As data breaches mount, it's time for corporate directors to study up on cyber by Ryan McDonald

10/05/2014 19:23

When a data breach occurs and millions of users’ information is compromised, someone has to take the blame for it.

Target Corp. CEO Gregg Steinhafel on Monday resigned from his position just months after the company’s much-publicized data breach. Although analysts suggest the breach wasn’t the only reason for his resignation, it seems to have been a significant one.

Donald C. Grauel, president of Baltimore-based L.E. Goldsborough & Son Inc., said he expects data breaches to cost more executives — and possibly even directors — their positions.

“If you’re on a board of directors and there was a large breach of data, the question becomes what did the board know,” Grauel said.

The president of an insurance firm, Grauel said he is starting to see companies take more steps to protect themselves. Although insurance policies can cover companies in instances of data breaches, company executives and board members won't be able to escape accountability for letting them happen.

“I think we’re seeing [the finger pointing] come up to the boardroom,” he said.

Grauel predicts directors will start asking more questions and paying more attention to cyber issues.

“As a general rule," he said, "board members are not tech savvy."