Voice of Experience: Eduard Telders, PEMCO Financial Services
Chief Security Officer
PEMCO Financial Services
Manager's Profile: Telders has served in various security roles in the banking and insurance industries since 1981. When he was taking the job at PEMCO 13 years ago, he wanted responsibility for both physical and electronic security of the company, and was designated "chief security officer."
His Responsibility: All aspects of security at the bank and insurance firm, which has more than $1.5 billion in assets. The company's security compliance officer (in charge of physical security management) reports directly to Telders, along with senior information security analysts, and the company's safety and security coordinator. He, in turn, reports to the chief technology officer.
Why a chief security officer? To Telders, it makes perfect sense to have one executive responsible for physical and electronic security, especially in the financial services sector. "The basic skill sets are the same, particularly when it comes to how you investigate an incident. The only difference is, you use a different set of wrenches depending on whether it involves computers or a physical breach," he says.
The political reality: Telders believes most companies recognize that having one executive in charge of all aspects of security is the smart way to go. However, he says, there are built-in barriers that often prevent executives from taking the step. "It's not based on whether it's a good idea or not, but over who is going to be in charge."
Why cost is a factor: "Physical security is often viewed as overhead at most companiesa straight costso there's a constant battle for resources" between a physical security department and information systems, he says.
When one head's better than two: Because he is able to see the bigger picture, Telders believes he can set better priorities than if two functions were divided. If funding is being cut, for example, he can ensure that the most important security issuebe it physical or electroniccontinues to get funded. If the departments were separated, he says it's likely the executives in charge would protect their own pet projects, rather than hand over funding to another department.