Eddie Schwartz, former chief security officer at Netwitness, a company recently acquired by EMC, has been named chief security officer of the storage vendor's RSA security division. In his new role, Schwartz will likely oversee both virtual and physical security efforts at RSA.

EMC did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment on the appointment. However, Schwartz appeared to confirm his new role on his LinkedIn profile and in twitter postings.

Schwartz, whose experience includes stints as the first CISO at Nationwide, and as a Foreign Service Officer at the US State Department, will have his work cut out for him in his new role.

RSA is struggling to stem damage resulting from a data breach that compromised information on the company's SecurID two factor authentication technology earlier this year. Though the company has downplayed the severity of the breach, concerns about the reliability of SecurID have been growing.

The concerns have been fuelled by defence contractor Lockheed Martin's recent disclosure that it was the target of a sophisticated cyber attack, involving the use of compromised SecurID tokens. Unconfirmed reports about other defence contractors being similarly attacked have only added to RSA's woes.

"Eddie is taking on this role at a critical time for RSA," said Richard Stiennon, an analyst with IT-Harvest. "Not only have they experienced a major targeted attack that stole their most valuable digital assets, but now they are facing customer doubts about the integrity of their SecurID tokens," he said.

Schwartz' previous experience as CSO at Netwitness should serve him well, Stiennon said.

Netwitness, which EMC acquired shortly after the RSA breach, owns what many consider to be an industry leading technology for helping companies investigate and mitigate network intrusions.

"[Schwartz's] previous experience in operations and his experience at Netwitness has given him unique insight into advanced targeted attacks at some of the largest government and commercial entities in the world," Stiennon said.

Unlike most CSOs, Schwartz will likely have a public facing role, at least initially. RSA wants him to help quell customer concerns about SecurID, Stiennon added.