New Security Industry Association (SIA) member ARES Security Corporation provides solutions that ensure homeland security and business continuity against an entire range of risks that jeopardize people, revenue and operations. ARES Security is headquartered in Vienna, Virginia, and has additional U.S. offices in Columbia, South Carolina, and Albuquerque, New Mexico.
SIA spoke with Ben Eazzetta, CEO of ARES Security, about the company, the security industry and working with SIA.
SIA: Tell us the story of your company.
Ben Eazzetta: ARES Security is proud to help save lives and improve security against violent threats such as active shooters for large corporations, government agencies and critical infrastructure. Our AVERT solution is a family of physical software products built to support the security and emergency management life cycle of Assess, Train and Respond.
Our flagship product is called AVERT Physical Security. It is the only product that can quantify security effectiveness and optimize security effectiveness and cost. In other words, it identifies the highest-performing security plans for the least amount of cost. AVERT Physical Security leverages powerful advanced technologies and techniques such as digital twins, modeling and simulation, big data analysis and soon-to-be-added artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities. The product is accredited by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and the U.S. Department of Energy and certified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under the SAFETY Act program.
Our history as a company dates back to 1999, when we began developing the AVERT risk assessment solution as ARES Corporation with the support of the DOD. Through the 2000s, AVERT was used to perform physical security assessments at many of the DOD’s most sensitive facilities. In October 2012, ARES Security Corporation was officially established as a stand-alone company to focus on delivering the AVERT solutions to our growing list of government and commercial clients. In 2013, ARES Security acquired a majority ownership interest in the Mariner Group, a company that provided advanced situational awareness solutions to the critical infrastructure sector, and fully acquired the company in 2016.
Over the past several years, we have grown our AVERT family of products to include solutions for training and response. Our training solution is designed to provide a more cost-effective and meaningful training experience for incident commanders using the Virtual Tabletop product and for responders using the Virtual Reality Training product. Our command and control solution is designed to provide security operations centers and response teams with a common operational picture and situational awareness platform to improve response and coordination during emergency situations.
Today ARES Security has about 45 employees and three offices throughout the U.S. that support product development, delivery, sales and support for our clients. Our clients include Fortune 100 corporations, mass transit agencies, 67 percent of the North American nuclear reactors, a third of the top-tier U.S. seaports, federal agencies and state and local law enforcement agencies.
In 2020, ARES Security has a lot to look forward to. We are most excited about new opportunities from strategic channel partners who are accelerating our go-to-market efforts and releasing the first version of our AVERT AI product, a first-of-its-kind real-time security decision support product powered by AVERT Physical Security.
What solutions/services does your business offer in the security industry? And what makes your offerings/company unique?
BE: The executive team at ARES Security has almost a hundred years of combined experience developing and deploying mission critical security and emergency management solutions. Our focus as a company is to develop only the very best technology that makes a huge difference in saving lives and protecting people and property. What we have built with AVERT is a one-of-a-kind solution that has transformed the way many companies, organizations and government agencies make decisions about risk, security planning, spending, training and operations.
Our unique AVERT approach begins with AVERT Physical Security, where we build a digital twin of a facility and simulate tens and hundreds of thousands of emergency situations. The results of each simulation are stored in a database, and comprehensive analysis reports are generated that quantify the results of each simulation and measure the security effectiveness as a whole. So instead of our clients having to rely on SME judgement to determine effectiveness, AVERT measures effectiveness for them. And rather than assess the effectiveness of a single element of the security plan, such as an access control system, cameras or a gunshot detection system, AVERT measures the effectiveness of the entire security plan, including the response elements, against a variety of threats.
When it comes to training, we take the same digital twin and emergency situations and response plans modeled into AVERT Physical Security and use it as the basis for the Virtual Tabletop product to exercise incident commanders’ ability to coordinate, communicate and manage incidents. The model is also used as the basis for an immersive Virtual Reality Training product that exercises a responder’s ability to react and follow tactics, techniques and procedures during incidents. So while some training exercises are too expensive and time consuming to perform on a regular basis, and others are unrealistic or don’t measure trainee performance, AVERT provides a training solution that is cost-effective, easy to deploy and use and based on the client’s own facility digital twins and validated emergency situations or threat scenarios and measures trainee performance.
For command and control, we take the lessons learned about the facility security plan through assessment and training and put the optimized CONOPS and response plans into a common operating picture situational awareness platform. The platform integrates security systems, sensors, alarms, communications, blue force tracks and other data feeds into a unified display. AVERT C2 streamlines workflows and response times by integrating previously siloed information and creating customized awareness dashboards that provide the right information to the right personnel at the right time.
ARES provides our clients with the software products described above and services such as implementation, configuration and integration services as well as hands-on training and support to enable them to use the products on their own.
What’s something we might not know about your company – or What is your company’s vision, and what are your goals for the security industry?
BE:Some in the security industry look at modeling and simulation as a new approach to physical security assessment. But ARES Security has been using modeling and simulation for physical security assessment since 1999. It is the de-facto standard for highly secure government facilities and commercial nuclear reactors and is quickly gaining widespread adoption by Fortune 100 corporations and critical infrastructure for its ability to optimize effectiveness and costs.
What is your company’s vision, and what are your goals for the security industry?
BE: Our vision is to bring our transformational approach to as many clients as possible and become the leading provider of advanced physical security software for assessment, training and response. Our near-term goal is to add AI and machine learning capabilities to the existing AVERT technology and create a powerful and one-of-a-kind real-time decision support product.
What do you think are the biggest opportunities in the security industry right now?
BE: The opportunity in the security industry right now is to use modeling and simulation to optimize the hundreds of billions of dollars a year spent annually on guard staffing and other security expenses. Organizations spend so much money on security without performing any cost benefit analysis. Our AVERT analysis has proven time and time again that organizations can save at the very least 10 percent on operational expenses like guard staffing and between 25 and 75 percent on planned capital expenses like security system or sensor projects.
What are your predictions for the security industry in the short and long term?
BE: We predict that automation and the use of robotic security response platforms will become much more prevalent and drive a demand for AI and machine learning-powered command and control systems with robust system integration capability.
What are the biggest challenges facing your company and/or others in the security industry?
BE: The biggest challenge we face as a company and as an industry is that we must maintain our fast pace of innovation and work swiftly in order to keep up with the increase in violent attacks on our businesses, schools and public places.
What do you enjoy most about being at your company – and in the security industry?
BE: The best part of ARES Security is our people. They are all very dedicated, hardworking and 100% committed to our mission of saving lives and protecting people and property.
What does SIA offer that is most important to you/your company? And what do you most hope to get out of your membership with SIA?
BE: ARES Security joined SIA because of its strong industry reputation, track record of high-caliber events such as ISC and Securing New Ground and community of other top-tier security companies and professionals.