Walmart scoring execs against one another on security performance

The company has created a scorecard that provides every executive within Walmart with a real-time overview of how they're performing against their peers.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

In 2018, Walmart experienced over 6 trillion cyber events. Of those, Walmart director of global cybersecurity DeWayne Hixson said almost 14 million were actual attacks.

He told RSA Conference 2019 Asia Pacific and Japan in Singapore on Wednesday that during the 12-month period, Walmart also blocked over 2 billion spam emails.

"You can just imagine how many of those were phishing attack attempts," he said.

More than 230 million malware alerts were received, 1.4 billion lines of code were reviewed, over 2.5 million user accounts were managed, over 450,000 end-points were protected, and over 5.1 million vulnerabilities were remediated.

Each week, Walmart also services over 275 million customers in over 11,000 physical stores and e-commerce platforms.

The company has access to lot of information, a lot of it in real-time.

"It is said what gets measured gets managed. With all this information, how in the world do we process that? How do we get it out to the people who need it without drowning in data -- or starving them of information?" he said.

Read also: How CISOs can improve their communication with the board (TechRepublic)

Walmart started on a project to give executives actual insight into the security landscape. It began a few years ago when senior management asked Hixson a few questions, such as how one market was operating and what its cybersecurity footprint looked like, but he was unable to pull all the information together for a succinct view that they could actually understand.

"So this became a mission on how we really dive in to pull that information out," he said. "We worked with executives, with a few of our key customers, and asked them, 'What do you want to see?' ... but what the customer asked for was actually needed.

"For the most part, executives have pretty short attention spans and if I don't have something in front of them that they can look at and within 30 seconds understand 'I need to do this one thing', they're moving on to the next thing -- they're just too busy."

See also: Cyber security: Your boss doesn't care and that's not OK anymore  

Hixson said what resulted was all relevant information being provided to executives through a dashboard.

"We had to know that from every single entity around the world, every single store, every single data centre, every single home office -- that every piece of information security was covered," he explained.  

But the key, he said, was producing it in a way that showed how executives were performing against each other.

The dashboard, known as the executive scorecard, provides every executive within Walmart with a real-time overview of how they're performing.

They're given a grade -- A, B, C, D, and F -- and ranked against other executives.

They have items to action and as Hixson explained, they're eager to make sure they don't drop to the bottom.


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