Specifically Speaking with Sean A. Ahrens

Monday, November 23, 2015

What kinds of security project do you focus on at Aon?

We practice in all areas that require security. We recently finished a loss prevention audit for a Fortune 500 company, as well as a robust technical analyses and security designs for a two high-rises and corporate headquarters. Our work is also global, including prominent high-rise buildings in the Middle East, hospitality projects in Africa and central/western United States. We are still working on a number of risk assessments; specifically, we recently finished a 2 million-square-foot municipal court campus. Over the years, we have refined our assessment methodologies to look at specific threats, such as our Violent Incident Prevention assessment, which looks at the threat of workplace violence and educates our clients on how to implement the necessary controls/training to help minimize the potential of such an occurrence. Some clients want us to test their security programs via real world testing. We will attempt to gain access to a company’s assets by physically breaking into buildings using non-destructive means. For clients that want to outsource services, we provide big data analysis for future trending, budget allocations and the measurement of consistency across all of their sites. We also develop security policies and procedures for clients who do not have the time to write them.

What do you think is the most promising new security technology? Why?

While it is not necessarily one specific “technology,” the most important aspects of security are mass notification and communication systems. These are used to establish and maintain lines of communication with occupants and first responders during an emergency situation. With regards to technology, I see HD-, megapixel- and 360-degree cameras as the most promising for the future. Why? They provide information, lots more information to support situational awareness. This is the technology that I predicted over 10 years ago, and manufacturers have finally caught up. The next advance will be high-density storage; looking at storage three-dimensionally rather than two dimensionally.

Can you share any details about a project that you're working on or recently completed?

Two projects come to mind. Our security consulting and design practice provided services to support security programming for the Qatar Petroleum District. Located in Doha, Qatar, it is a government-owned oil and gas conglomerate and one of the largest corporate headquarters in the world. The 42-month project addressed the risk issues for the more than 21 million-square-foot headquarters and offered a multi-level integrated and interdependent security program that incorporated architecture, technology, and operations in order to be prepared for future uncertainties. Another project that I am working on is the forthcoming security guideline, which will be administered by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitats for architects, developers, and owners. It is specifically geared toward helping them recognize, understand and proactively implement security controls early on in the design process.