ASG: Success at the Leading Edge

Bringing more value to market

Like many of today’s security integrators, Seattle-based Aronson Security Group (ASG) started out in locks and door hardware. Conrad Aronson opened the business as the C. Connie Aronson Company in the early 1960s and grew it successfully for nearly 30 years before selling it to his sons.

This January, CEO Phil Aronson announced that the company, renamed Aronson Security Group (ASG) in 1999, had purchased Oregon-based Selectron, making it the largest independent security integrator in the Pacific Northwest. At the same time, ASG formally launched its Converged Security Services Division to assist clients in developing converged enterprise security architecture—a concept that’s as far from selling mechanical locks as e-mail is from the Pony Express.

The last eight years have been a major transformation for ASG. Phil Aronson attributes his company’s success to the people he works with and the way those people have invested themselves in the vision of ASG. The forward-thinking nature of that vision has allowed the company to adapt throughout the years to address business and technology trends as they emerge and to provide their customers with state-of-the-art solutions and services.

Changing the face of security
One of the more recent and revolutionary aspects of ASG’s vision is its emphasis on increasing the influence of security directors within their own companies. “When we really started growing in 2002, we wanted to raise the level of security to the boardroom,” Aronson said, “so the clients we’re working with are talking about security in the advancement of the company’s goals and mission—how it adds strategic value to the company.”

Traditionally, security directors haven’t had a consistently strong influence in the upper echelons of their corporations, with the board of directors and with the executives in the C suite. Executives and the board often view security as simply a cost of doing business, and security directors often present security projects in terms of cost alone.

ASG works to show customers and non-customer security directors how to speak “the new language of security”— the language of the C level, which focuses on the brand and shareholder value. The company has used its annual ASG Security Summits to advance that theme.

Getting security into the boardroom will be good for security practitioners and the industry as a whole, and it would specifically benefit integrators like ASG as well by opening up the door to more funding for security projects. “It’s harder to get money when you’re a cost of doing business with an intangible ROI,” said Aronson. “But if you can show value to a CFO or CEO, you’re more likely to get funding and budget. I’ve seen that working with customers and clients we have.”

ASG has been talking about adding value through security for many years but it’s only now beginning to resonate with many security practitioners and the industry. Aronson recognizes this evolution as a reflection of the growth of another sector: information technology. He worked as a computer analyst in the 1980s and likens the security industry today to information technology (IT) back then, when CIOs moved to the boardroom and began talking about networking and information technology as an integral way to add value to the company.

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