George Mehok Quoted in Crain’s Cleveland Article

Companies’ mobile dos, don’ts lists growing

With more devices in the workplace, firms’ policies are more detailed

Three years ago, if a company had a policy regarding how its employees should use their mobile devices, it consisted of maybe a few pages, max.

Now some companies that work with mobile device management firm Vox Mobile Inc. of Independence have policies that are 10 or 12 pages long.
The influx of so many different high-powered mobile devices has made life more complex for the people charged with managing them, according to several information technology experts in Northeast Ohio.

Over the past two years, many local businesses that previously issued nothing but company-owned BlackBerrys have started letting employees use iPhones, iPads and Android phones, too.

Thus, they’ve got more devices to secure and support. And their employees have toys with all sorts of capabilities that can be abused and misused.

Making matters even more difficult, many businesses are starting to let employees use their own smart phones and tablet computers, as opposed to company-owned devices, to tap into corporate networks that often contain sensitive data. More than 70% of Vox Mobile’s clients do so already or are moving in that direction, said Jeff Fuggit, vice president of marketing for the company.

“This is a tidal wave,” he said of the “bring your own device” trend.

Erecting a “virtual barrier’
Companies aren’t about to stop using the latest consumer gadgets, given how popular and powerful they are. Instead, they’ve had to figure out how to mitigate the problems that come with them.

After years of using nothing but BlackBerrys, Safeguard Properties of Valley View started supporting other devices about a year ago and now is letting some employees access the corporate network with their own mobile devices, said George Mehok, chief information officer for the company. Safeguard inspects and maintains defaulted and foreclosed properties.

The company, which works with a lot of banks, had to be cautious about letting employees access sensitive data on devices they own, Mr. Mehok said. To protect that information, on each device Safeguard installs Good Technology-brand software that is designed to create a virtual barrier between corporate data and personal data.

“We have an obligation to protect our clients’ data. It would not be possible without something like Good Technology,” he said.

Good Technology Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif., is one of several companies that sell software with the ability to segregate corporate data from personal on mobile devices, which makes it easier to secure sensitive information and erase it if a device is lost.

Those products are starting to become popular among larger companies, and for good reason, said Brian Stein, president and chief operating officer of mobile strategy firm Pervasive Path Consulting LLC of Solon. Companies trying to manage mobile devices with software that can’t make that distinction could run into problems if, say, an employee loses a smart phone only to find it later — after their employer has used the software to erase everything on it.

“If you wipe somebody’s pictures of their kids … they’re going to be pretty upset,” he said.

The root of the problem
Revol Wireless of Independence aims to start installing some kind of mobile device management software on the Android smart phones that some Revol employees now use, said Jim Bryson, manager of infrastructure for the wireless carrier.

The company also aims to create a mobile device policy, but it won’t do so until it starts installing the device management software, he said. Without the software, Revol has no way to enforce the policies Mr. Bryson wants to create, such as one that would prohibit employees from “rooting” their Android phones. That process lets users change the way the phones operate, which could pose security risks, he said. IPhones and iPads can be tampered with, too, through a process called jailbreaking.

Some mobile device management software can detect when a phone has been rooted or jailbroken, Mr. Bryson said.

“You’re essentially giving anyone … access to everything on the phone,” he said.

No such process exists for the BlackBerry, a device that made it “very easy to lock down devices and enforce policy,” he said.

Being able to remotely wipe data from employee iPhones, iPads and Androids minimizes the risk that someone might find sensitive data by rooting or jailbreaking a lost device, according to Karen Anzuini, chief information officer for Cleveland law firm Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff LLP.

Thus, it is “very important for people to let us know immediately if someone loses the device,” Ms. Anzuini said.

Broadening the number of devices employees can use has created a few issues for Benesch, she said. For one, the number of calls to Benesch’s information technology help desk has gone up by roughly 10% to 15%, she estimated. Plus, the law firm’s network has been strained at times by the sheer number of devices trying to access the law firm’s email system at the same time, she said.

