Eli Lilly security finds strength in flexibility in WFH shift

CISO Meredith Harper shares the greatest challenges her organization faced in the wide-scale move to work-from-home and lessons learned that will outlast the pandemic.

Meredith Harper, Eli Lilly and Company
Eli Lilly and Company

As executives throughout the United States scrambled to send employees home to work this past spring, Meredith Harper already had a roadmap for action.

That’s because Harper, who as vice president and CISO at Eli Lilly and Co. oversees the pharmaceutical company’s global cybersecurity program, had gone through the process just weeks earlier with the firm’s China-based workers.

Still, Harper had a significant task to tackle: The Indianapolis-headquartered company employees approximately 34,000 people worldwide and engages a host of third-party partners in the countries where it operates.

The scale and global aspect of the company’s shift to a widescale work-from-home environment, as well as the speed required to do it, was far from typical CISO responsibilities — even for a security chief at a global organization. Still, the work offers lessons that transcend the pandemic and can inform security programs moving forward.

Harper recently spoke to CSO to share her approach to managing the company’s global security function at scale during this year’s extraordinary events.

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