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Faces of Nelnet: Matt Feichtner, Corporate Security

September 13, 2010

Interviewed by Dawn Knight, Western Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions 



Matt Feichtner, Information and Security Manager, Corporate Security

What are you most proud of with your department? 


Matt Feichtner: I am proud of the increased visibility of enhanced security throughout the organization.  We are focusing on educating people on why we do the things we do…and how what they (associates) do affects our security posture.  We want to make sure our associates understand the importance of security in our business.  People are the most important part of the security equation. Without their buy-in, the processes and technology we put in place decrease in effectiveness. 

What has been your biggest work related challenge during the past 12 months?  

Matt: The biggest challenge has been adapting to the changes in our industry from a governmental perspective.  It has increased our compliance burden and because of that we’ve been working to tailor our security controls to provide reasonable security while maintaining compliance.  We make the distinction of reasonable security because the controls are not put in place to keep the honest people honest, they are designed to thwart or curtail the potential negative activities of the few. 

If a school were to ask you what it is you do for Nelnet that impacts them, what would you say? 

Matt: We protect their students’ information.  We know how important that is to our school customers, because they are entrusting Nelnet with confidential information which must be protected.  Hopefully, it is one less thing schools have to worry about as they serve their students.  

Also, we are constantly trying to improve security and that means changes to business processes, so schools and students may be impacted by those changes.  Often times, security is viewed as a hindrance, so we always strive to have a minimal impact on our customers.  Nonetheless, the bottom line is to protect all of our customers’ information to the best of our abilities, and we greatly appreciate our customers’ willingness to adapt to any changes. 

We’re in the business of making educational dreams come true, and the last thing we want to do is derail someone’s educational progress because of personal and/or financial difficulties that can result from having their confidential information compromised. 

What are the goals of your department?  

Matt: Let’s talk about our vision here.  The Enterprise Risk Management vision is for all associates to proactively evaluate risks and opportunities as well as act as our advocates in protecting the assets and reputation of our customers and Nelnet.  As a matter of fact, our departmental tag line is “helping you protect our customers.” 

Since Nelnet performs activities on behalf of schools, we have goals and activities that are related to protecting their students’ information. 

If you could be anywhere in the universe for New Year’s Eve, where would you be and why? 

Matt: On a yacht with family and friends on the International Date Line.  Why?  So we could celebrate New Year’s Eve twice simply by moving the yacht from the western side to the eastern side. 

What is your favorite movie snack? 

Matt: Raisinettes. 

Name one thing that many people do not know about you. 

Matt: I grew up in the woods; literally, our house was located in the middle of 16 acres of woods.  I have always enjoyed the simple life and being close to nature.  That’s why my wife and I are always planning outdoor activities for us and the kids, preferably in the mountains.  We really want our children to understand there are other things in life to enjoy than just the hustle and bustle of the city, video games, the Internet, and TV. 

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