“We have had cases where security guards have been killed at night,” says Mohan Vizhakat, CTO and EVP, Manappuram Finance. For a company like Manappuram Finance, its security guards are the lifeline as they are the sole barrier between gold ornaments of customers and criminals. But depending on a security guard to protect tons of gold is inviting trouble.
That’s something that Vizhakat realized. And that’s why he decided to use IT as a shield to protect the assests of the company’s customers. He figured that if someone breaks open a branch and gets into a vault, it will take him at least an hour to maneuver his way to the gold. “There is a one-hour window to react. With a reactive system in place, miscreants will know better than to enter any of the Manappuram branches,” says Vizhakat.
Vizhakat and the IT team introduced a two-fold security system—with surveillance cameras and an Automatic Intrusion Alert Management System (AIAMS)—to strengthen the company’s security backbone. “After establishing a comprehensive video surveillance system with high resolution IP cameras, all our 3,200 branches got under a continuous remote surveillance system,” says Vizhakat.
To capture the movements clearly, three IP-based cameras were installed in all the branches. “Every night when our broadband communication connections are free, the bandwidth is utilized for uploading the video clips to our central server,” Vizhakat says.
Additionally, highly sensitive intrusion alert sensors like contact sensors, IR-based proximity sensors, and vibration sensors were installed at various points of entry within the branches. IP receivers collate alerts by using the existing MPLS links and transfer them to the central alert management system located in Thrissur. An alert also gets automatically generated at the central hub in case of power link/router failure, also treated as an intrusion attempt for mitigated response.
Electronic relay systems dispatch alerts to regional security patrols and quick-reaction teams. The alerts get collated in AIAMS and get dispatched as SMSes, e-mails, and automated telephone calls. For instance, if an intrusion happens in one of the branches at Mumbai, the information will automatically flow to the quick-reaction team, closest to the particular branch. The nearest security agency mitigates the threat. The threat alert also goes to the central management system and the local security agencies near the site.
“The whole process is tuned such that the nearest quick-reaction team reaches the site within 30 minutes of alert generation,” says Vizhakat. And that has gone a long way in securing the organization’s gold assets.
Another benefit of the project was that it wasn’t inexpensive. Earlier, the company spent over Rs 70 crore annually, across its 3,200 branches, to maintain a certain level of security. But the new system brought the cost down to Rs 15 crore.
The project, started last November, has already covered over 1,000 branches. According to Vizhakat, within the next few months, it will be implemented all over the country.
The company used to spend over Rs 70 crore every year on security, but due to a two-fold security system, it has come down to Rs 15 crore.