Over the last 85 years Bank Pekao has become one of the leading organisations of its kind within Central and Eastern Europe. This Polish financial institution is considered one of the safest banks at the pan-European level and operates almost 1,000 branches, the second largest network in the country.
The company belongs to one of the world’s biggest financial groups, UniCredit, which operates in 17 European countries with a network of 9,600 branches and around 145,000 employees. As a pioneer in its industry, Bank Pekao has been awarded many prestigious national and international accolades. In 2014 the company’s mobile banking application won Best Mobile Banking Award by Money.pl, and the Top Employers Institute named it Top Employers Europe 2015 for the sixth consecutive time.
Its position as one of the most safe and secure financial organisations in Poland has been achieved through the implementation of a carefully constructed security strategy, alongside a commitment to adopting cutting edge technology. This area is coordinated by the Bank’s Security Department which is managed by its Director - Mr. Janusz Szymków.
Mr. Ryszard Pichnicki, Operational Director at Bank Pekao Physical Security Office, explains, ‘Efficient security is vital, so we have a programme of continually upgrading our infrastructure to make it as reliable as possible. As part of this initiative we wanted to move towards an Internet protocol (IP) based solution that could centrally monitor, maintain and control different branch offices around Poland to allow more efficient management. This would mean that any issues could be identified immediately and remedial action taken when necessary.’
Pichnicki contacted Siedlce based intruder alarm system integrator, Cel-Tronics, for its suggestions. Mr. Bogdan Jędrych, the company’s Managing Director, explains, ‘We have worked with Bank Pekao for many years and are pre-approved as a technical partner. After gaining an understanding of what was required, we suggested a solution based around Vanderbilt’s cutting edge technology, including the robust Vectis video recording devices, SPC control panels and the SiPass access control system. Mr. Ryszard made it clear that he wanted to implement products from a company that could guarantee availability without any restrictions to installers, and therefore working with Vanderbilt made complete sense.’
SiPass integrated is a powerful and almost infinitely flexible access control system that provides a very high level of security without compromising convenience and ease of use. Krzysztof Krasowski, Vanderbilt’s Sales Manager for Poland, Baltics and Ukraine, says, SiPass is a part of Bank Pekao’s system that restricts movement within each branch and, thanks to its diverse range of modes, can provide ultimate protection. Bank Pekao also required full interoperability between the SPC panels and access control systems for operations such as arm/disarm area, alarms notifications, input/outputs status reading. This is something that we are used to providing, so we had no problem meeting the brief.’
This level of high-end operability means that the entire system is run over a single network that can be centrally managed, allowing it to work smoothly and ensuring maximum security for all bank branches. Furthermore, this approach was incredibly cost effective, as it eliminated the need for more than one cabling infrastructure.
It also provides an open interface for any third party software, offering the possibility to integrate access control with other systems – therefore creating one intelligent building management system that can check the status of doors, prompt the Vectis iX video recorders to activate, and provide a full audit trail. Vectis iX is based on the ONVIF open communication protocol, which allows these devices to be used alongside third party camera vendors. This has proven to be very beneficial, especially where cameras were already installed and needed to be integrated into the new system.
In addition, the Vanderbilt solution is being rolled out in stages and because SiPass is open to readers that can communicate with other controllers, it is helping to provide a smooth migration path. As the new solution is replacing a Vanderbilt Sintony based system, some of the in-situ infrastructure is being reused, providing further cost savings and reducing unnecessary waste, in line with Bank Pekao’s environmental and sustainability policy.
Cel-Tronics has installed the new technology in many of the Bank’s branches so far, with great success, and are planning many more over the next few years. The programme has been very efficient as Bogdan Jędrych explained, ‘We prepare configuration files beforehand based on existing installations, adjusting them to local requirements. In future we will change the set-up via the central network and apply this to the additional controllers. This will give the flexibility to add/delete cards remotely, download reports and perform other operational tasks.’
Bank Pekao's Ryszard Pichnicki is very pleased with the results so far and concludes, 'We take the issue of security very seriously and need to know that we have a system in place that can protect people, property and assets as effectively as possible. I'm confident that, thanks to Cel-Tronics and Vanderbilt, we have the best means of achieving this important objective.'