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Secure360: Why Are We Losing The Struggle To Secure IT Systems?

Today, at the Secure360 Conference in St. Paul, MN Alan Paller, director of research at the SANS Institute explained what may be the nation's missing ingredient when it comes to keeping both government and private sector run IT systems secure.
Today, at the Secure360 Conference in St. Paul, MN Alan Paller, director of research at the SANS Institute explained what may be the nation's missing ingredient when it comes to keeping both government and private sector run IT systems secure.According to Paller - and I happen to agree on this point - the primary problem securing systems from attack isn't a technological problem - it's a people problem. We need to train more people who are adept at various disciplines of security: hacking, pen testing, application security, cryptography, and inspection of network traffic. "We have a huge problem when it comes to skills such as deep packet inspection," Paller said during his keynote. "It's actually a serious national problem."

If the news stories covering breaches at government agencies, and public companies such as those that hit Google, Adobe and about 100 other firms earlier this year are any indication saying it's a serious national problem seems an understatement. Standing on the outside of these incidents it seems we're leaking national secrets and corporate intellectual property as rapidly as the retail industry leaks credit card numbers.

What did Paller suggest we do about it? Find the best and brightest that can be found to meet the challenge. And that's not done through questionable security certificates, Paller says. On that, I also agree: Those certificates don't show how skilled someone is, or how good they're likely to be at their job.

One way to find talent, Paller said, is through contests, such as the U.S. Cyber Challenge. "The talented will naturally come to the top," he says.

And what's the best way for government agency or company to build and deploy a talented security team? Paller says as a highly-trained group of security specialists - application security, penetration assessments, network security, etc. - who are cross trained to do all of the various skills needed in the organization."

Absolutely, or you can also choose to continue being an easy target.

For my security and technology observations throughout the day, find me on Twitter.

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