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Security offers a marketing advantage for ADP

Maria Korolov | Feb. 26, 2015
One of the main topics at this year's CSO50 conference is how security departments could reinvent themselves as business enablers.

Ford has personally attended more than a dozen meetings with major clients. And when she or one of the colleagues can't make a meeting, her department can provide executive summaries for the clients about the controls that are in place to protect their data.

Daniel Sanchez, the program's compliance and continuity manager, also sits on client meetings.

"Between myself and another colleague, maybe we've been involved in 15 to 20 deals," he said. "Sometimes we just send by email our brochures, sometimes there are calls because they need more information. It depends on how much the client needs to know about the program."

Sanches is part of ADP's global security organization, and helped start the Streamline project together with Xavier Macarrilla, ADP's business security officer for multi-national corporations. On the business side, global network director Ian Sparrow and Digna Penha, who is responsible for client experience and continuous improvement, also helped launch and maintain the Streamline project.

One thing that ADP does not disclose is any specifics of the audits, such as areas where individual partners will be needing remediation.

"We cannot disclose the results," Sanchez said. "It's is ADP confidential. We are the ones managing the risks, so we do not disclose any specific risks that our partners may have."

But ADP can talk about how the Streamline program works, said Ford.

"They want to know how our framework is structured," she said. "Do we just assess and leave it?"

Clients particularly appreciate that there's continuous monitoring and oversight, she said.

The continuous monitoring even extends to subcontractors and applications that the partners use. ADP has to individually approve each new vendor and application that its Streamline partners use if they touch on the payroll management process.

Vendors aren't always ready and eager to transform their operations, submit to comprehensive assessments, and comply with ongoing monitoring requirements.

Typically, the heavier the requirements, the harder it is to get vendors on board.

Unexpectedly, Ford said, there was no pushback from the partners in the Streamline program.

"I was very surprised," she said. "But as a matter of fact, they wanted to partner with ADP, and they wanted to keep clients happy. They see the relationship as a real partnership. 'Tell us what we can do better.'"

And if there was a particular requirement that a partner couldn't meet?

"We would work with them to remediate," Ford said. "Or we would find compensating controls that they can put in place in the interim."

As for ADP, so for its its partners — security became a selling point, a competitive marketing advantage.

The Streamline project demonstrates that security and compliance don't have to be a hammer, Ford said.


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