We are pleased to announce that Nils Puhlmann, a 20-year security veteran, has joined TripActions as our chief trust & security officer. Nils brings significant experience leading security efforts in diverse business environments to his new role at TripActions. In his last role, he served as Twilio’s chief trust & security officer, and previously worked as the chief technology officer of Endgame as well as chief security officer at Zynga, Qualys, and Electronic Arts. He also co-founded the Cloud Security Alliance nonprofit organization, which promotes the use of best practices for security assurance within cloud computing.
Nils is no stranger to the travel industry. Nils’ first job was as an intern at American Airlines based in Frankfurt, Germany. He retains a love of the travel industry, even as his career focus on security has taken him to leadership positions at top technology companies around the world.
Nils’ new position at TripActions as chief trust & security officer is a testament to the importance that TripActions places on traveler safety, along with the safety and security of organizations’ and their travelers’ data. We had the opportunity to connect with Nils and learn more about his focus and background.
TripActions: To start, please share: why TripActions?
Nils Puhlmann: There are many industries that have not benefited yet from digital innovation and disruption, travel being one of them. Traveling is 1/10th of the world’s GDP and one of the most common activities around the globe. It happens in every country and is pervasive. We have about 100,000 flights per day and 4 million hotel rooms globally. Yet traveling is still a cumbersome and manual approach for many, often requiring one to pick up the phone and wait on hold. Even worse is having to make changes and corrections while being on a trip.
Nobody feels the pain more than business travelers and road warriors. TripActions was built with the intent to bring technological innovation to the world of corporate travel. Being part of a company that is disrupting and advancing such a regular activity as business travel is an exciting opportunity.
For me, on a more personal level, it also brings together two passions and careers--travel and security. All my early positions were in the travel industry, and I learned to become a travel agent from the ground up. Being able to bring in my security expertise while deeply understanding the travel industry is a unique opportunity for me.
TA: In your new role as CTSO you’ll be leading the TripActions enterprise security program with the goal to ensure the security of the company’s platform, customer and traveler data, and everything related. What’s a typical day look like?
NP: Managing security as an executive is a complex mix of reviewing corporate and technological changes, staying ahead of industry advances, planning and preparing for new risks and threats, supporting the business by building out resilience, and educating myself and the team daily about new threat mitigations other companies and peer leaders have successfully deployed. But it also means building, maintaining, and developing teams of security practitioners and leaders with diverse backgrounds and expertise.
TA: How is transparency with customers important in a cloud solution?
NP: I believe trust can only be built through transparency--security is no exception to this. While there are obvious details in the world of security that are not shared publicly, being open and direct with customers not only builds trust but enables and maintains a strong partnership. One of the things that attracted me to TripActions was it’s focus on transparency, not just in words but actions as well. The company’s Trust & Transparency page where key metrics on company, platform and product performance are shared openly is just one example. Being able to see your TMC’s Net Promoter Score, Customer Satisfaction, Average Hotel Savings, Average Time to Book and more is unheard of in the corporate travel industry. TripActions is absolutely a leader today -- creating a great foundation to build from.
TA: How has travel helped you be successful in your previous roles?
NP: I have traveled my whole life--personally and for business--and it is essential to connect and maintain relationships in increasingly global businesses. Whether it was for speaking at international conferences, negotiating deals, visiting remote teams and customers, or simply decompressing and recharging in a beautiful remote place after weeks and months of hard work, travel is essential.
TA: What’s one thing you can’t travel without?
NP: There are many: mobile phone, chargers for devices, sunglasses, passport, credit cards.
TA: Favorite travel destination?
NP: Honestly, there are several depending on what type of destination I have in mind. Whether it is Singapore as a fantastic city that has much to offer, or Costa Rica with its lush rainforests and amazing waves to surf, or the mountains of Austria to enjoy sunshine and powder. Each destination is unique and that makes it so special.
TA: Aisle or window?
NP: Definitely aisle emergency exit row.
TA: Favorite in-flight beverage?
NP: Water. Staying hydrated on long flights is crucial to get over jet lag faster.
TA: Best book for a long flight?
NP: I opt for catching up on the latest great movies onboard and making sure I get enough rest to get faster into the destination’s time zone. TA: What question should we have asked, and what’s the answer?
NP: What is your favorite airplane? For me, the Airbus 350 is the best plane for long-haul flights. It is technically a marvelous plane while offering comfort, particularly through its higher cabin pressure and lower onboard noise levels which allow for quick adjustment to new time zones.
Thanks for sharing more about yourself with us, Nils. We’re thrilled to have you as part of the TripActions team. We’ve heard great things about you. Individuals interested in learning more about career opportunities at TripActions may visit www.tripactions.com/careers.