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When was the last time you went to a bank? Compare that to how often you use mobile banking apps or remote services. The nature of banking has changed—a shift only accelerated by closures during the COVID-19 pandemic—and the nature of crime at bank branches has changed along with it.

Brian Ishikawa, CPP, director of corporate security for Bank of Hawaii, is a member of the ASIS International Banking & Financial Services Community Steering Committee, and in November 2021 he contributed to Security Management's "Coping with Vagrancy in ATM Vestibules" article.

Ishikawa sat down with the ASIS Blog to provide five strategies to consider for the banking & financial services security professional.

1. Surveillance Analytics

Technology in the space of surveillance has grown in leaps and bounds. More devices and services offer analytic capabilities such as, but not limited to, facial recognition, behavioral detection, people counting, masking wearing detection, license plate recognition, and boundary detection. If you are not yet exploring Surveillance Analytic related features, I urge you to examine the use cases to migrate your surveillance system from a post incident response tool, that only the security staff uses, into a device that other business units, beyond security, recognize as a value enhancement.

2. Robotics

I am sure that by now you have heard that job tasks that are repetitive in nature or simple to perform are likely to be done by a robot in the future. Business units are all trying to escalate the use of technology tools and applications with the intent of increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of their teams. While there are a host of things that a human security officer can perform that a robot today cannot yet do, there are also many tasks that a robot can perform quicker and cheaper. The key is to find the right balance and tasking of robotics use. A hybrid use of human security officers along with a host of robotics is surely a strategy to keep on the radar.

3. Community Collaboration

The saying, “No person is an island” rings true with respect to the next strategy.  Working with others outside of your organization is the key to improving your security program’s effectiveness. We must constantly look for opportunities to positively engage with others and grow our network of contacts, to improve our skill set, and to help others. It might be meeting with fellow security professionals in your industry subsector or your city’s homeless government task force charged with improving conditions or a neighborhood board. Active participation and a willingness to help others are vital to obtaining the help from others within the community.  

4. De-Escalation Training

Many banks have witnessed a sharp rise in workplace violence related incidents. A good security program makes security everyone’s responsibility and not just the security department’s job. The creation of de-escalation training and protocols for frontline staff to use when confronted with an incident is important. In many security incidents there is a gap between the time danger is recognized and a call to the police or security staff is made to when help actually arrives. Staff must have a set of de-escalation protocols to use in an attempt to quell the situation and protect others.    

5. ASIS International participation

Last, but not least, ASIS International is our professional trade group.  It is truly up to us as members to make the best of it. Finding opportunities to participate and serve are key components of this strategy. Regularly and active participation in your local ASIS Chapter is a good start. I strongly encourage rising security professionals to volunteer for leadership or committee positions. In too many trade groups, members want something out of the organization, but fail to provide a decent effort first. There are many opportunities to serve, just ask. Serving on a Chapter, Community or other ASIS voluntary activity will help to establish your professional brand and reward you in many ways to come.