You probably hear often about how organizations invest in technologies and contractors — all in hopes of bolstering protection of their critical assets. This can be costly and may not bring about desired results. I am excited to tell you that there’s a better way: starting with your internal resources. All that’s required is a slight pivot in thinking about protection, a bit of time to determine how to best optimize internal resources, and then some persistence with execution of your plan.

1. Know Microsoft Excel?

When you have a moment, open a new spreadsheet in Excel and create a…


In September of 1993, with my arrival in New York from Moscow, one thing was crystal clear — the “comfort zone” was gone once and for all. It dawned on me what a true blessing it was — this loss of comfort — only about two decades later. In 1993, everything was an uphill battle.

With barely any English, zero maturity, and a wardrobe from the Soviet days, my first work opportunity was with a group of opinionated and direct New Yorkers. Boy did they offer me a very immersive experience. …


“I have over 20 years of experience…”. “I’m an expert in…”. “Thought leader…”. “Evangelist…”. “Senior industry executive…”.

Psychologists have long ago suggested that “expertise” is quite overrated and is often subject to biases from those who claim to be and those who perceive others as experts. It is important to at least consider this. It also seems that the metrics we have been using to bestow the “expert” title on someone have not been right. Often a person is considered an expert just by virtue of association with a specific organization, or a title they have, or because of circles…


“The industry had developed standards, guidelines, and certifications. This presented me with a caveat of new practices, terminology, and skill set I did not currently possess. I had to acclimate myself to a new profession with no ramp up time and very little guidance.” Michael S. D’Angelo, CPP (author of “From Police to Security Professional: A Guide to Successful Career Transition”, CRC Press, 2015; excerpt retrieved from www.leadersexcellence.com).

This is an unusual piece for me because my focus is to write about the future of our industry and how to improve it. …


“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence — it is to act with yesterday’s logic.”
– Peter Drucker

As I observe the asset protection industry, the question of professional standards and practices is often on my mind. More specifically, I think about key drivers for further development of such standards and practices because there’s a lot of chatter in professional circles on needing to evolve, but no meaningful work on ways of doing it while we continue to see more recurring incidents with increasing scale.

Firstly, let’s consider the current state in our industry. …


Leonardo Da Vinci is probably the world’s most famous polymath

Studying at John Jay College of Criminal Justice was a tremendous experience for me for many reasons. I was a newly minted immigrant with beginner’s English and a mind ready for exploration. Though I declared my major — Criminal Justice — early on, what startled me in my first semester was an option to take a Speech course. I was lucky to have signed up. Our instructor was an actress with an impressive film and TV career. One of the first things she did for me was to put me in front of the whole class (aaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!) and point out…


She reminded me recently of this word — a label used today for being pretentiously hyper-sensitive about social issues, injustice, and the need for political correctness. I was so glad to have heard it again because I forgot to write a piece on how damaging any label can be — especially in asset protection. In fact, this may be one of the reasons why our industry is lacking diversity and is so desperately disorganized. We just like to label everything without understanding the substance and nuances; without assuming positive intent; being unkind to each other. It doesn’t take a huge…


This has to be done. We need a CAPO — Chief Asset Protection Officer — to unify protection of all assets in an organization.

Allow me to explain.

Assets exist in three domains:

  • Physical (humans, buildings, land pieces, printed information, and other tangibles)
  • Digital (data)
  • Mental (information stored in human brains)

If you don’t agree with this structure, I’d love to understand your perspective.

If you do agree, I have a question for you: why should protection of assets be fragmented in today’s world and the world we can foresee? Today, organizations have senior practitioners who are knowledgeable about and…


The more I interact with clients, the more I hear how they want to rely on asset protection technologies. They want automated access control, video surveillance, intercoms, intrusion detection, threat intel, and many other systems. What they soon realize is that each of the aforementioned systems comes with its own user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). While limited logical interfaces have been developed, none of the UIs are designed with operators in mind. NONE! All this while edge devices and signal data are becoming very sophisticated and potentially very useful.

Let’s take video surveillance for example. A video signal…


I don’t see much talk in our industry about work-life balance and, most importantly, prioritizing LIFE over work. What helped me finally understand this was a business trip which I scheduled on my wife’s birthday (it was a workday) without checking with her first. I’d just thought that we’d celebrate over the coming weekend — as we normally do — and I’d have returned by then. After many years she still occasionally reminds me about this “mishap”. Worse yet, nothing can undo this. She’s never been terribly mad about it; but I’m burning up inside every time it comes up…

Ilya Umanskiy

Helping people, systems, and processes soar above mediocrity in asset protection.

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