Department Profile: Kerry Rydman, Information Technology Manager

Data protection is huge. Gargantuan, in both task and importance. Hackers are simultaneously slipping their dastardly devices into everything from insurance companies to gas pumps to steal your Personal Identifying Information (PII). Or, lone wolfs like Edward Snowden are acting on their own volition to infiltrate sources and do God-knows-what with the data.

Active Screening deals with data on a daily basis. It’s the basis for conducting best-in-class background checks. But we are 100% committed to protecting your PII and have implemented industry-leading solutions to ensure our client’s online privacy, domestically and overseas.

The man behind the most recent strategies Active Screening employees is Kerry Rydman, Information Technology Manager. In our continuing Department Profile series, we sat down with Kerry to learn more about his team’s efforts in the ever-changing world of data protection.

Active Screening: How did you get started in the background screening industry? What’s your degree in and how did your work experience lead you to this career? How long have you worked at AS?

Kerry: I have worked at Active Screening for one year. I have been in the IT field for more than 15 years. I have filled the duties as a System Administrator, IT Manager, IT Director, as well as run my own IT Support business. I am a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and I hold certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and others.

AS: What does a manager of Information Technology do? What are your roles and responsibilities? How has this changed in the year you’ve been at Active Screening?

Kerry: My roles and responsibilities are numerous and varied. I am tasked with the IT Infrastructure here at Active Screening. I would say my greatest tasks are security and uptime. We must maintain the most secure environment possible while maintaining the best uptime, and to date, we have done that very well with a nearly 100% uptime. My team is small and highly skilled. We cover both Microsoft and Linux environments, local and cloud. I am also responsible for the normal stuff, like budgeting, future proofing, and other daily necessities.

Active Screening: What is the most interesting aspect of your job? Most difficult? Most exciting?

Kerry: All aspects of my job are interesting and rewarding. I love to come to work! My idea of a well-run IT department is to have to look for stuff to do. I take a very proactive stance toward everything IT related. We don’t like firefighting!

As for the most challenging part, that would be security. It can be very challenging to reach a very high level of security and accountability while maintaining usability. We always seek the best balance possible between securing our customers and supporting our customers.

Active Screening: We write a lot on ActiveCare about protecting Personal Identifying Information and other critical data when performing background checks and assisting candidates through the job application process. What are the biggest challenges to this in 2015? How has this changed since you started in IT? What are some upcoming trends or security measures that might enhance your ability to protect PII in the future?

Kerry: Personal Identifying Information and Payment Card Industry are two very complex topics. To be clear up front, we do NOT disclNAPBS-accredited-Newsose our security methods and practices to the public. We DO open our systems to appropriate auditing, from proper personnel. Most recently we did this for the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) who require an on-site audit prior to becoming accredited.

The biggest challenges to securing PII/PCI in the IT industry are cost. A great deal of money must be invested on a regular basis to accomplish this goal, from Service Organization Controls (SOC) compliant data centers, to coding security measures directly into an application, to maintaining a highly skilled staff, all of which are very expensive. I consider myself fortunate to be part of an organization that understands these facts.

The best defense has always been, and still is, educating your employees and customers on the challenges of social engineering, embracing the concepts of Defense in Depth (layered security) at every level possible, then constant monitoring and vigilance by highly skilled staff.

Active Screening: In 2015 we’re focusing a lot on volunteer screening and how Active Screening is helping making that easier for clients. What do you think is the most important thing for volunteer-based organizations to know about volunteer screening and the platforms Active Screening has developed to help them implement this? I’m specifically wondering if volunteer-based organizations and/or non-profits often don’t have the funds or don’t have the staff to implement true IT security. How has Active Screening helped them overcome this challenge?

Kerry: Most organizations don’t have the fiscal ability to afford highly skilled IT staff. Someone who is “good with computers” is NOT good enough! The best thing the volunteer-based organization can do is form strategic alliances with those companies who do! These alliances should be budget conscious but not budget driven.

