A Day in the Life

For Information Security Officer Bruce Coffing, the Work is Ever-Challenging "I wonder what it would be like to go home at 5 PM today?" says Bruce Coffing, an information security officer responsible for identity and access management at LaSalle Bank, a large Midwestern bank ($113 billion in assets) serving individuals and businesses with over 400 branch locations. He cannot recall the last time he actually left for home on time.

"A bank never sleeps, and the job never finishes" he says. Coffing's day starts with what transpired over the evening which for him is beyond normal work hours everyday. He usually gets in the office by 8:00 AM or earlier and leaves for the day between 8-10PM.

His day begins with email messages popping in his PDA in the wee hours of the morning- messages are from employees who want access to a particular application, or when they need requests from him regarding trouble ticketing system and more.

Coffing manages a team of 20 application and database professionals. His team's main responsibilities include providing secure, authenticated access to databases and applications. He says that he has yet to experience a "typical day" at work. Much of his time is spent on merger and acquisition activities (the bank was part of ABN AMRO, however, LaSalle was taken over on October 1st 2007 by Bank of America), on standard operations, resource management, general management activity and on educating and training the employees on access control topics and processes.

Two major challenges he faces: expectation management and employee/user education and training. In addition, the bank has a large number of resources that need to be accessed by a significant number of users. With so many resources being accessed, the following is some of the pain he and his team go through daily:

Operations: spending more and more time addressing password resets, reporting and following business workflow and security policies.
Resource provisioning: the need to be able to control who can access the information while following specific policy for access.

Coffing enjoys working with his team of qualified professionals, and hates that there are not enough hours in a day to get everything accomplished.

"In this position, when you do your job well, you aren't noticed," Coffing says. "However, it's only if you don't do your job well that you're noticed."

He likes to dedicate some of his time in process improvement and in making things more efficient for the end user. He is motivated by the very nature of his role- a situation where one can never put work behind. There is always something to do, and he hopes in some manner to makes things better.

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