Santhosh Kempaiah, Senior Manager–-Information Security, Volvo has gone against his parents’ wishes of joining the civil services, which shows his deep belief in IT. A biker at heart, Santosh is a self-inspired senior IT Manager
Santhosh Kempaiah derives inspiration from his team members. And that’s the motivating factor that propels him to go to work every day --the team gives him the flexibility and space to share his ideas. He says, “Today, the opportunity and liberty I have in this role--to explore and innovate in my expert areas of business--is immense. I must say I am very fortunate to work in such an energetic environment.”
His IT journey started right from his graduation days when the IT boom was in its nascent stages inIndia; and even before he decided to leap into a career in Commerce,Bangalorewas being branded the ‘SiliconCity.’ He went against the conventions of society, as his family wanted him to pursue the civil service exams.
He says, “My gut feel was that no other field could give me the exposure that IT could. I saw a future full of potential and unlimited creativity in this sector.” His gut feel paid dividends.
His stint at Thomson Reuters gave him vast exposure. He gained experience from end-user support to process transitioning, as well as data centre management and Information security. It opened the doors to great possibilities--he considers it to be the turning point in his career.
At Volvo, he plays a critical role in the Global IT Security team. He manages risk management, compliance, and awareness & training, and leads a team of security co-ordinators across the globe.
He also plays an important role in managing end to end security requirements which include implementing and managing group compliance, directives, and processes for entire APAC spanningIndia,China,Japan,South Korea,ThailandandIndonesia.
To keep pace with rapidly changing IT, he ensures he takes care of the business demands and keeps abreast with the latest trends in the industry.
Kempaiah says, “We have a very robust IT architecture team with strong processes and structure, which currently runs like a well-oiled engine, servicing new demands for services in the organisation.”
From the innovation perspective, his focus is on PPT (People, Process and Technology).
Volvo used to follow traditional ways of providing awareness sessions to its staff. Kempaiah brought in an innovation: “With the aim of increasing awareness on a monthly basis, the team worked on sharing monthly security tips that focused on one security related subject at a time. This simple change brought about remarkable awareness. We have rolled out 50 tips so far and see the demand expanding globally with other business areas and units now,” says Kempaiah.
He adds that “Edutainment” is another innovative engagement activity the team designed that fostered two way interaction. “This interaction with colleagues enhanced engagement and knowledge in security related activities.”
The biggest challenge he faced in his career was crisis management as most IT operations were carried out from APAC-supporting multiple countries; meticulous planning was employed to handle crises in identifying critical services, resources and backup sites along with defining roles and responsibilities in the crisis management team. This project took the team close to seven months to reap benefits. After all, mere creation of plans and processes was not enough; they had to be tested and updated on a regular basis.
He does not look up to any role model in the field of IT, as he considers himself as a combination of a thinker and an entrepreneur.
Other than IT, he loves photography, graphology (the study of handwriting), and the study of human behaviour. He loves bikes, and of course, Royal Enfield.
A dream that remains unfulfilled is to manage an end-to-end security function, to be on an advisory and compliance boards in setting up best practices in the industry. About Volvo, he says, “I am privileged to be a part of a truly global ‘Walk the Talk’ culture where respect for the individual tops all ways of working.”