Benesch’s wireless network also does a lot of heavy lifting, which is why the law firm late last year installed a second network that employees at its Cleveland office can use for personal reasons.

“There are people who want to be able to stream Pandora (music service) or whatever at the office,” she said.

To download or not to download
Using a company device to stream Pandora or watch movies on Netflix after work is fine so long as employers aren’t stuck with data charges afterward, said Revol’s Mr. Bryson, who used to work for Vox Mobile and briefly worked for Good Technology.

“There’s got to be something in the policy to call that out,” he said.

Some company policies specify which applications employees can and cannot download, said Nate Kurash, account executive for Bennett Adelson, an IT services firm and mobile software developer in Independence.

Companies such as Verizon provide services that let businesses set up their own app stores, where they privately can give employees access to custom software and commercial apps they might need for work purposes, Mr. Kurash said.

Companies that let employees use Android phones also may want to regulate the number of models employees can support, according to both Mr. Kurash and Mr. Fuggit, of Vox Mobile.

For one, different phones use different versions of the Android operating system, making it hard to secure a fleet of different models, Mr. Fuggit said. Plus, companies using custom mobile software might find that their programs don’t work right when they introduce a different phone, Mr. Kurash said.

“If that’s the case, we may have to update our application,” he said.

To view the online article, please click here.

About Safeguard
Safeguard Properties is the largest privately held field services company in the country. Located in Cleveland, Ohio and founded in 1990 by Robert Klein, Safeguard has grown from a regional preservation company with a few employees  and a handful of contractors performing services in the Midwest, to a national company with nearly 1,000 employees. Safeguard is supported by a nationwide network of subcontractors able to perform any requested superintendence, preservation, and maintenance functions, as well as numerous ancillary services in the U.S., the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.



Alan Jaffa

Alan Jaffa is the chief executive officer for Safeguard, steering the company as the mortgage field services industry leader. He also serves on the board of advisors for SCG Partners, a middle-market private equity fund focused on diversifying and expanding Safeguard Properties’ business model into complimentary markets.

Alan joined Safeguard in 1995, learning the business from the ground up. He was promoted to chief operating officer in 2002, and was named CEO in May 2010. His hands-on experience has given him unique insights as a leader to innovate, improve and strengthen Safeguard’s processes to assure that the company adheres to the highest standards of quality and customer service.

Under Alan’s leadership, Safeguard has grown significantly with strategies that have included new and expanded services, technology investments that deliver higher quality and greater efficiency to clients, and strategic acquisitions. He takes a team approach to process improvement, involving staff at all levels of the organization to address issues, brainstorm solutions, and identify new and better ways to serve clients.

In 2008, Alan was recognized by Crain’s Cleveland Business in its annual “40-Under-40” profile of young leaders. He also was named a NEO Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® finalist in 2013.


Chief Operating Officer

Michael Greenbaum

Michael Greenbaum is the chief operating officer for Safeguard. Mike has been instrumental in aligning operations to become more efficient, effective, and compliant with our ever-changing industry requirements. Mike has a proven track record of excellence, partnership and collaboration at Safeguard. Under Mike’s leadership, all operational departments of Safeguard have reviewed, updated and enhanced their business processes to maximize efficiency and improve quality control.

Mike joined Safeguard in July 2010 as vice president of REO and has continued to take on additional duties and responsibilities within the organization, including the role of vice president of operations in 2013 and then COO in 2015.

Mike built his business career in supply-chain management, operations, finance and marketing. He has held senior management and executive positions with Erico, a manufacturing company in Solon, Ohio; Accel, Inc., a packaging company in Lewis Center, Ohio; and McMaster-Carr, an industrial supply company in Aurora, Ohio.

Before entering the business world, Mike served in the U.S. Army, Ordinance Branch, and specialized in supply chain management. He is a distinguished graduate of West Point (U.S. Military Academy), where he majored in quantitative economics.



