How to Set Up a Security Command Center


Setting up a security command center requires planning for both equipment and functionality. It also requires effective design and room aesthetics that provide a comfortable working environment for shift operators. Although security command centers can range from relatively simple to highly complex, the most important consideration is how your new facility will be used. To ensure success, adhere to simple practical guidelines.

  • Determine how the facility will be used. If the center is being used for security, the primary responsibility of the workers in it will be to watch objects, such as buildings. By comparison, a surveillance-based system watches people and only requires a few monitors for each operator. A security-based system requires more monitors, in larger arrays. Most security centers are capable of monitoring both buildings and people. The present design trend is toward a “video wall,” with a few large monitors that deliver video from various sources for a consolidated view on a smaller number of screens.

  • Base your planning on the peak number of operators who will staff the center. Count both the maximum and minimum number of people required to get a sense of operational range. Add one operator to the maximum to account for going over capacity when an incident occurs and extra people are needed in the facility.

  • Make the most effective use of available space. Security typically is assigned the least desirable space in a building. Room size usually imposes limitations on your options, so careful planning is mandatory. Deploy flat-panel monitors to maximize the use of every inch of space. Use operator consoles that require small-footprint LCD monitors and maximize adjacent work space by adding a counter for paperwork.

  • Address work flow by shift. For example, equipment may be divided between the operator stations to allow division of work. If the security center will be staffed by only a single operator on some shifts, such as overnight, the equipment must be configured so the operator can monitor everything alone.

  • Think ergonomically. Your security center design should ensure both comfort and effectiveness for your operators. Pay special attention to your console design. Consider console options such as dark wood surfaces that make documents more visible, or light-colored woods that make a room seem larger. Plan for binder storage and drawers for personal belongings to have a well-organized workspace. Use pleasant lighting such as dimmable lighting located in the ceiling. Be aware that an overly dark room accelerates operator fatigue.

  • Hire an expert. Setting up a security command center is a complex undertaking that requires specialized skills and experience. Mistakes can prove to be expensive and can undermine the technical quality of your security center. Major national security center design consultants are available online and in most major cities.

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