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Evolution of the CSO

Evolution of the CSO

David Kent's experience at biotech firm Genzyme is familiar at organizations around the world that have decided to place a top security officer.

"You have got to develop a cohesive, understandable, clear strategy for how you are spending the company's money and what risks you are addressing as a result of that spend," says Williams. "The pressure will now be on the ability to logically and cohesively defend and advocate for dollars. It is a critical skill set we better have, or we are in trouble."

And for those who do have the necessary skills? A walk through the halls of Genzyme today might offer a glimpse. CSO toured the facility recently and had a chance to see Kent's state-of-the-art program that approaches security with an "all-hazards" view of risk. It includes an impressive monitoring room where staff members assess potential real-time risks to the company, looking at data from all over the world.

Such an all-encompassing view isn't confined to a basement operations center. Earlier this year, Genzyme combined security, risk management, competitive and technical intelligence under a single purview and changed Kent's title to vice president of global risk and business resources. Vastly different from his early days with the company as a security professional brought in to react to a negative event, Kent now takes a seat at the table with other executives in the company to discuss security strategy and risk assessment.

He is optimistic that this group will prove not merely reactive, but will grow in its ability to provide business intelligence.

"We are leveraging obvious synergies between the groups," says Kent. "The interesting work, though, will be discovering new connections and building the resulting services that we don't know about today."

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