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40 under 40: Michael Amaro, Sentinel Consulting

40 under 40: Michael Amaro, Sentinel Consulting

40 under 40: Michael Amaro, Sentinel Consulting

Michael Amaro is very much hands-on in his role as director of security engineering at Sentinel Consulting in New York City.

Amaro is responsible for the design and expression of the diverse security technologies that serve as key elements to Sentinel projects.

“This includes the creation of specifications, construction drawings, renderings, system design, device placement and coordination, and installation details,” he explained. “Additionally, I am responsible for training for junior employees and providing peer reviews of work product.” 

Amaro, 38, has been at Sentinel for just under three years. Overall, he has been in the industry for over 10 years working as security engineering/project management working in multiple verticals and on project teams of all sizes.

He explained how he broke into the security industry.

“I think like a portion of the industry, I kind of fell into it,” Amaro said. “A good friend of mine knew I wasn’t happy at my previous position, and the security engineer position opened up at his firm, so I jumped at it.  We had always wanted to work together, and I was looking to do something more rewarding and fulfilling, so here we are.”

Emerging Trends

Amaro cited an interest in analytics as one of the top trends in the security industry today.

“For analytics, it’s more than just facial recognition,” he pointed out. “We are seeing more calls for analytics like que monitoring and packages left behind where we can provide the client with a much better response to potential threats. Using these analytics to automate the alarm and response process is helping clients become more efficient and allows them to utilize a more mobile approach to their security plan. This has proven most beneficial for clients who don’t have a full-time operations center.” 

Cybersecurity is another emerging trend, Amaro noted.

“Given the current climate, cyber is always on the minds of our clients,” he said. “Advancements with monitoring software and better awareness has helped drive this to be one of the key elements of any project we have where we drive the network implementation.  We encourage implementing good policy at a minimum not only at the network level disabling ports etc., but at the end device level with good password management and disabling of functions and features that aren’t needed. 

“We have also been exploring the use of IDS/IPS [Intrusion Detection Systems/Intrusion Prevention Systems] software and other tools as another layer for our clients that have standalone security network where their IT [information technology] team would not provide this type of support.”

Edge-Based Analytics

Amaro discussed how the move to more edge-based analytics is one of the most exciting new security technologies in the industry.

“Most of our clients want analytics, whether they really need it or not,” he said. “It always comes down to cost.  Most server-side analytics not only have a heavy cost in the server infrastructure, but also on the licensing side. It also has a tendency to get overcomplicated as you have almost too many options. Moving this out to the edge allows you to leverage the processing power of the onboard chipset to provide specific analytics at a much lower cost. In most cases these are included as part of the camera price. This also simplifies the implementation and the use case for the analytic.” 

The emergence of edge device monitoring is another new trend that Amaro highlighted.

“I know it’s not directly security related, but being able to monitor the health and status of edge devices will be a maintenance game changer, allowing you the ability to use smart analytics to alert when PMs [project managers] are needed, automatically create work tickets, automate upgrades and password changes, and just provide an overall piece of mind for the stability of the overall system,” he explained.


In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, flexibility is key in the security industry, according to Amaro.

 “You have to be flexible,” he said. “A lot of what we do requires us to be onsite and present.  You can only do so much virtually, so we ensure team members have proper PPE [personal protection equipment]. We’re also ensuring there are plans in place to protect your people as best you can.  We have been coordinating all travel amongst team members to ensure proper overlap should there be quarantine issues, etc.  We’re constantly monitoring numbers and state requirements.  We also keep a very open dialog with our customers to ensure they understand our process and we also understands theirs to make sure they mesh effectively.”

Earlier Involvement

Amaro cited the need to have more involvement at an earlier level in order to get more talented, diverse young people involved in the security industry.

“The programs developed by a lot of the big organizations have been great, but most of these are for people already in the industry,” he noted. “I think development at the education level will greatly benefit the industry as a whole. With the current fast-paced construction environment, it’s getting increasingly difficult to train on the job. Developing programs at the vocational level for technicians and project managers will help fill a void in desperate need of talent. 

“I personally would like to see more involvement at the collegiate level for security design. Some electrical programs have evolved into network specific programs this could also be done with security engineering perhaps as a minor to an electrical or computer engineering degree.”

Moving Into the Cloud

The next logical step in the security industry is to move services into the cloud, Amaro stated.

“I know it’s not the most popular concept in the industry currently, but moving services into the cloud I think is the next logical step,” he pointed out. “Cloud has taken over a large portion of the IT space and it’s only a matter of time until the security industry follows suit.  Cloud-based solutions would actually be very beneficial for the commercial/industrial client base.

“The biggest issue we see for any migration project was that the system was rarely updated if ever, essentially wasting your investment.  Moving this to the cloud allows for the manufacturer, or most manufacturers, to apply updates and patches, new features, etc.  This allows the end user to maximize that investment.  You can also lower your initial cost investment and, in some cases, decrease TCO [total cost of ownership] over the life of the project by eliminating server hardware, rack space requirements, etc.”


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