The Home Depot last week confirmed it's investigating "unusual activity" concerning its customer data after an investigative report revealed possible fraudulent activity on the company's payment systems.
The report pointed to the possibility of The Home Depot's systems being under attack since April. If true, this potential data breach would be larger than the three-week long Target breach that affected 40 million debit and credit card users last year.
If the investigation proves fraud has occurred over that period, then The Home Depot will join the long list of companies in recent history to experience data security breaches.
Where are CIOs in this mess? The mounting number of companies that have experienced data breaches seem to point to IT professionals taking data protection lightly. CIOs must come to realize that the more customer information and critical business functions are being stored in the cloud and controlled by tech tools, the more critical it will become to take measures to ensure that every piece of data is safe and secure. This is becoming rapidly more essential as the risk of cybersecurity breaches grows.
According to a recent Ponenmon Institute study, the state of cybersecurity doesn't look very promising. Only 63 percent of respondents said their organization is vigilant in conducting audits or assessments of cloud-based services, 62 percent said the cloud services used by their organization are thoroughly vetted for security before deployment, and 55 percent said their IT security leader is responsible for ensuring their organization's safe use of cloud resources.
As more advances like the cloud and mobile become widespread, firewalls and intrusion detection programs will no longer suffice in data defense, and will only become basic measures. CIOs must heed the cautionary tale of the Targets and The Home Depots of late and start taking data protection seriously. Sound security isn't only essential; it's good business.