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Target Breach Puts Corporate Tech Execs Under Fire


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 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.

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Posted by on Apr 1st, 2014 and filed under Techline. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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