Major U.S. companies improving cyber security

Global Business

Some of the biggest companies in the U.S. are embracing a renewed commitment to crack down on cyber attacks and security breaches. Many of these firms are hiring cyber security experts, a sign that corporate America is increasingly concerned about protecting its assets and its consumers. CCTV’s Shraysi Tandon reports.

Major U.S. companies improving cyber security

Major U.S. companies improving cyber security

Some of the biggest companies in the U.S. are embracing a renewed commitment to crack down on cyber attacks and security breaches. Many of these firms are hiring cyber security experts, a sign that corporate America is increasingly concerned about protecting its assets and its consumers. CCTV's Shraysi Tandon reports.

JPMorgan, Pepsi, Target – these are just some of the Fortune 500 companies that hire cyber security experts. But now, many companies are elevating these experts to even more prominent roles even including them on their boards.

The move comes after a highly publicized attack on Target last year which saw credit card numbers and personal data stolen from up to 70 million customers. Target’s substantial loss of customer information remains the biggest retail hack in U.S. history.

Matt Comyns, Global Co-Head Cyber Security at Russell Reynolds Associates said: “What you’ve seen in the past, there were early movers so to speak, investors in this space. And it would be the typical companies you would think about in financial services and credit card companies, technology, telecommunications and even healthcare. Those were the early movers and investors in the space. But since 2013 and in particular the watershed event of the Target breach, we’re seeing demand across the board.”

High-profile breaches, such as the one at Target and more recently at e-commerce giant EBay, have created an increased sense of urgency.

Recently, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon announced that by the end of the year, the bank will increase its cyber security budget to $250 million and have a team of 1,000 people– versus 600 people just two years ago, with a budget of 200 million.

Rob Marano is a former rocket scientist who now works as a cyber security expert. Marano says having a chief information security officer on the board of a company is vital to the survival of its operation.

Rob Marano, Adjunct Professor at New York Institute of Technology, said: “I think it’s as important as having a chief financial officer. And the reason being is that anyone’s business is run on technology today. Try to name one business that doesn’t touch technology. I bet you, you can’t even say a mom and pop shop anymore. It’s everything. It’s infiltrated our entire life. Just like the concept of money. It’s part of our daily lives in anything and everything we do. Technology is the same. So we should give it its own seat at the table where the largest and most important decisions are made and that’s in the board room. And it’s starting to happen.”

As the industry sees an increase in demand, candidates with the right expertise can command high-dollar salaries.

Matt Comyns also said: “It’s not unusual to see a chief information security officer command more than half a million dollars in compensation.”

As innovation in technology rapidly evolves, experts say there will always be gaps in security. But businesses are now realizing that their survival depends on not only safe-guarding their technology, but staying one step ahead of hacking threats – making the job of a cybersecurity expert very lucrative indeed.