Kofax CIO: Security should be a ‘top priority’ for remote workforces

11 Dec 2020

Steven Porter, Kofax. Image: Vin Weathermon

Kofax CIO Steven Porter talks about his company’s digital transformation plans and why businesses with large mobile workforces need to think about security.

As we edge closer to the end of 2020, many companies are looking to the future and trying to figure out what they need to think about next year.

The continuing uncertainty means that many have committed to keeping their workforce remote for at least some of 2021, while others plan to adopt a hybrid way of working on a more permanent basis. But for massive changes to workflows, secure systems need to be considered and put in place.

Kofax is an AI company that supplies automation software for digital workflow transformation. Ensuring there is digital transformation within the company itself is the job of chief information officer Steven Porter.

‘Mobility and intelligent automation will be high on our agenda for the next wave of improvements’

Porter has been with the company for more than a decade, having previously worked for Iona Technologies, Ascential Software and IBM.

Here, he discusses his role at Kofax, moving to the cloud, having solid access to critical systems while working remotely and the security implications that come with that shift.

What do you do at Kofax?

I’m currently heading IT, facilities, purchasing, manufacturing and security. I treat all my departments as one. There’s clear synergy in doing this as the dependencies between them are significant and, if well executed, has a major cost-saving benefit as well as efficient control of overlapping projects.

With the major projects currently underway, we are focusing on more automation and unified access to data. Empowering the business is a key goal to ensure they use accurate information provided with the ability to massage that data to provide effective reporting for the various functional heads.

In the past, functions built their own siloes of data and this never matched the official records, creating confusion and lots of effort for management to understand the state-of-play in the business.

Are you spearheading any major product or IT initiatives you can tell us about?

There are two major projects under way. First, the replacement of worldwide HR and payroll systems and, secondly, the final phase of our CRM/CPQ/ERP project. This was done over a two-year period with a significant acquisition added mid-way through the project.

How big is your team?

Our team consists of 49 permanent IT staff spread across the globe. We also use specialised consulting firms to provide managed services solutions for our specific applications including Salesforce, NetSuite and FinancialForce.

What are your thoughts on digital transformation and how are you addressing it?

At this point, the major projects we have underway are doing three things. First, we are replacing old systems with new and enhanced solutions that will offer many features and benefits over our current applications.

Second, we are using this as an opportunity to connect these new systems to each other. This allows for more automated data management with consolidated reporting.

Third, all of our new applications are now cloud-based. Moving away from traditional on-premises solutions has had a huge impact on our support services and provides a solid platform for employees to access their data 24/7.

Once all projects have been completed, we plan to review the infrastructure for additional enhancements to further strengthen the ability for management to drive the business forward. Mobility and intelligent automation will be high on our agenda for the next wave of improvements.

What big tech trends do you believe are changing the world and your industry specifically?

A big trend is the ability to be mobile with solid access to critical systems for staff to do their work no matter where they are. I think security in today’s times will become a top priority for companies who have a large mobile workforce.

In terms of security, what are your thoughts on how we can better protect data?

Security is taking on a more important role these days and the ability to monitor and stay ahead of any threats will be critical.

With a large number of the workforce connecting their corporate devices outside of the corporate secure network, we need solutions that’ll provide that same level of control and security away from the comfort of our big, secure networks.

Training and sticking to a recognised security methodology should become the norm for all corporations engaging in a significant workforce working away from the office.

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