Equifax Chief Information Security Officer Jamil Farshchi joined Jason Dean, Global Technology Editor of the Wall Street Journal, for a virtual discussion at the Journal’s CIO Network Summit. Their focus: Farshchi’s leadership of the security function at Equifax, how we've strengthened our security posture since the 2017 cybersecurity incident, and the advantages gained from our $1.5 billion security and cloud technology transformation.
The Wall Street Journal’s CIO Network connects the heads of technology from the world’s most influential companies to examine their role as business leaders and to prepare for what’s next. In addition to Farshchi, this year’s Summit featured leaders from Amazon, HP, Walmart, Workday, and Zoom.
In the aftermath of the 2017 cybersecurity incident, Equifax emphasized talent and focused on getting the right team in place, said Farshchi. During the months that followed, Equifax hired more than 1,000 new employees in technology and security teams – people with highly-specialized, technical skills who have helped our company develop into a world-class security organization.
“We doubled down to make sure that everyone throughout the organization understood our security strategy,” said Farschi. A key part of that effort was embedding security into everything at Equifax – from product development, to our merger and acquisition decisions, to our incentive compensation plans.
Another significant enabler of Equifax’s security transformation has been the leadership of the company’s Board of Directors. “The level of engagement and thoughtfulness we have from our Board is a really critical component to us establishing a successful security program,” added Farshchi.
Equifax Board members participate in training sessions regarding regulatory compliance, cybersecurity, crisis management planning, and governance issues. Board members also participate in regular tabletop simulations. “Our philosophy is that we need to be prepared no matter what,” said Farshchi. “If you’re prepared for it, in the worst case scenario, you’re going to be able to minimize whatever impact you may or may not face.”
Equifax’s investment in the cloud has been an important factor in its security leadership as well. “As part of our transformation, the cloud will provide better scalability, better uptime, and will allow me to see the effectiveness of every control, in real-time, all the time,” said Farshchi.
Equifax’s cloud technology is a critical enabler to future-proofing the company, and the cloud has the opportunity to provide far better security than on-premise environments. “The cloud opens up a lot of doors and provides meaningful security benefits for our organization.”