Equifax is "investing at record levels" to become a leader in data analytics, security and technology under its Equifax 2020 technology plan, CEO Mark Begor said during the company's earnings call last week.
Coming off of a major security breach two years ago, the company had to prioritize information security improvements last year. But Equifax is in the midst of a multiyear effort to become a data and technology leader, transforming not only customer-facing systems but also back-end technology.
The company spent around $307 million on security and technology last year, and this year executives expect $300 million more in nonrecurring technology transformation expenses.
Core to the 2020 framework is solidifying Equifax's role as a top data analytics technology company, establishing its leadership in data security and data analytics, and creating a customer-centric culture, Begor said.
Ingesting data faster and improving customer access to that data is critical for a competitive advantage, and the company is working to break down the silos between its technologies and databases with a single data fabric, according to Begor.
Moving applications and systems to the public cloud will further allow the company to leverage its technology across global markets and save on costs.
Equifax's 2020 strategy plan, launched in late 2018, is built around three principles, according to Begor:
- A cloud-first and cloud-native focus: The company wants to move legacy mainframe and server technology to the public cloud.
- Building on application services principles: Equifax is looking to create services and components easily assembled or interconnected with standard APIs, a task that requires "a tremendous amount of discipline."
- A "relentless focus on rationalization": The company is decommissioning legacy applications, servers, data centers and platforms as it moves to stronger security posture and streamlined operational costs.
Critical to pulling off all of these principles is bringing in the necessary talent.
Bryson Koehler joined Equifax as CTO last summer following technical leadership positions at IBM and The Weather Company. Koehler has already "upgraded" more than half of his leadership team with talent from leading technology organizations to carry out the transformation, Begor said.
Equifax is implementing a common data fabric built on Google Cloud Platform's virtual private cloud environment; moving customer-supporting services and applications to a cloud native, public cloud environment; and moving corporate applications to SaaS services and the public cloud.
Executives recognized that 2018 was difficult for the company as the impact of the 2017 data breach continued to affect many sides of the business. Security improvements dominated many technology improvements for the first half of the year.
Creating a security-first, companywide culture and improving data security infrastructure were big steps for the company moving forward from the breach, Begor said. The company brought on Jamil Farshchi, former CISO of Home Depot, following the breach to improve security posture.
Farshchi, CIO Dive's CISO of the Year for 2018, created a fusion center at Equifax to combine IT and physical security teams and is on a trust-rebuilding mission to reestablish the company's credibility with customers.