Mission critical communication

Commend Benelux supplies cyber-secure intercom systems for ABN AMRO bank locations

Wherever people and systems need to communicate safely, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, regardless of location, level, subject or emergency, there’s a very good chance that TKH subsidiary Commend International from Salzburg, Austria, delivered these mission-critical communication systems.

Naturally, this unique product and market position also radiates out to the Dutch Commend Benelux team in Prinsenbeek in the province of Brabant, led by Managing Director John Bressers.

Project lasting 4 to 5 years

John is an intercom specialist in innovative and future-oriented audio and video communication systems that have made Commend a global player with a corresponding reputation for security, efficiency and extreme reliability. ABN AMRO Bank is also convinced of this. The bank has teamed up with Commend Benelux to install Commend’s cyber-secure intercom systems for audio and video communication at all 320 bank locations over the next 4 to 5 years. The first system has now been installed in Amsterdam to protect and secure art treasures and objects stored there.

EU privacy regulation GDPR

The ABN AMRO project originated in May 2017. John explains: “That was when the Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force within the EU, which is intended to guarantee that the data and privacy of users, systems and communications within and outside companies are safe from infiltration by hackers and other malicious parties, among other things. Everything revolves around cyber-security at the highest level.” In order to be eligible for the ABN AMRO project, it was necessary to revise and adapt the Commend Intercom systems’ internal software to comply with GDPR and specific standards. “We started discussions on this subject within TKH, also because TKH naturally attaches great importance to the EU regulation. Extensive consultations with Commend International in Salzburg ultimately led fairly quickly to the development of a fully end-to-end-encrypted intercom system for audio and video communication that ABN AMRO wished to test”, says John Bressers, supported approvingly by Mohammed Azarkani, consultant at Commend Benelux.

Testing with 10 hackers

For the so-called PEN testing of the new and cyber-secure Commend intercom system it had in mind, the bank hired 10 professional hackers to try to penetrate the system from the intercom call station through to the system server and all the networks in between. “After a few weeks, we were told the result of the test and only a few weaknesses had been discovered. We continued to work on making our intercom systems completely inaccessible to hackers, for instance the issuing of specific certificates by an authentication server, 802.Ix port security, logging into the systems based on htpps:// and securing all connections between the intercom stations and the server based on TLS encryption,” says Mohammed.

Groundbreaking solution

With the list of demonstrated weaknesses from the test, Commend was consulted again in Salzburg. “Of course, we did have an important incentive, because a project for 320 locations of a highly regarded bank like ABN AMRO is an assignment that we intend to work on for at least 4 years. In late March 2018, the moment had arrived. We had the groundbreaking solution and were once again invited for the test. The same 10 hackers were hired and after about 5 weeks we were given the result: the test was positive. That marked the beginning of the roll-out of 320 systems at all the bank’s locations”, says John

National control room

There is close cooperation between the bank and Commend Benelux. “Thanks to our lead in intercom technology, every ABN AMRO office will have the most advanced and cyber-secure intercom system for audio and video communication, integrated with access control, and security for and integration with existing data processing and storage systems. After the first location in Amsterdam, the bank’s three head offices will now follow. All 320 locations will eventually be managed through a single national central control room, via computer displays, security audio and video. Thanks to our maintenance plan, the bank is always assured of the latest updates for all our systems,” says John Bressers.