The National Retail Federation (NRF) has hired Christian Beckner, a distinguished Washington, D.C., cybersecurity think-tank expert and former U.S. Senate homeland security adviser, to lead its cybersecurity program to help retailers protect sensitive consumer data nationwide.
“Protecting consumer data is one of retailers’ top priorities, and Christian is a proven cybersecurity veteran with the expertise and experience to help us combat this never-ending battle,” noted Matthew Shay, president and CEO of Washington-based NRF. “His diverse background and in-depth knowledge of technology and security is an unparalleled resource for the retail industry and the consumers they serve.”
In his new role of senior director of retail technology, Beckner will head NRF’s CIO Council, IT Security Council and cybersecurity program, creating strategies, programs and activities to maintain the organization as the retail sector's technology leader and convener. Part of the cybersecurity program is the NRF Retail Information Sharing and Analysis Organization and Threat Alert System, which gathers intelligence on cybersecurity threats against retailers and alerts companies to help them keep data secure.
“I am looking forward to taking the next step in my career working on behalf of an industry with such a unique set of technology and security challenges,” said Beckner. “Retailers work round the clock every day against cyberthreats, and I want to use what I’ve learned over the last two decades to help them address these critical issues head-on.”
Beckner has spent the past five years as deputy director of George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, a think tank where he concentrated on cybersecurity, counterterrorism and homeland security. Before that, he was an associate staff director at the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, where he coordinated oversight and legislation on a wide array of homeland-security and intelligence issues; his assignments included aiding the committee’s investigation into the 2009 Fort Hood terrorist attack. Beckner’s work on cybersecurity and homeland security issues spans nearly 20 years and positions at such organizations as IBM, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the O’Gara Co.