360° Coverage : Target exec's departure puts spotlight on CIOs

2 Updates

Target exec's departure puts spotlight on CIOs

Mar 5 2014, 11:48pm CST | by

NEW YORK (AP) — The departure of Target's chief information officer in the wake of the company's massive pre-Christmas data breach highlights the increased pressure facing executives...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

32 weeks ago

Target exec's departure puts spotlight on CIOs

Mar 5 2014, 11:48pm CST | by

NEW YORK (AP) — The departure of Target's chief information officer in the wake of the company's massive pre-Christmas data breach highlights the increased pressure facing executives who are charged with protecting corporate computer systems from hackers whose attacks are on the rise and becoming more sophisticated.

CIOs from companies in all walks of business —from retail to banking and drug discovery— are using the Target breach as a rallying point to call attention to their struggle and garner additional funds and manpower to fight digital threats.

Cyberattacks were on the rise long before Target's news that hackers had stolen 40 million debit and credit card numbers, along with the personal information belonging to as many as 70,000 people. A 2013 Hewlett-Packard Co.-sponsored study by the Ponemon Institute found that the average annual cost of cybercrime incurred by a benchmark sample of U.S. organizations was $11.6 million per organization, a 26 percent increase from the previous year.

For a host of companies, the Target breach was a pivotal event that permanently altered the way they approach data security. Many CIOs say they're receiving more support, but they say the trade-off is that they're facing increased scrutiny from their CEOs and other executives. If their fortress walls fall to hackers, their jobs will be on the line.

Ken Grady, CIO of life sciences company New England BioLabs Inc., says the increased attention to data security has been a good thing for him. It has prompted much needed support from colleagues. But that backing comes at a cost.

"If I have a breach in spite of all that, I need to be able to say that we did everything we could to prevent it," Grady says. "If I can't do that, then it would have a negative effect on me."

Analysts believe the Target data theft couldn't have had a positive effect on Beth Jacob, who had served as the company's CIO since 2008. Target said Wednesday that Jacob's resignation was her decision, but analysts say Jacob took the fall amid a slew of bad publicity for the Minneapolis-based company.

Target is in the midst of overhauling its information and compliance division and plans to look outside the company for a chief information security officer and a chief compliance officer, two newly created positions. Before the overhaul, information security functions were split among a variety of executives.

Tim Scannell, director of strategic content for the CIO Executive Council, a professional trade group, says companies have come to realize the importance of security. The result: boosted budgets and staffing increases. According to a recent CIO Executive Council survey, computer security professionals say they expect an average increase of 8 percent in their budgets this year.

"I think CIOs are getting more respect," Scannell says. "They're winning a seat at the table. But along with that, we have a heightened security risk, so they're under pressure to do something about it."

Scannell notes that even if a company isn't a retailer that deals directly with consumers, most now have some kind of e-commerce operations, which makes them a potential target for an attack.

The new era of cybersecurity was a hot topic at the recent RSA tech security conference in San Francisco. Daniel Ives, an analyst for FBR Capital Markets, says many of the data security professionals in attendance said they are increasing security spending in light of recent high-profile data breaches. He predicts that data security spending could rise as much as 15 percent this year.

Ives says that while retailers, financial and health care companies have the most to lose in the event of a cyberattack, any company that so much as uses mobile phones or puts customer data on their networks is also at risk.

"Getting on the cover of The Wall Street Journal in some cyberattack is a CIO's worst nightmare," he says. "They're the bodyguard and the linchpins of the companies they work for more today than ever before, because of the amount of data that's out there."

And companies aren't the only entities at risk for data breaches. Universities also handle vast amounts of personal information.

Gerry McCartney, Purdue University's systems CIO, says public universities also face the challenge of remaining transparent while protecting everything from student social security numbers to the research of its professors.

"If you lock data up like Fort Knox people can't use it," he says. "It's like locking your car up in the garage so you can't get into an accident, but then what's the point of having a car? You want your people to have access to data."

Ed Brandman, CIO of the private equity firm KKR & Co., says his company focuses on advising its portfolio companies, which range from payments processor First Data Corp. to retailer Academy Sports, on the best practices for protecting data.

He says a major task CIOs face is balancing data security spending with the perceived potential for an attack, noting that CIOs also have to decide how much to spend on other technology related investments such as computers and mobile devices.

"And no matter how much you're spending, you never have 100 percent confidence that you're safe," Brandman says. "It's an always evolving state."

