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Why CDOs Should Be In Charge Of Cybersecurity

Forget the CSO and CIO -- MIT's Stuart Madnick explains why the chief data officer is a company's best line of defense.

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In a world where data has increasing value, the chief data officer has become a more important member of the C-suite, wearing many different hats on any given day. But according to author, IT consultant and MIT professor Stuart Madnick, the most important role of the CDO right now is leading the charge against cyberattacks.

Madnick pointed out that in many organizations, the chief information officer and chief security officer may head up the security division.

’If you think of cybersecurity as primarily a hardware/software issue, then maybe that makes some sense,’ Madnick said.

However, firewalls and cryptographic codes are not a strong enough defense against today’s cybersecurity threats.

’Would a better cryptographic code have stopped Ed Snowden?’ Madnick asked.

Madnick, who has consulted on projects at IBM, AT&T and Citicorp, referenced a study that ’indicated that 75 percent of all break-ins can be traced to some action of an insider, often accidental, sometimes on purpose.’

Because CDOs are primarily focused on data governance, they should really be in charge of a company’s cybersecurity program.

’If we take the view that the CDO is responsible for maximizing the value of that data in the organization, then it would stand to reason that the CDO should have some role in ensuring and protecting the value of that information,’ Madnick said.


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