Future-Proofing Security: How to Design an Effective Surveillance System


Future-Proofing Security: How to Design an Effective Surveillance System

Surveillance systems are non-negotiable features in commercial properties. They act as a crucial deterrent to different criminal activities, including

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Surveillance systems are non-negotiable features in commercial properties. They act as a crucial deterrent to different criminal activities, including theft, vandalism, and unauthorised access to specific areas of the building.

As one of the most vital infrastructure security solutions, you can rely on your surveillance system to monitor entrances, exits, and critical areas to ensure the safety of your employees, customers, visitors and assets.

In addition to strengthening property security, these systems provide evidence in the event of an incident, facilitating investigations and aiding law enforcement. They can also improve operational efficiency by monitoring workflow and ensuring compliance with safety regulations.

With security concerns growing every day, investing in a robust surveillance system is essential for protecting properties and people, contributing to a safer and more secure commercial space.

Designing an Effective Surveillance System for Commercial Properties

Whether you’re installing your property’s first surveillance system or enhancing your current one, follow these tips to ensure you have a reliable security feature:

1.     Know the local laws relevant to installing surveillance systems.

Before working on your security system design, read about the local laws associated with installing one. For instance, many states prohibit recording anyone without their consent or knowledge in private properties.

In the United Arab Emirates, the law states that employees should be informed of the surveillance system being used within and outside building premises. Cameras must also be installed only in public or highly frequented areas, such as entrances and lobbies, but not in toilets, changing rooms and the swimming pool, if there is one.

Additionally, data collected by the system should be protected at all times and footage must be retained for 30 days only. If a third-party service provider instals the system, they may need to provide proof or documentation, such as their licence and permit to operate in the UAE.

By knowing the laws and regulations you should abide by when designing and installing your surveillance system, you can reduce the likelihood of getting penalised and wasting money on modifying it.

2.     Identify key factors to consider in your design.

An effective surveillance system monitors entrances and critical areas, ensuring the safety of the people on your property and protecting valuable items. Determining the crucial factors that can vastly improve property security can help you achieve this goal.

Some of the essential factors you need to consider in the design are:

  • The number of entrances, exits and hallways in the building
  • The outdoor area or parking space
  • The location and number of areas with valuable items, if there are any
  • Access control for certain areas in the building

Also, consider the number of your employees and the people who frequently go to your building to ensure you install the cameras in critical areas.

3.     Consider the monitoring level that works best for you.

There are three methods or levels for monitoring a surveillance system. These are:


The monitored method calls for one or more security professionals to monitor the cameras, sensors, perimeter security and access controls in an onsite or offsite control room. It requires more advanced cameras and other central security features.


The unmonitored method requires an independent closed-circuit setup of cameras, motion detectors, intruder alarms and other security features to detect threats. You and your team will receive alerts on your phone or computer if the connected equipment is triggered.

Another option is a semi-monitored or semi-supervised surveillance system, which is a combination of the two. With this option, you can choose the most important equipment to include in your system as well as decide the critical times or days to have a security personnel monitor or go over the footage and collected data.

To choose the right surveillance method for your premises, consider the size of your property, specific requirements and budget.

4.     Select your surveillance cameras.

Cameras are one of the most important, if not the most critical, elements of a surveillance system. Because of this, you need to choose the right type and integrate them correctly in your design.

First, select between analogue and internet protocol or IP cameras. The former records images and sends the signal through a cable to a DVR or digital video recorder, which then converts the video from analogue to digital signals. It also compresses the file and stores it on a hard drive.

On the other hand, IP cameras transmit and receive data over a network or the Internet. Since they are connected to the Internet, they provide users with remote access and monitoring capabilities.

These cameras are further categorised into more specific types, such as:

  • Bullet
  • Turret
  • Dome
  • Pan-tilt-and-zoom (PTZ)

To choose which type of camera works well with your surveillance system, consider these factors:

  • The video quality or resolution you need
  • The complexity and length of the installation process
  • The amount of storage you need and your preferred storage type
  • The location of the cameras (indoors and outdoors)

5.     Ensure effective visibility in different light settings.

An effective surveillance system design takes into account all potential light levels in both indoor and outdoor spaces.

Seasoned security specialists and system integrators can help you ascertain the light levels in different areas of your property, choose the right camera that suits them, and install them correctly so they work efficiently all the time.

The ideal outdoor cameras should record well when the sun is at its fullest and in total darkness. Indoor cameras should also do the same when there’s a power outage.

By considering the different light levels, you can ensure visibility and clear footage in any area on your property at any time.

6.     Consider system maintenance requirements.

Regular maintenance is crucial for all cameras and integrated equipment to operate at optimal performance, lowering the risk of failures and security breaches. As such, you should design your surveillance system to include easily accessible components for routine inspections, cleaning and updates.

Including system maintenance needs can extend the lifespan of the equipment, providing better return on investment. It also helps identify possible issues before they escalate, reducing potential downtime and repair costs.

By considering the maintenance requirements of the surveillance system from the start, you can guarantee continuous, effective security on your property.

Designing a robust, effective surveillance system is crucial for having a safe and secure commercial property. You can come up with the perfect designs by following these tips.