Security has become such a big issue within the boardrooms of the biggest companies across Europe that chief information security officers (CISOs) can now command as much as £850,000 (€1m in the EU) and a place on the board.
That's according to executive recruitment firm DHR International (which obviously has an interest in talking up CISOs' potential pay).
According to DHR, even small and medium-sized business (SMBs) are not paying small-and-medium-sized wages, with the average pay for CISOs falling between €200,000 (£171,000) and €300,000 (£256,000). The largest, stock exchange-listed companies are paying between €700,000 (£597,000) and €1m (£850,000), it claims.
According to Gert Stürzebecher, partner at DHR, fear of losing their job over security incidents has pushed CEOs not just into appointing specialist CISOs and putting them on the board of the company, but offering a high salary and benefits to match the rising importance of the role.
CEOs have started to lose their jobs over data breaches and the financial impact of some individual data breaches now runs into the tens or hundreds of millions of euros. An issue as serious as that gets its own seat at the board," said Stürzebecher.
The implications of a lackadaisical corporate attitude to security has been reflected in recent years by, for example, the CEO of US retailer Target losing his job following a serious data breach, and the sale of Yahoo being cut by $350m, both following serious security incidences.
Furthermore, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will become law across the European Union, including the UK, on 25 May 2018 should also have concentrated CEOs' minds. The GDPR will impose a mandatory breach-notification scheme on companies and public sector organisations alongside fines of up to four per cent of turnover.
On top of the GDPR, there is also the Network and Information Systems Security directive, which will change the way major companies implement security procedures, mitigate against attacks and report on breaches.
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