GWSB Alumnus Takes Risks at PlanetRisk

In the fast growing fields of Information Technology and Consulting, one firm pushes itself above the rest. And Abdul Omar, GWSB MSF ’00, CFO of PlanetRisk, is ready to take the company even further.

PlanetRisk, which operates in both the public and private sector, works to mitigate potential risks their clients could face and provide information on the company’s situational awareness or corporate security. The primary goal of the firm is to assess its client’s current data and provide any feedback that could improve how the company operates.

“Our clients are looking for us to make sense of the data and provide them the insights, risk assessment, indicators and warnings to their business, operations or markets,” says Abdul. “A consistent theme is the desire for early warning and avoidance of surprise. Nobody likes being caught off guard, but for security practitioners, the stakes are particularly high.”

On top of providing their clients with structured and unstructured data on the inter-workings of the company, PlanetRisk sets itself apart by providing their clients with geospatial big data, meaning they provide maps and visual elements for better comprehension.

“We can actually do situational awareness for the customer and show you on the map how things are moving or where things are from a threat or an issues perspective,” says Abdul, of the geospatial technology.

“One of our large contracts is with the U.S. Army, where we provide actionable intelligence to them through fusing large amounts of complex data for better risk management around their infrastructure and locations … so anywhere of interest, we can put it on a map and push data to our customers,” says Abdul.

This data allows the customers to find and explore and connections or patterns they find, making their company stronger through change in their systems, day-to-day operations, or management. PlanetRisk’s own algorithms and commitment to big data

puts the company in position to experience major growth, both organically and through acquisitions.

It is these technologies that Abdul found most intriguing about PlanetRisk. Having joined the company this past February, Abdul’s main objective is looking after the financial health of the company. He gives credit to the Master of Science in Finance program for providing him with the necessary skills to navigate the rapidly growing and changing markets that PlanetRisk boasts expertise in.

“My goal was to be part of a focused program and the MSF provides that learning environment,” says Abdul, who grew up in the D.C. area and went to George Mason University for his undergraduate degree. “All the faculty in the program were very impressive, but Dr. George Jabbour and his efforts in building and maintaining this very competitive and valuable program is perhaps the most notable individual.”

“It was a challenging program and looking back I’m glad I survived it,” he says with a laugh. “I spent a lot time in the labs and a lot of time with my colleagues in my cohort … I met a lot of good people, really top notch people who cater to the field—it feeds directly into what we’re doing now.”

Abdul also notes the importance of being based in the District of Columbia, as the biggest IT consumer in the world is the U.S. government.

“A lot of good technologies that are used by government contractors are spun off,” says Abdul. “It’s good to have a big funding source for these interesting projects and contracts that end up being cool commercial products. And there’s a lot of talented folks around here.”

As PlanetRisk grows, Abdul looks toward the future of the company, its growing capabilities, and its growing list of customers. “PlanetRisk is in a perfect position to continue its growth and exploit this market through its big data capabilities,” says Abdul. “We would like to be the dominant player in providing our customers the necessary insights into the risks and opportunities in their domain through the use of cutting-edge technologies.”

“The company has been around for a while now and we continue to invest in new technology new developers new talents new software,” says Abdul. “The rewarding part of being part of PlanetRisk is to be in the forefront of the predictive analytics technology and be a trusted partner to our customers.”—Kelly Danver

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