Part II: Components of a Successful Security Program with Sean Ahrens & Ilya Umanskiy

Here is the second half of my conversation about key components of successful security programs with Sean A. Ahrens, M.A., CPP, FSyl, BSCP and Ilya Umanskiy M.A., PSP, RAMCAP. If you have not yet listened to Part I, you can listen to it here. In Part I, we discussed security metrics, policies & procedures, and continual learning. In this second part, we discussed leadership, data driven organizations, and how to get the most out of trade shows & conferences.

Primary Topics Discussed

  •  Leadership challenges & solutions

  • Aligning asset protection within data driven organizations

  • ROI & convergence of security systems

  • Approaches for maximizing your limited time at trade shows and conferences

Guest Profiles

In this conversation I was joined by Sean A. Ahrens, M.A., CPP, FSyl, BSCP and Ilya Umanskiy M.A., PSP, RAMCAP.

Sean is an asset protection and resiliency leader with over 20 years’ experience working as a security consultant, supporting domestic and international organizations. He’s led the creation of security management programs in healthcare and government sectors. Notable security projects he has led include those at Stanford University and Medical Center, Qatar Petroleum District, additionally he is the Chair of the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitants and it’s forthcoming security guidance for Fall Towers. Currently he works for AEI (Affiliated Engineers, Inc.) where he supports the organization as a Security Market Group Leader.
Associated Links: Affiliated Engineers, Inc. -

Ilya has almost two decades of direct in-house and consulting experience in risk management, including investigations and protection of assets. Ilya has delivered meaningful results in protection of people, reputation, information, and environments for multiple organizations in the public and private sector as well as for high net-worth individuals. Ilya’s previous roles include Security Specialist with Prudential Financial (USA), and Associate Managing Director for Kroll (Hong Kong). Currently, he works on a range of projects to include Sphere State, his medium for mentoring aspiring security professionals and he is a Senior Advisor with Current Consulting based in Hong Kong.
Associated Links: Sphere State - ;
Current Consulting -

Show Notes & Resources

  • "Engagement" and overall realization of your goals relies on giving your team a mission to move towards (such as a mission statement); something that is constantly in front of them

  • Once you get an intern/young person behind your mission, there is no "we didn't do that at my old organization"; it pays dividends in engagement and minimizing attrition

  • Be collaborative & transparent, invite team members to bring information & ideas to the table

  • (Book reference: “Straight From the Gut” by Jack Welch) How to identify A, B, and C Players on your team; you need to identify your "A Players" and know what they want from the organization. You can't afford to lose "A Players" because they are going to help you accomplish the mission and your program goals

  • In many organizations, "security" is a negative word; we should embrace these terms instead: "asset protection" and "resilience"

  • Every dollar spent for the organization needs to be accountable; security leaders need to be intune with financial ideas/methods (ROI, buy-back, and accruing); understanding those elements will help you better align security with the mission of the organization. When you speak in terms of "business" to senior leaders, they are more likely to support your proposals and initiatives.

  • Anything can be turned into a number that can be measured, monitored, and used with progress monitoring to achieve a program goal

  • Go speak with those that study data science; the means and methods for collecting and interpreting security data/metrics are widely available

  • How do the tech giants survive? They survive by leveraging volumes of (seemingly disconnected) datapoints; all of this if used correctly can speak to successes of your program; that makes for an easier sell when speaking to senior management about budgets

  • Seek to make security a business driver, not an "orphan function"

  • We should ask, "How can I use data as a tool, in order to leverage my good relationships with the organization and be one of the business drivers?"

  • At trade shows, the emerging technologies can often be found on the edges and they have a lot to offer in terms of innovation, as the large companies are often too large to pivot and innovate effectively to meet market needs

  • Seminars at the big trade shows tend to be large vendors trying to associate their solutions to a broad range of challenges (not necessarily all that beneficial to the audience)

  • When it comes to the large companies with booths in the middle, observing the design of their booth and getting answers to a few short questions can tell you everything you need to know about changes/progress since the previous year (Answering, “How long should I spend at this booth?”)

  • It’s important to ask questions about advancement in user-centric design (user experience, user interface, ease of operation); has the vendor been listening to the market?

  • Throw scenarios at the vendors to demonstrate the product’s worth; always be thinking in terms of clients: "Will they benefit or will it be another blinking light?” Will it integrate?

  • When you go to seminars, ask yourself how your clients can benefit and don't be afraid to ask critical questions of those organizations that have not taken their ideas for a "test run"

  • A trick to avoid spending too much time at any booth: set your phone timer for 15-minutes prior to engaging with the booth personnel (with an alert that sounds like a phone call); this is an easy way to break away from any conversation

  • Always take brochures/business cards from all the vendors that you need immediate solutions from because many times they will take a long period to reach out to you

How to Follow & Connect with Sean & Ilya

Sean A. Ahrens, M.A., CPP, FSyl, BSCP on LinkedIn

Ilya Umanskiy PSP, RAMCAP, MA on LinkedIn


About the EP Nexus Blog

The EP Nexus executive protection blog, is a comprehensive resource for security professionals involved in executive protection, protective intelligence, threat assessment, and related fields.

Launched in March of 2016 as a resource for executive protection professionals, command center gurus, and close protection know-it-alls, EP Nexus is quickly becoming a resource for those seeking to quench their thirst for executive protection reading.

The most popular section of the blog is Executive Protection HacksEP Hacks is a series in which we address complex topics (one topic per issue) in a convenient collection of tools & writings. I am actively collaborating with industry leaders to produce future issues. If you're interested in taking an active approach in moving your industry into the future, contact me below.

Outside of EP Hacks, I explore the following topics in writings, tutorials, and webinars: online tools for executive protection professionals, open source intelligence investigations (OSINT), threat assessment, protective intelligence, travel security, and more.

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