After a security perimeter is established, assess the video systems needs. Assume a perpetrator has breached the protected perimeter or that attempts are being made to do so and detection has been made by other elements of the planned security system.

Evaluate the protection zone and determine which observation points would be most effective in observing the presence of the intruder and classifying their intent. Classification is important since an all out response may not be needed if the intruder is simply an employee who has inadvertently breached a controlled area. Pay special attention to the outer perimeters; these will afford the greatest response time for the security force.

Camera Considerations

Indicate the placement of a camera in the appropriate location that will afford the optimum view. Some of the elements to consider in camera placement are:
  • The range of view (left/right).
  • The angle of view (up/down).
  • The availability of lighting.
  • The distance from the subject.
Consider the physical mounting of the equipment and the availability of power. Judgment of the value of the view in relation to the cost of providing that view will determine the viability of the option. For example, a petrochemical plant with a large perimeter may require mounting poles and long power runs to provide the desired view. This may be financially unfeasible. Long lenses are used to offset long viewing distances but they will provide less useful images. Consider all aspects of camera placement in this step.

Establish the Command Center

Inspect the existing command center for the facility. If one does not exist, plan a command center for the facility. This establishes the centralized reporting location for alarms and the control point for openings throughout the system.

Usually, some type of security command posts exists in most organizations. This would be the most obvious place to locate the command center for a new security system. If you do not have a security command center yet, there may be a control center for elevator and fire alarm reporting. The company’s facility manager can help to determine where the security command center should be located.

Some elements to examine when reviewing a potential command center are:
  • Location within the protected perimeter.
  • Adequate lighting and ventilation.
  • Easy access to the key areas of the facility.
  • Sufficient room for equipment and security furniture.
  • Available wall space for mounting equipment (security cameras).
  • Ample access to commercial power.
  • Cable pathways into the room.
Consider enhancements to existing command centers to improve the effectiveness of the post and encourage heightened attention by the watch officers operating that post.

Equipment Location

In addition to the command center, most large electronic security systems require the installation of control equipment to provide power and communications to end-point devices. It is sometimes necessary to have multiple equipment locations to minimize the impact of cable runs to each end point. There are several elements to examine when selecting equipment locations:
  • Located within the protected perimeter.
  • Controlled access to the space by means of secured walls and lockable doors.
  • Adequate lighting and ventilation.
  • Cable pathways into the room (a vital consideration).
  • In multi-story buildings, cable pathways between floors.
  • In multi-building complexes, access to network and inter-building communications.
  • Sufficient wall space for mounting control equipment.
  • Ample access to commercial power and emergency power backup services.
Where these facilities are not available, the CSO needs to recommend enhancements to the equipment location areas to make them suitable for equipment and cabling.

Conduct the Physical Survey

Once the security perimeter is established, the access openings identified and the resistance value of the perimeter and openings evaluated, determine the valid access and egress requirements for the secured area. Do this with the help of other company executives during the physical survey.

Begin the physical survey by establishing a “walk through” schedule that includes a management representative of the operating department for that area and a representative of the physical plant or facility department. When starting the survey, write the names and titles of the parties participating in the survey and the date the survey was done for later reference.

Using the site plans and floor plans as a guide, start at the most active opening in the outer most perimeter then proceed to all perimeters identified in the physical survey plan. Identify the openings employees typically use. In some cases, employees use openings that the CSO would prefer they not use. Plan a monitoring device for each opening.

Consider each opening in the protected perimeter and determine the following characteristics of the opening to decide if the opening requires an access control device: Is there something behind the door of significant value to the company, either people or property? Is there dangerous or hazardous material behind the opening that could be a liability to the company if accessed by unauthorized personnel? Are there privacy issues regarding elements behind the opening?

If the opening requires an access control device, then consider the following questions to decide how to handle the opening:
  • When should this door be locked?
  • When this door is locked are there times when access should be permitted?
  • When this door is locked are there times when egress should be permitted?
  • Does the security operation plan to monitor access or egress (or both) at this door by means of a security officer?
  • If not, will the company need a record of entry or exit at this opening?
  • Is this a primary exit door? In most buildings, an “Exit” sign above the door identifies a primary exit door. Fire code requirements in most states call for primary exit doors to be clearly marked and available for egress at all times.
  • Does this door lead to other doors that are considered primary exits and are there other avenues of escape to that exit without passing through the subject door?
  • Are there select individuals (as opposed to all company employees) who are permitted to use this door?
It is generally best to begin the survey at the main or front entrance. That term does not always apply but it means the opening in the protected perimeter that has the highest level of traffic. Then walk the full length of the exterior perimeter, examine each opening in the perimeter and make a determination on how best to secure that opening. The operations personnel attending the walk through can explain how a particular opening is used. Appearances can be deceiving. A door that appears to be secured and infrequently opened may in fact be a high traffic door but simply lacks the evidence of the traffic. Operational personnel from the department will know best how an opening is used.