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Security in TEM: An Interview with the New Calero-MDSL VP of Information Security & Compliance, Robert Block

Nov 23, 2021

With a background in IT, and experience in healthcare and financial industries, Robert (B.J.) Block brings a wealth of experience to lead the evolution of our global security posture at Calero-MDSL – to protect our informational assets and continue to extend our lead as the most secure global partner in the industry.
What makes security and compliance so essential in the TEM space specifically?

Our focus at Calero-MDSL is to build trust and a strong working relationship with our customers. To do this, we must protect not only our data, but their data as well. We work tirelessly to ensure that we are aligned with what types of data our clients consider to be sensitive (even outside of categories of finance). There are also different ways to protect data, so we stay on top of the "what ifs" to deliver on client expectations.

How we work together to define sensitive data, alongside different forms of technology, is something that we achieve in the integration process. Adaptability is critical for our industry, especially when the depth of integration is required at an intense level. Calero-MDSL is an extension of our customers' business, so our key to success is their success.

What do you see as the biggest concerns for security and compliance in our industry?

We have seen trends of hackers, data miners, etc. going after outside industries that house sensitive data indirectly. At Calero-MDSL, we work with many data sensitive industries such as finance and healthcare. These industries have been facing these types of attacks for years, and they've become great at defending against them. However, with the trend shifting towards organizations like us, and using different types of attacks, like ransomware, we need to be extra vigilant in our protection of that data. If there is a trace of an indirect route, all parties need to be prepared and think ahead.

Our approach to staying on top is setting our own compliance standards high. TEM is not a regulated industry, meaning we've had to set our own best practices to establish the market benchmark. With the volumes of data assigned to Calero-MDSL from enterprises around the globe, we have different standards to meet, and we intentionally set the bar high within our company to avoid any discrepancies.

Keeping open communication, especially because security in tech can change so fast, is extremely important. These practices and our overall approach help Calero-MDSL take the lead in the market.

How has information security changed in the past year?

Circling back to ransomware, these attacks pose a major threat. Instead of traditional malware that steals data, ransomware holds data hostage until you pay that ransom to get it back. When data is hostage, is becomes encrypted and entirely unusable. The only way to get your data back is to either restore from a previous backup or simply pay the ransom to gain the key to unencrypt your data.

In addition to the rise of these attacks, the entire work environment has changed since the pandemic. Many companies still have employees that either work hybrid or work from home. Devices and licenses are all over the place for many large enterprises, leaving potential gaps from a security standpoint. Security controls and systems often have had to be changed on demand, forcing all types of organizations to be agile.

How do you continue to evolve and change security and compliance with a TEM company?

To evolve, you must stay current with the ever-changing threats to your organization. This means proactively understanding the threats that you could potentially face and creating security controls to protect the company. My approach is to look at the industry broadly by monitoring emerging threats through news, conferences, etc. 

Because Calero-MDSL works with some of the biggest global enterprises in the world, these enterprises are drivers in their industries. It's an absolute pleasure working with so many different types of organizations since it truly is a learning experience and provides insight to different trends and concerns. Working together with customers to set expectations and have open communication helps both parties establish what these threats look like.

The evolution of security and compliance also involves expanding our defense in depth (and layers). We cannot rely on one control to protect data - we need to have various walls in place to succeed. These additional "walls" are already in place, but they need to continue to change and grow as threats change.

What are your goals for your new role?

To build on the great work that has already been accomplished and have Calero-MDSL become the leader in security. We want to be not only the TEM industry leader, but the most trusted partner as well.

Written by Stephanie O'Malley

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