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Security experts lock in round of start-up capital


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Security experts lock in round of start-up capital

  1. 1. Security experts lock in round of start-up capital - Houston Business Journal: Page 1 of 1 Members: Log in | Not Registered? Register for free extra services.Houston Business Journal - February 18, 2008/houston/stories/2008/02/18/story4.htmlFriday, February 15, 2008Security experts lock in round of start-up capitalHouston Business Journal - by Monica Perin Houston Business JournalA trio of security specialists is starting up a company in Houston with plans to field teams of trained agents to provide threat andrisk management and protection to high-level individuals and companies around the world.Alliance Group Research is jumping into a $14 billion global industry with a start-up investment of $23.6 million from a groupof international investors and clients. The company declines to identify its investors, saying only that they are "high net-worthindividuals and a couple of private corporations." Michael Stravato/HBJ From left: WolfgangAlliances principle partners are Ross Leo, former chief security architect for the Mission Control Center at the Johnson Space Ziegler, Ross Leo and Richard Cole ofCenter; Wolfgang Ziegler, a former special agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation; and Richard Cole, whose Alliance Group:background is in business management in the information systems sector. Cracking the funding code.Alliance has already signed cooperative agreements with the Houston Community College Systems Public Safety Institute to use View LargerHCCs law enforcement training facilities for its own training as well as to provide instruction for the college systems trainingprograms. Alliance also has a partnership with Virginia training company Insyte LLC.The company expects to hire, train and deploy 150 agents over the next 12 months, says H.B. Norris, vice president for planning.The partners have been working for a year to launch the company, with the idea of providing a range of services including high-level dignitaryprotection, global travel planning, kidnap and extortion countermeasures, corporate counter-espionage and protection of data and intellectualproperty.Leo sees Houston as a strategic location for Alliance."Houston is a city that has one of the most active ports in the world," deemed a critical infrastructure by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security,Leo says.And thats in addition to Houston being an energy center and being home to a host of companies that have operations in some of the most high-risklocations around the globe.But Leo points out that there is not much security training going on in Houston, and that the city has a low profile for security services, although thereis a fair amount of IT security work taking place locally.There is at least one other company in Houston providing services similar to those planned by Alliance: Secure Solutions International, amanagement consulting firm specializing in risk mitigation and security services to companies facing risks of terrorism, political instability, hostilecompetitors and other threats.High alertTodd Brown, director of the Overseas Security Advisory Council of the U.S. Department of State, said in a recently published report on security trendsthat U.S. businesses and other entities face growing security threats as they expand the scope of their international operations.In Asia, particularly India and China, the threat of fraud and theft of business and trade secrets against U.S. businesses "has increased exponentiallyin recent years," according to the OSAC analysis.In Europe, there has been "a steady increase in home-grown political radicalism," while in North Africa, terrorists pose a serious threat to Westerncompanies. And these threats now extend beyond oil companies to other Western economic and political targets, the OSAC report said."We are sinking a lot of resources into enterprise risk management -- identifying the risks to a particular enterprise and mitigating those risks," saysJim Loucks, Houston-based managing director of Aon Risk Services of Texas Inc., a division of Chicago-based global insurance firm Aon Corp.Insurers such as Aon, American International Group Inc. and The Chubb Corp., which insure global companies with extremely high risks, typicallycontract with specialized security firms to train their clients executives and other key employees in risk avoidance as well as how to respond when anincident such as a cyber attack or a kidnapping occurs.Indeed, in the case of Alliance, Leo and Ziegler hold various security and training certifications. For the last year, Leo has been a security instructorfor Vigilar Inc., an information security consulting firm with headquarters in Atlanta and, 713-395-9607All contents of this site © American City Business Journals Inc. All rights reserved. 5/19/2009