It’s taken companies years to finally prioritize the protection of their sensitive data. Typically, when a breach occurred, an enterprise kicked into a slow and costly forensics mode, piecing together the steps of a crime—well after the damage had been done. But the Target breach in 2013 began to change all that. Its reverberations shot up the chain of command: Where once, say, an IT director’s job was on the line, Target’s CEO and CIO were forced to resign. This nudged company leaders to shift efforts from crime deterrents to security strategy.

In 2011, Texas State Comptroller’s office fired a number of execs after a large breach. Two years later, Stephen Fletcher, head of Utah’s Department of Technology Services, was let go after a sizeable Department of Health data leak. And a year after that, the CEOs of Sony and Home Depot were forced out of their jobs after large data breaches. The accountability had trickled up the ladder, and suddenly no one could pass the buck.

The need to proactively surface attacks as they happen, before they become detrimental, has only grown even more pressing. Last month, Osterman Research released its alarming study, How Boards of Directors Really Feel about Cyber Security Reports, based on a survey of 125 executives. It determined, writes Security Magazine, that “ half of board members say IT and security executives will lose their jobs as a result of failing to provide useful, actionable information.”

Another study by Osterman earlier this year drew attention to the gap in understanding between executives and security execs. “ Half of board member respondents believe IT and security executives use manually compiled spreadsheets to report cyber security data to the board,” states Security Magazine. “ When in actuality, 81 percent of IT and security executives report they employ manually compiled spreadsheets to report data to the board.”

The pair of Osterman studies adds “ automation” and “ actionable data” onto a threat/risk manager’s lists of needs—which already includes quick detection, clear visibility beyond the user to include entities, and the ability to stay a step ahead of ever-evolving thievery.

It’s only a matter of time before security details that don’t use machine learning-enabled analytics buckle at the hands of attackers. If this advanced technology doesn’t speak to these enterprises, then the undeniable ROI—and this includes job and brand protection—should resonate for years to come.

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