Mark Popolano, CIO of ProSight Specialty Insurance, agrees. His company's commercial insurance business is all about weighing risks against costs.

"If you want to spend an infinite amount of money on security you can," he says. "But the government does and they're not 100 percent foolproof."

It's for that reason that Grady says New England BioLabs paid particular attention to how Target and Neiman Marcus, which also recently reported a data breach, handled their situations in terms of costs and transparency.

He says the fact that the breaches happened to those two companies shows that they can happen to anyone. The important thing is to know how to respond if the worst does occur.

"What we don't want is to be unprepared and not have a plan, heaven forbid we have such an issue," Grady says.

___

Bree Fowler can be reached at http://twitter.com/APBreeFowler

Source: AP Business

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a new company (NewCo) and slashing the workforce of 20,000 by 30 ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

7 weeks ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the double tragedies of MH370 and MH17 ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Associated Press</a>
The Associated Press (AP) is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

WHO declares Nigeria officially Ebola-free (Roundup)
Abuja/Dar-es-Salam/Tokyo, Oct 20 (IANS) The World Health Organisation (WHO) Monday officially declared Nigeria Ebola-free , after no new cases were confirmed in the past 42 days, even as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) appealed to the donor community to provide grants to countries affected by the deadly virus.
 
 
IMF appeals for help to Ebola-hit countries
Dar-es-Salam, Oct 20 (IANS) The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Monday appealed to the donor community to provide grants to countries affected by the Ebola outbreak to avoid a decline in their economies.
 
 
Japanese firm to produce more drug for Ebola
Tokyo, Oct 20 (IANS) Japan's Fujifilm Holdings Corporation announced Monday that it will start production of the anti-influenza drug Avigan in preparation for a larger number of patients infected with the Ebola virus.
 
 
Algeria denies Ebola detection reports
Algiers, Oct 20 (IANS) Algeria Monday denied reports of detection of Ebola virus cases in its territory, media reported.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

1,074 new dengue cases in Chinese province
Beijing, Oct 18 (IANS) China's Guangdong province has reported 1,047 new cases of dengue fever, health authorities said Saturday. Six people have already died in Guangdong -- five in Guangzhou and one in adjacent...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Blake Lively 'always' wanted to be mum
Blake Lively has ''always'' wanted to be a mother. The 27-year-old actress is expecting her first child with husband Ryan Reynolds and she admits she's been dreaming of this moment since she was a youngster. Speaking...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Kris Jenner 'torn apart' by Bruce's new relationship
Kris Jenner feels ''torn apart and angry'' that Bruce Jenner is dating her former assistant. The 58-year-old matriarch split from the 64-year-old Olympic gold medalist last October following 22-years of marriage but is...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini won't move to France
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini doesn't want to move to her husband's home country of France. The 'X Factor' judge, 31, who comes from Newcastle, is adamant she won't be relocating any time soon to suit her new spouse Jean-...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Lance Bass sets wedding date
Lance Bass has set a date for his wedding. The former *NSYNC singer and his partner Michael Turchin, who have been dating for two-and-a-half years, are to tie the knot on December 20, 2014, a representative for the...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Nepal avalanche toll reaches 39
Kathmandu, Oct 18 (IANS) At least 39 climbers died while hiking on a key Nepali route after it was hit by a major snowstorm and avalanches earlier this week, BBC reported Saturday citing officials. Over 350 stranded...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Jake Gyllenhaal says society is complicit in 'nightcrawling'
Jake Gyllenhaal says almost everybody in society ought to relate to his new movie 'Nightcrawlers'. The eagerly-awaited film concerns those people who monitor police scanners and then race to crime scenes to film eye-...
Read more on Movie Balla
 
India eves look for first win in AFC U-16 qualifiers
Dhaka, Oct 18 (IANS) India will hope to register their first win of the 2015 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-16 Women's Championship qualifiers when they take on hosts Bangladesh in a crucial encounter at the...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Moyes mulling return to management
London, Oct 18 (IANS) Former Manchester United manager David Moyes said that he is ready to revive his managerial career six months after being sacked by the 'Red Devils'. "I am ready to return. I have enjoyed the...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Ebola fears loom over Ghana hosting AFCON
Accra (Ghana), Oct 18 (IANS) The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) cautioned the government Saturday against hosting the 2015 African Cup of Nations (AFCON), despite a request by the Confederation of African Football (...
Read more on Sport Balla