Sean Reddington

Sean Reddington is the new Chief Information Officer for Safeguard Properties LLC. Sean has over 15+ years of experience in Information Services Management with a strong focus on Product and Application Management. Sean is responsible for Safeguard’s technological direction, including planning, implementation and maintaining all operational systems

Sean has a proven record of accomplishment for increasing operational efficiencies, improving customer service levels, and implementing and maintaining IT initiatives to support successful business processes.  He has provided the vision and dedicated leadership for key technologies for Fortune 100 companies, and nationally recognized consulting firms including enterprise system architecture, security, desktop and database management systems. Sean possesses strong functional and system knowledge of information security, systems and software, contracts management, budgeting, human resources and legal and related regulatory compliance.

Sean joined Safeguard Properties LLC from RenPSG Inc. which is a nationally leading Philintropic Software Platform in the Fintech space. He oversaw the organization’s technological direction including planning, implementing and maintaining the best practices that align with all corporate functions. He also provided day-to-day technology operations, enterprise security, information risk and vulnerability management, audit and compliance, security awareness and training.

Prior to RenPSG, Sean worked for DMI Consulting as a Client Success Director where he guided the delivery in a multibillion-dollar Fortune 500 enterprise client account. He was responsible for all project deliveries in terms of quality, budget and timeliness and led the team to coordinate development and definition of project scope and limitations. Sean also worked for KPMG Consulting in their Microsoft Practice and Technicolor’s Ebusiness Division where he had responsibility for application development, maintenance, and support.

Sean is a graduate of Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts and received his Masters in International Business from Central Michigan University. He was also a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force prior to his career in the business world.


General Counsel and Executive Vice President

Linda Erkkila, Esq.

Linda Erkkila is the general counsel and executive vice president for Safeguard and oversees the legal, human resources, training, and compliance departments. Linda’s responsibilities cover regulatory issues that impact Safeguard’s operations, risk mitigation, enterprise strategic planning, human resources and training initiatives, compliance, litigation and claims management, and mergers, acquisition and joint ventures.

Linda assures that Safeguard’s strategic initiatives align with its resources, leverage opportunities across the company, and contemplate compliance mandates. Her practice spans over 20 years, and Linda’s experience covers regulatory disclosure, corporate governance compliance, risk assessment, executive compensation, litigation management, and merger and acquisition activity. Her experience at a former Fortune 500 financial institution during the subprime crisis helped develop Linda’s pro-active approach to change management during periods of heightened regulatory scrutiny.

Linda previously served as vice president and attorney for National City Corporation, as securities and corporate governance counsel for Agilysys Inc., and as an associate at Thompson Hine LLP. She earned her JD at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Linda holds a degree in economics from Miami University and an MBA. In 2017, Linda was named as both a “Woman of Influence” by HousingWire and as a “Leading Lady” by MReport.


Chief Financial Officer

Joe Iafigliola

Joe Iafigliola is the Chief Financial Officer for Safeguard. Joe is responsible for the Control, Quality Assurance, Business Development, Accounting & Information Security departments, and is a Managing Director of SCG Partners, a middle-market private equity fund focused on diversifying and expanding Safeguard Properties’ business model into complimentary markets.

Joe has been in a wide variety of roles in finance, supply chain management, information systems development, and sales and marketing. His career includes senior positions with McMaster-Carr Supply Company, Newell/Rubbermaid, and Procter and Gamble.

Joe has an MBA from The Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA), and holds a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University’s Honors Accounting program.


AVP, High Risk and Investor Compliance

Steve Meyer

Steve Meyer is the assistant vice president of high risk and investor compliance for Safeguard. In this role, Steve is responsible for managing our clients’ conveyance processes, Safeguard’s investor compliance team and developing our working relationships with cities and municipalities around the country. He also works directly with our clients in our many outreach efforts and he represents Safeguard at a number of industry conferences each year.

