconnected, you will want your video recording system to alert you right away.

Without automatic health monitoring, you must either maintain a tedious daily routine of manually confirming each camera’s performance or run the risk of discovering a problem months later when the video you need is not available.

Efficient search and export

Once you are satisfied with the reliability of a video surveillance system, take some time to find out how easy it will be to retrieve video and export it for law enforcement and court evidence.

First, make sure your recorder accommodates video streaming because the alternative—downloading—will slow your investigation and consume valuable bandwidth.

For example, suppose you need to review video of a transaction from 8 p.m. Some video systems will simply allow you to go to 8 p.m. on a search timeline and hit play to start the video stream from that period—similar to watching a video from YouTube.

Other, less user-friendly systems require you to first download the entire segment of video you want to review, which means longer waiting times and the need to pull more data over the corporate network.

You’ll also want to be able to export video evidence to a memory stick at a branch location in a tamper-proof format that is playable using a self-contained video player. Ideally, your recorder will also allow you to export synchronized video from multiple cameras for simultaneous viewing.

The ability to package the video with notes and transaction data, and manage multiple incidents associated with a case, is also a great timesaver.

Advanced fraud detection

Credit unions interested in more advanced fraud detection and investigation capabilities will want to know whether the video surveillance system they are considering can be integrated with their teller and ATM transaction data, as well as other data such as license plate numbers.

Fraud investigators can use such intelligent video applications to search for archived video of all transactions conducted with a known stolen credit card number, for example, or all checks cashed in excess of $1,000 to ensure compliance with established procedures.

Systems with centralized management capabilities can save credit unions with multiple locations further time by enabling investigators to conduct searches remotely across all their retail banking branches simultaneously. And with the addition of integrated video analytic software, video surveillance systems can even alert credit unions to incidents of potential ATM skimming and cash harvesting, allowing them to verify fraudulent transactions sooner and stop repeat incidents faster.

It can be challenging to navigate the video surveillance marketplace. But taking the time to make the right decision will pay off in improved efficiency, greatly reduced losses, and a system that can continue to support your security and loss prevention efforts for years to come.

ALI MAHMOUD is product manager for March Networks. The company’s video surveillance solutions, used by more than 450 credit unions and banks worldwide, are ranked No. 1 in the Americas banking market.