Arab world’s banking leader looks to the future with major security project
Since it became the first Saudi bank to be licensed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1953 the National Commercial Bank (NCB) has grown to become the second largest in the Arab world, as classed by asset. Also known as AlAhli Bank it now serves 5.4 million customers and is a leading institution in the practice of Islamic banking and finance. To maintain its leading position NCB is using IDIS technology for one of the biggest financial surveillance systems upgrades ever seen in the region, involving at least 1000 NVRS and over 2500 cameras.
New standards compliance requires full video system upgrade
NCB needed to modernise and strengthen all its video surveillance systems in order to comply with the latest security standards introduced by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) and Ministry of Interior.
This was a major undertaking involving an upgrade to full HD IP technology across 400 branches and more than 2580 ATMs, all to be completed before the 2021 deadline. NCB was faced with the challenge of choosing the best solution for such a big job. There was a specific requirement for NVRs that would provide RAID 1 and RAID 5 support, that would enable integration of both IP and analogue infrastructure, and that would allow recordings to be stored for a full year. Finding a robust Linux-based solution, with a low failure rate and high security of recorded data was also a top priority.
To meet this challenge the bank appointed leading security solutions provider Almajal G4S and, following a highly competitive tender process, IDIS technology was identified as offering the most advantages, performing better than all competitors in detailed proof-of-concept testing.
IDIS technology chosen following competitor testing
A key advantage for NCB in choosing the IDIS solution was lower total cost of ownership, with zero configuration ensuring reduced installation time and minimal disruption. The bank’s central control room needed a full upgrade and the switch-over to the new solution needed to be entirely seamless. With its hybrid capability the IDIS solution has allowed continued full use of the bank’s legacy analogue cameras and the IDIS Solutions Suite VMS now makes possible simultaneous remote upgrades for multiple devices as well as much easier operation.
An essential requirement for the solution was built-in resilience and IDIS scored highly in this area too with its proprietary DirectIP® protocols and IDIS iBank, a purpose-built file system that provides every IDIS NVR and external eSATA storage device with high performance playback and stable use of HDD disk drives. IDIS iBank automatically restores and restructures damaged index info within the HDD disk drives, making it possible for IDIS NVRs and external storage to run properly, even in extreme cases of damage, providing the stability and reliability for even the most mission critical of surveillance operations.
The IDIS solution was also preferred by NCB because it offered easier maintenance, with the assurance of the industry-leading IDIS Ultimate Warranty and a future-proofed investment thanks to forward and backward compatibility.
Results and Benefits
Partnership with Almajal G4S delivers best-in-class video solution
In operation, lower bandwidth requirements and faster recording retrieval time are helping to make NCB’s security systems more economical and efficient to run. With the upgrade already proving is value the bank’s central monitoring teams now work more efficiently, with their system providing event forwarding, acknowledgements, notifications and live pop-ups.
The project is due for completion in 2019 and it is believed that NCB will be the first to achieve full compliance with the new SAMA standards.
The IDIS hard drives are far more reliable than the DVRs previously used and IDIS Critical Failover technology also protects NCB against video data loss due to a wide range of potential fault conditions, such as network instability or power failure. This ensures that recordings are automatically updated without the need for engineer callouts and with no risk of gaps in recordings while the fault is resolved.
"We were very confident working with the IDIS technology as we knew it would be more efficient to install and allow a smooth, staged migration. Our completed solution is robust and easy to maintain. It allows retention of recorded data for a full year as required by the new standards, and, as the bank’s security needs change, it will be easy to adapt and expand."
ESS Director at Almajal G4S
The winning partnership between Almajal G4S – especially in such a competitive selection process - proved the value and performance IDIS technology and put it in a lead position for other similar projects across the region and beyond.