Why a ‘Great Conversation’ in Security is Important

Security is an ecosystem with a number of voices and perspectives. From technology vendors who need to establish a competitive advantage through superior product design; to resellers who seek to tap into the products their customers will buy; to the AEC vendors (Architects, Engineering and Construction) who see security as a small but important piece of a very large project; to consultants who want to be known for their approach, their knowledge and their wisdom—all have their place in customer lifecycles of what is known as ‘security.’

But too often, each group positions themselves and their value in opposition to each other. Technology vendors may want resellers to lead with their product despite its shortcomings in meeting customer needs. Resellers may forget that their main position is a trust and advisory role and may not go the extra steps in due diligence that would create a strategic response to a customer’s tactical questions. AEC vendors may exclude resellers from strategic design-build considerations and make decisions based only on the price of the product and installation. Consultants may have a predisposition to considering all interests other than their own as prejudiced and may rule out working with knowledge agents like true system integrators who may be able to provide benchmark data on what solutions can optimize a risk and security strategy.

What a challenge to all of us! But are we not, in the end, measured by our response to the challenges we face?

Although my company, Aronson Security Group, is an advisor, consultant and integrator, we fulfill those roles by creating partnerships with thought leaders in various disciplines that we believe can help create a ‘holistic’ perspective on value to our clients. This ‘integrated’ team concept is still too new to most of the market. We still fight like most of you to gain a foothold of respect for our services. But that does not stop us from anticipating a change that will eventually occur. In fact, we are seeing proof points of that this year, more than ever.

The ecosystem that can win for us all

We started anticipating this change 10 years ago. We hosted something we called: The ASG Summit and Expo with the stated purpose of pulling the security ecosystem together to talk about the most important challenges facing security professionals; from leadership, budget and operational issues to emerging technology that would change the way they thought about security.

This Summit is intended as our contribution back to the industry. Unlike many events, it is not a place to pitch a product. It is a place to share ideas. This ‘Great Conversation’ has been supported by the best of the best of all the stakeholders. We expect it to be reproduced elsewhere in the future.

Here is what I anticipate happening if The Great Conversation can help change the industry.

  • The concept of a security event will change. This is a knowledge forum. It produces insights and roadmaps critical to all of our success. This must be captured, tested and shared in new and innovative ways.
  • Thought leaders will begin to acknowledge the prescription above and seek to help drive the integration of all perspectives of the security ecosystem.
  • This will create new ‘scorecards’ for how security executives manage and view the business of security. These scorecards, based on a holistic approach to security, will drive the next level of optimization and innovation in the industry.

I would like us all to consider each of our perspectives but then reach out to join together with others to drive the future value of security. It is no longer viable to be entrenched in our own ways or the old method of doing things. To paraphrase one of the thought leaders at this year’s Great Conversation: “the business of security is the business.”



Phil Aronson is president and chief executive officer of ASG. Coming out of the computer industry, he started in business development with ASG in 1983 and became president in 1989. He has over 25 years of security, access control and door hardware experience. He is a member of the American Society of Industrial Security (ASIS), is on the advisory board of the Security Executive Council (SEC), Security Innovations Partner, host of The ASG Security Summit & Expo and co-founder of The Great Conversation.