03-09-14 | Blog Post

After Target breach: CIOs under more scrutiny, getting more support

Blog Posts

When Target’s Beth Jacob resigned in the aftermath of the company’s holiday season data breach that affected up to 110 million customers, it put the role of CIOs in a spotlight of scrutiny. But the ramifications of Target’s problems – which includes $17 million in breach-related expenses and a significant blow to the retail giant’s reputation – could also help technology executives get the funds and manpower required to battle cyber attacks.

Target, which said the resignation was Jacob’s decision, announced it will hire a chief information security officer and a chief compliance officer as part of its “overhaul of our information security and compliance structure and practices at Target.”

A recent Associated Press story discussed how the role of CIOs has gone from behind-the-scenes to high-profile with the rise of cybercrime. CIOs told the news organization the fallout at Target has resulted in a mix of additional scrutiny and support:

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.

And, later in the story:

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.”

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Wall Street Journal: Target CIO Takes the Fall

CNN: Target replaces officials in security overhaul

Associated Press: Target exec’s departure puts spotlight on CIOs

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