From any given chair in the conference room of his corporate security command center, Eric Levine can see the world — or, at least the parts of the world that matter most to him.
Within the walls of his state-of-the-art Corporate Situational Awareness and Response Center, or CSARC, Levine has a window into each of his company’s locations, as well as instant access to incidents and events happening around the world that could potentially impact business operations.
For Levine, vice president and director of corporate security for WellPoint Inc., one of the nation’s largest health benefits company, having access to such situational awareness was the focus of a recent security upgrade project. The multi-year, multi-phase project so far has resulted in the design and construction of CSARC as well as the beginnings of an access control modernization and standardization project for WellPoint regional offices in North America and around the globe.
Amassed though a series of mergers and acquisitions spread across 10 years and 14 states, WellPoint’s network of approximately 120 locations are very different in size, type and business function. By nature of acquisition, the facilities also featured a diverse mix of access control platforms, several types of employee credentials and a mix of legacy surveillance equipment. The acquisitions also included eight regional command centers across the country — originally designed to handle small networks of locations in one or more states.
Levine and his team evaluated WellPoint’s security infrastructure and overall exposure to risk with a comprehensive risk assessment. After identifying the overall risks to the enterprise from the traditional security side, Levine and his team determined that they needed to move WellPoint’s corporate security operations toward a more intelligence-based, proactive approach. “We needed to be able to bring all of our disparate information that we had out in the field and be able to distill and analyze it from a central location,” Levine says. “CSARC is the heart of our operations and enables us to make decisions swiftly and intelligently.”
Security Overhaul Ensures Situational Awareness
From his corporate headquarters location in Indianapolis, Levine enlisted the help of Indianapolis-based Koorsen Security Technology, a member of Security-Net, a national network of systems integrators. The first order of business was to perform a cost-benefit analysis of consolidating the smaller, regional command centers into a central location. At the same time, Levine’s team created WellPoint’s first set of security standards for the company, and an execution plan to standardize all regional locations on the Honeywell ProWatch security management system — which meant re-badging the company’s approximately 37,000 associates.
Armed with data demonstrating the three-year ROI of consolidating the command centers, Koorsen designers worked with Levine and his team to design of the 3,200-square-foot CSARC command center, which would feature a massive, 10x6-foot LCD video wall from Christie Digital and situational readiness software from NC4.
From the central monitoring console, three full-time operators are able to view on the video wall camera feeds from the company’s remote locations and active alarm monitoring functions from the access control system — all cross-referenced with a large situational map that Koorsen integrated with the NC4 software. Several LCD screens also broadcast news from CNN, other global news channels and live global weather monitoring.
Inside the Command Center
The video wall is the heart of the command center, and it features two unique components conceived and designed by Koorsen Security and another Security-Net member, Operational Security Systems (OSS) of Atlanta. First, thanks to a cooperative effort between the integrators and engineers at Christie Digital, the video wall has no gaps between the individual screens. “It was crucial for WellPoint operators to have this level of sophisticated integration viewed on a very large, crystal clear display to easily be able to distill and analyze all the information pouring into the CSARC,” says Skip Sampson, vice president of Koorsen Security.