So Why Do We Need Security Professionals, Anyway?

So, why do we do what we do, and what if we couldn’t do it anymore? I have reinvented myself so many times over the years that anyone reading my curriculum vitae would imagine I was the victim of identity theft. Stints in the Teamsters, Longshoremen, and building unions have given me my cultured charm while careers as a journalist, coach, and teacher have provided petty erudition. I came to technology relatively late in the game, and only at my wife’s urging – her reasoning – I am a Virgo who alphabetizes the spices in the kitchen cabinet – of course it would be a perfect fit – go figure. I have run finance, customer service, and operations teams, as well as several reporting shops.

I got into Information Security less than 10 years ago when my current boss (bless his technology-driven heart) thought I had an interesting background and hired me to deliver a global identity management program for a not-to-be-named (think Boston-based, highly secretive, fiercely private – don’t worry, it will come to you) financial services company. I was a stranger in a strange land where everyone seemed related – well their last names were all CISSP, except for a few CISM or CISA cousins. Over time, I absorbed the culture, but like the mutt that I am, could never become a “made man”. In fact, even today, when the talk turns to the OSI stack or syslog, I generally remember I have a blog article to write or some personal dental surgery to perform.

But as a person who has filled a variety of roles in academic, military, athletic, non-profit, private, and public entities, I look with tremendous respect at those who have built a career in information security and wonder what they would do if organizations reengineered security. I have led many teams over the years and have always tried to focus on achieving the goals that ensures the organization’s success (no job if they go out of business!), but, more important, have tried to nurture in each team member a sense of ownership of their role and their future.

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