Steve joined Safeguard in 1998 as manager over the hazard claims team. He was instrumental in the development and creation of policies, procedures and operating protocol. Under Steve’s leadership, the department became one of the largest within Safeguard. In 2002, he assumed responsibility for the newly-formed high risk department, once again building its success. Steve was promoted to director over these two areas in 2007, and he was promoted to assistant vice president in 2012.

Prior to joining Safeguard, Steve spent 10 years within the insurance industry, holding a number of positions including multi-line property adjuster, branch claims supervisor, and multi-line and subrogation/litigation supervisor. Steve is a graduate of Grove City College.


AVP, Operations

Jennifer Jozity

Jennifer Jozity is the assistant vice president of operations, overseeing inspections, REO and property preservation for Safeguard. Jen ensures quality work is performed in the field and internally, to meet and exceed our clients’ expectations. Jen has demonstrated the ability to deliver consistent results in order audit and order management.  She will build upon these strengths in order to deliver this level of excellence in both REO and property preservation operations.

Jen joined Safeguard in 1997 and was promoted to director of inspections operations in 2009 and assistant vice president of inspections operations in 2012.

She graduated from Cleveland State University with a degree in business.


AVP, Finance

Jennifer Anspach

Jennifer Anspach is the assistant vice president of finance for Safeguard. She is responsible for the company’s national workforce of approximately 1,000 employees. She manages recruitment strategies, employee relations, training, personnel policies, retention, payroll and benefits programs. Additionally, Jennifer has oversight of the accounts receivable and loss functions formerly within the accounting department.

Jennifer joined the company in April 2009 as a manager of accounting and finance and a year later was promoted to director. She was named AVP of human capital in 2014. Prior to joining Safeguard, she held several management positions at OfficeMax and InkStop in both operations and finance.

Jennifer is a graduate of Youngstown State University. She was named a Crain’s Cleveland Business Archer Award finalist for HR Executive of the Year in 2017.


AVP, Application Architecture

Rick Moran

Rick Moran is the assistant vice president of application architecture for Safeguard. Rick is responsible for evolving the Safeguard IT systems. He leads the design of Safeguard’s enterprise application architecture. This includes Safeguard’s real-time integration with other systems, vendors and clients; the future upgrade roadmap for systems; and standards designed to meet availability, security, performance and goals.

Rick has been with Safeguard since 2011. During that time, he has led the system upgrades necessary to support Safeguard’s growth. In addition, Rick’s team has designed and implemented several innovative systems.

Prior to joining Safeguard, Rick was director of enterprise architecture at Revol Wireless, a privately held CDMA Wireless provider in Ohio and Indiana, and operated his own consulting firm providing services to the manufacturing, telecommunications, and energy sectors.


AVP, Technology Infrastructure and Cloud Services

Steve Machovina

Steve Machovina is the assistant vice president of technology infrastructure and cloud services for Safeguard. He is responsible for the overall management and design of Safeguard’s hybrid cloud infrastructure. He manages all technology engineering staff who support data centers, telecommunications, network, servers, storage, service monitoring, and disaster recovery.

Steve joined Safeguard in November 2013 as director of information technology operations.

Prior to joining Safeguard, Steve was vice president of information technology at Revol Wireless, a privately held wireless provider in Ohio and Indiana. He also held management positions with Northcoast PCS and Corecomm Communications, and spent nine years as a Coast Guard officer and pilot.

Steve holds a BBA in management information systems from Kent State University in Ohio and an MBA from Wayne State University in Michigan.


Assistant Vice president of Application Development

Steve Goberish

Steve Goberish, is the assistant vice president of application development for Safeguard. He is responsible for the maintenance and evolution of Safeguard’s vendor systems ensuring high-availability, security and scalability while advancing the vendor products’ capabilities and enhancing the vendor experience.

Prior to joining Safeguard, Steve was a senior technical architect and development manager at First American Title Insurance, a publicly held title insurance provider based in southern California, in addition to managing and developing applications in multiple sectors from insurance to VOIP.

Steve has a bachelor’s degree from Kent State University in Ohio.