IT Governance: Retailers Struggle with Data Breaches

Steven Minsky | May 20, 2015

Sally Beauty Holdings confirmed last week that its payment card systems had been compromised, but did not disclose the extent to which data had been breached.

The Texas based retailer is the next in a string of security incidents, and comes a year following the company disclosing a breach of 25,000 customer records.

If the risk is high, and best practices of organizations like NIST, ISO, and SANS are known, then where are the gaps in these organization’s governance programs that must be addressed?

The likely culprit is a failure to effectively manage IT controls, testing, and governance activity within a standardized and communicable format. Many organizations appoint silos to manage a subset of organizational risk, like IT security, without equipping that silo with the ability to interact with its related components, like the vendors that supply its internal applications. The result is either inefficiency – a redundancy of assessments or data collection – or a gap in the governance program that can be exploited by criminals.

In order to make clear the institutional knowledge that is collected at the front lines, IT security managers must be equipped with an IT risk management software that can elevate their concerns when appropriate, and allow them to prioritize and take action upon the most pressing risks. While a single individual may be capable of implementing a manual process that adheres to a particular governance framework, its far more effective to have that individual managing the process in an automated solution that can centrally manage and report on IT assets, applications, incidents, and risk assessments.

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