Get the best partners you can find, that’s what we do! Serve your customers, and yes, volunteers are customers, too.

Thanks, Kerry! We appreciate all the hard work you and your team to protect us and our clients. To catch up on our other Department Profiles, click on these links:

Department Profile: Travis Del Rosal, Research Manager

Compliance 101 with Benton Mobley, Director of Compliance

Who else would you like to hear from? Shoot us a comment below!

This entry was posted in Applicant-Entry Solutions, Background Screening, Global Solutions, Human Resources, Identity & Credit, Industry Solutions, News and tagged , , , , , , , , , , by Patricia Carlson. Bookmark the permalink.

Patricia Carlson is a content writer who specializes in B2C and B2B inbound marketing. She blogs regularly for clients about the background screening and finance industries, and generates newsletters, white papers and email campaigns for a variety of businesses. Patricia also produces a heavy rotation of editorial material for home design, law enforcement, and family magazines. She’s been writing professionally for more than a dozen years, and for Active Screening for more than two of those. Check out LinkedIn for a roster of Patricia's clients and links to published works. When she’s not interviewing sources or researching trends, she’s living a fast-paced Florida life questioning the antics of her two young children, partner and mischievous cat. Patricia loves to talk tennis and TV on Twitter - give her a shout @pattycfreelance.
Active ScreeningBarbara S.
Healthcare Industry

"Here at Holland Hospital, we have been extremely pleased with Active Screening. The report results come back quickly, usually within 24 hours or less.  The staff at Active Screening is easy accessible, knowledgeable and responds to our questions promptly."

Active ScreeningLynn C. Staffing Industry

"Benton Mobley has been and remains my Main point of contact at Active Screening from the beginning; so aside from the comfort of dealing with the same person all these years, there is the most important fact of all;  customer satisfaction. Benton knows the business like the back of his hand; and that is what we need in our fast paced industry of staffing. He is the all-time BEST!  MY employer, Leslie, believes in the notion that great service deserves to be rewarded, so we are here for the duration.We get immediate and personalized attention for any and all concerns we need addressed, and in the staffing industry, this is vital."

Active ScreeningCayce R. Education Industry

"My experience working with Active Screening for our background check process has been very positive.  The reports are almost always completed in a very timely fashion. The information reported appears to be very thorough and accurate.  On the rare occasions that we have questions or problems, the customer service team is always very quick to respond and resolve the issue.  Overall, I am very pleased with the service I receive from Active Screening."

Active ScreeningCraig H. Staffing Industry

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"I wanted to thank you and your staff for being so patient and working so diligently with the Human Resources staff during our recent endeavor to process all of our work study students through background screenings.  We have never had to process so many requests within such a short period of time before, but thanks to you and your staff we made it. Again thank you, we made a good choice in selecting Active Screening."

Active ScreeningLindsey W.  Financial Industry

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Active ScreeningYulesis D.  Staffing Industry

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With over 20 years of law enforcement experience I can attest to the fact that the strongest predictor of future criminal behavior is a person’s criminal history. As the manager of campus safety at my church, I depend on Active Screening to provide a thorough assessment of every criminal history background check we request. For more than 3 years, Active Screening has been faithful to this task with timely, accurate and reliable service.

Active Screening

We have benefited from knowing that we are not exposing the communities we work with or ourselves to unnecessary risk. We continue to have a perfect record in that we have never had a serious incident with a trip participant causing harm or acting inappropriately with any community member or fellow team member- thank goodness!

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I would highly recommend any association or organization who conducts background checks to use Active Screening. In addition to my involvement with WAHA, I am an officer in a corporation with over 500 employees who provide treatment, mental health, and correctional services for children and adolescents. Our company is mandated by law to do comprehensive background searches and I can say with the utmost sincerity that Active Screening product rivals that of any government or other private sector process.

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