Are we obsessed with security?

Are we obsessed with security?

Security has lately become my favorite topic. There are two main reasons to this. The first reason is that we live in very dangerous times, and across the world there is a sense of insecurity wherever you go. From concerts to schools, nowhere seems safe enough. Digital security threats are on the rise as well. Not a month goes by that we don’t hear about a big hacking operation that resulted in 1,000 people’s private information being sold or publicized. The second reason is one that can be considered as a reaction against the general feeling of insecurity, the unstoppable rise in the security business, be it physical or digital.

The Turkish security market was worth 12 billion Turkish Liras in 2016, and it is expected that the expansion in the market will be at a two-digit figure in the foreseeable future.

Security is a very interesting business in the sense that everybody wants the same thing: To be safe. But there are many different ways to protect something, some place or someone. Will there only be humans involved? Or will there be no humans in the solution? Would you be safer if there were thermal cameras? What about the latest technology of AI camera systems? Should there be an X-ray? Should you employ a robot? And so on… In the old times, more guards probably meant more security, but with the advances in technology, it is not anymore.

The companies that can merge enough technology and enough manpower to get the job done are the winners in our age. Securitas is one of the greatest security firms, and their motto is “Advancing security through new technology.” And they say this even though they employ a huge number of people. In their global organization that spans 53 countries, they employ more than 335,000 security personnel with a global revenue of 9.3 billion euros. There are 117,000 security personnel in Europe, and Turkey is the third one with 13,500 security personnel. They managed to grow their businesses by 21 percent in 2016 with 457 million liras. In fact, they have growing by 20 percent since 2007. The expectations are similar for 2017. Just these numbers should give you an insight into the security world and the answer to the question in the title. Yes, we are obsessed with security, for very good reasons and our appetites have not been fully satisfied yet. There is still room for immense growth.

I had the opportunity to have a face-to-face meeting with Securitas’ Turkey President Emir Murat Kösereisoğlu and Europe security services Divisional President Magnus Ahlqvist.

Kösereisoğlu told me they are investing both in technology and manpower, as they are interconnected with any type of security solution. In 2017, they will be investing 5 million liras in security and 3 million liras in human resources. On the other hand, Ahlqvist underlined that real security is only achieved if the problem is tackled with a 360-degree approach that uses every tool necessary because even if you employ the newest technologies, if there is a loophole that you miss, your security will be defeasible.

From our talk I got the sense that technological advancements present both opportunities and challenges to security firms. For example, Securitas can use drones to enhance security at necessary sites but the very same sites can be attacked by drones as well. The same applies for robots. So the fight for mankind to stay safe is nowhere near over even after 1,000 years. The need prevails, technology advances and we are still obsessed with security, and will likely remain for a few more millennia.

Ersu Ablak, hdn, opinion