Ken Elliott worked in the security industry for 25 years before joining Security 101 as owner of their New York office. Here, Ken shares (with pride) his new company, the cutting-edge services they provide, how security services are moving to the cloud and how he helps his clients’ bottom lines. As owner of Security101 New York, “when I’m with a customer, I always want to give them something and know I’ve done a good job. It’s all about building customers.”
Do you come from a security background?
I was involved in high-end retail, bodyguard work, internal investigations and asset protection. I’ve done that for 25 years. It was time for me to open up to something new and work directly for myself.
How did you discover Security101’s franchise?
I just happened to come across their website and I liked what I saw. It clicked immediately. They’re technology based, and they’re on the cutting edge. I wanted to be also. I flew down and met with their CEO. We had a great meeting and got along well.
Who are Security101’s main clients?
It is a national company, so we deal with many different clients. The New York office increases our service coverage in the New York area, adding to our New Jersey and Connecticut offices. We’re just expanding. One great thing about being with Security101 is that we’re national. Many of our clients have a base in New York City, but they also have branches in Atlanta, or Florida and other states. We can service them there with the same detail as in New York.
Our niche is really medium to large businesses. We do a lot of work in health care, property management, and even the transportation industry.
What services do you provide?
We do access control, surveillance networks, and cloud-based solutions. IT is really big.
What distinguishes your service from your competition’s?
Definitely our service. We believe in customer service, 100%. That’s what we really try to shine on. We have access to all the current technology, but really, our customer service is head and shoulders above the rest.
Another thing that makes us different than other companies is that we’re a national company, but we have local ownership. If you’re in New York and you call me, you’re speaking with the owner. When you need to speak to the guy with the last decision, that would be me. The other national companies, you don’t have that with them. No one has more vested interest in what happens [with a company] than the owner. That’s one of the strengths of Security101: A local person owns the company, and he wants to make you happy.
Can you elaborate on that?
Sure. After you put in a security system, what happens then? If there’s problem or you need further training, that’s where we show ourselves to be different. We back up our installs. We offer a five-year warranty. That’s huge. So that way, if you have a budget, you know that you won’t need to spend anything else on your system to service it. If anything breaks, we’ll be there.
How does Security 101 stay current with technology?
We provide both single-site systems and enterprise-level solutions. To do this well, we work closely with the major manufacturers in the industry, continuously training our employees and serving on advisory boards.
We have great relationships with the people who produce our technology. We’re right there when they’re developing it; we’re partners with them. They need qualified people to put their products in the market. Right now, the products that are out there really help us—being IT- and cloud-based, it improves on the former generation. The customer’s not relying on a computer from a set location. They can access it from anywhere. They don’t have to worry about anything crashing. Everything’s right there with them.
How is security technology evolving?
The things we have now are amazing. We have cameras that are located very far away but can detect motion in a very small area. But cloud-based technology is really where it’s innovative. In the cloud, you’re not tied down to a specific machine. So even if someone can access your company’s physical location, they can’t get your information. You can control it from wherever you are. If you can be across the world and access all your information, that helps you work smarter.
Things I didn’t even comprehend five years ago, we’re widely doing now. We have intelligent cameras, for example: If I’m in a room full of people, and I walk over and pick up a cup, the camera notices that I picked up that cup, even with a thousand people in the room. The technology is getting smarter and smarter, but there ideally isn’t a limit. In fact, the security world and the IT world—they’re getting blended these days. Before, I was usually talking to the head of security. Now I’m talking more and more to the IT director. That shows you where the technology is going.
Will the general public need to address being more heavily monitored?
I’m looking at it as spaces becoming more monitored, not people. In a park and such, it’s not the person, it’s the space being monitored. The world we live in today, it’s becoming more and more of a necessity. Especially in places like schools and universities, where you have to know where people are going in and out.
As to where the security industry is going, today, we have IT-based networks and cloud-based solutions, and I find that more companies are wanting these services. When you do business on the cloud, you actually reduce costs. That’s a big deal. Being on the cloud, you don’t have to buy a computer from me. There’s no software from me. It improves your bottom line and productivity. Your machine can’t crash. It can’t be stolen. You can access it from anywhere in the world. Today’s technology is really making things more cost-effective and improving performance a great deal.
That’s some of the things I’m happy to provide, knowing my services can cut costs. When I get in to build a system, my objective is to give the customer what they really need. That’s one of the things that makes us different. When I’m with a customer, I don’t want to make a lot of money here, while later on, they won’t be happy. I always want to give them something, know I’ve done a good job. It’s all about building customers. I want to be that person that they can always go back to for solutions. If they have questions, I can help them with it. I’m not just there to sell them something. I’m there to consult with them.
What do you love most about the work you’re doing?
The work is technology based, so it’s constantly changing. What we were doing five years ago—we’re a lot more advanced now. Constant evolution keeps it exciting.