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“A Rose by Any Other Name…” – Selecting the Right InfoSec Professional August 22, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in cybersecurity.
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Last week I had an experience that left me chuckling and shaking my head at the same time. I had been approached by a company that had some infosec needs.  According to the person with whom I spoke, they had found me on LinkedIn and wanted to talk.   This company had recently settled with some regulators over some privacy and other regulatory practices and were looking to beef up their security and compliance.   I spoke to one person for about an hour and a half and was asked to send more info.  Later that week I received a call from the person with whom I had spoken an was informed that the company was looking for someone with INFORMATION SECURITY experience.  I (likely not so politely) asked what they thought I did for a living?  His response was that the company was looking for someone with a computer science degree.  It was curious that they did not say an information assurance degree, or cybersecurity degree…or…list an certifications or skills…simply computer science.  Well then…there you have it.  Apparently, this company feels the only real qualification for ‘infosec’ is a computer science degree.   Considering their previous issues, you would think they would have a better handle on info sec and their needs.

When looking for an infosec professional understand that there are technical skills which are certainly important (encryption, configuring firewalls, devices, systems, app layer security etc., etc., etc.)  There are other aspects which are important, as well.  Understanding the compliance mandates as well as the various regulatory requirements and regimes is critical in today’s world.  While not specifically defined as ‘infosec’, an understanding of privacy issues (how data is used) is also important.  While understanding technology is critical, being a skilled infosec professional is about more than simply understanding technology and about more than computer science.  While I may not have been right for that particular engagement for other reasons, the company’s laser focus on a ‘computer science’ degree at the exclusion of the other aspects suggests this company may be focused on the wrong areas.  Maybe they should question why they had issues to begin with.

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