092413 CJOS_Rymax_Conf. Room_1_300The transition from analog to digital technologies and the ever-increasing importance of leveraging technological gains in the service of improved casino surveillance means that operators will have to encourage closer relationships between surveillance and IT departments if they are to make the most of the opportunity.

That was the message from Tony Borges, surveillance director, Pechanga Gaming Commission, who spoke at G2E’s Security & Surveillance Institute yesterday.

“Surveillance professionals generally don’t have that great a relationship with outside departments working within our properties. When it comes to surveillance in general, we’re sort of secretive, we do our own thing and we don’t like to ask for help. Moving forward, what our technology is showing us is that we have to change,” said Borges. “The IT philosophy has entered into our world. Some of us have dug in deep and said they’re not going down without a fight. And some of us have said we’ll learn about their field and, in conjunction, we’ll teach them about ours. That’s what we did at our property.”

Borges said that Pechanga introduced EMC Isolon, which consolidates surveillance storage. “It’s a very expensive product, but it performs,” he said. “It allowed us to do things like take capabilities such as 30-frames-per-second on analog or digital and store it in realms of 21 to 30 days. But along with that capability, you have to understand the product, be able to troubleshoot it and know if everything is legitimate or not.”

Borges said that when Pechanga’s surveillance department had to collaborate with IT, it was a “trust, but verify” relationship, sharing, “only what needed to be shared. It’s not that anybody was hiding anything; it’s just what was inbred in us. What you find out though is the more transparent that you are, the more productivity you’ll get.”

Borges noted that surveillance cannot verify unless it knows what is being done or supported. By having surveillance personnel understand the IT world on subjects like hacking or security level certifications, it helps move everyone into the future. By understanding the programs, how and why they are made and how they can be manipulated, it only strengthens the unit, allowing it to watch for the red flags as they occur instead of after the fact. “Once you open up about your vulnerabilities, then you can address them with proper training.”