By Charles Leaver

New Target CEO signals hope for breached company

The Target breach may be yesterday’s news, but when it comes to malicious incursions on major companies, yesterday’s news is also today’s and tomorrow’s. It will likely be a long time before the company can escape the shadow of its breach, but with the company’s announcement of a new CEO, perhaps that process will happen a little faster.

New leader must prioritize endpoint detection and response
In an announcement on its website, Target stated that it has appointed Brian Cornell to be the new leader of the company. Cornell previously worked at PepsiCo and has a long enterprise history that Target says makes him well-suited for the job.

“As we seek to aggressively move Target forward and establish the company as a top omnichannel retailer, we focused on identifying an extraordinary leader who could bring vision, focus and a wealth of experience to Target’s transformation,”¬†Roxanne S. Austin, interim non-executive chair of Target’s board, said.

But the real test for Cornell is invariably going to be how he handles the issue of enterprise security. After all, with roughly a third of the country having been hit by the Target breach, the central question among patrons surrounds how they know if their information is safe at the company’s 1,925 stores. USA Today pointed out that the hiring of Cornell represents the first time Target has looked outside its own company to bring in a top leader. The reason for this very likely has to do with revitalizing brand identity. As the saying goes, “Out with the old, in with the new.”

However, if Cornell really is going to inject new life into the company, it has to be in the form of better enterprise threat response measures. Not only was Target criticized for its massive breach, but also for its extreme delay in informing customers about it. If Cornell wants to reverse Target’s image of being passive and evasive when it comes to coping with attacks, he needs to work on building the kind of security infrastructure that will succeed in restoring customer trust. This will likely come in the form of more stringent protection over the store’s many endpoints, including its large number of point-of-sale devices.

But it’s not just Cornell who will have to bring his A-game when it comes to endpoint protection. Across the company, attention should be devoted at every level to the importance of maintaining security.

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