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Cyber Willies

Every CEO has the willies fretting over whether there will be a cyber breach on their watch, knowing full well that their head will roll if it happens. Just ask Equifax’s ex-CEO Richard Smith, who got the boot. It is no longer possible for the CEO to leave their data protection just to I.T. departments; CEOs are now often the ones reassuring nervous boards and shareholders.

Nervous they should be because according to the Wall Street Journal, the number of U.S. data breaches jumped to a record 791 in the first six months of 2017, according to the nonprofit Identity Theft Resource Center and data security firm CyberScout. That is a 29% jump from the same period last year.

CEOs’ heightened urgency is all well and good, but the smoking gun is actually not in Russia or North Korea, but closer to home. The real threat to many companies is employee apathy. Companies that rank low in employee engagement have almost a 70% risk of serious security breaches as careless employees lose computers, flash drives and expose their company passwords to Cyber thief’s. It’s getting chilly willy in some C-Suites.

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