Infosec Educators Who Inspire

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In your opinion, which company or person has had the biggest impact on the information security industry within the last 10 years, and why?

A lot has occurred in the past 10 years. There have been many advances in information security, but also many more new information security risks, legal data protection requirements, organized cybercrime, etc. The associated impacts are not just in the technical area, commonly the only area considered, but also in the administrative and physical security areas. There are many companies and individuals that have had significant impact in specific areas within each of these. In looking at those that have the greatest impact in information security throughout all the risk areas, I consider the people and companies that have contributed to all the areas.

I believe the greatest impact has been by those that have inspired and taught the individuals who then went on to do great things in information security innovation. How could they have been inspired without those teaching and informing them? The educators that have inspired those now working in, exceeding in leadership, and developing new and effective information security tools, are the ones I see as ultimately having had the biggest impact in the information security industry.

There are many professors who have deeply influenced multitudes of students that went on to information security success. A few of the professors, three of which I am honored to know personally, and whom I have seen inspire many, include the following fine folks.

Gene Spafford: Through his CERIAS program at Purdue, and his hundreds of talks he’s given over the years, spaf has inspired many to excel in the information security field. He also has contributed much through his own research and lectures. And his contributions go far beyond 10 years. We would not have many of the information security tools we have today if he had not taught and/or inspired those who created them.

Mich Kabay: Mich taught the first information security class I attended back in 1991 or 1992. His high energy, depth of knowledge, and enthusiasm for the topic was infectious. He continues to teach and inspire information security students, at the under-graduate and graduate levels, at Norwich University. Many of his thousands of students have gone on to successful careers, and have built innovative information security tools.

Peter Stephenson: I’ve seen many of the students Peter has taught over the years go into the digital forensics field and excel; not only as a result of his teaching, but also through the knowledge they obtained from his books on digital forensics. We would not have some of the forensics tools that exist today if it without his tutelage and inspiration of others.

Dorothy Denning: She has been a role model for me ever since I was in college, and has also been for thousands of others over the past several decades. She truly is a pioneer in the cryptography, cyber warfare, and data security areas. Her research laid the foundations that the developers in those areas have built upon. She has also served to inspire others, now highly influential and successful, to enter the information security field.

I could continue on, but I’ve already gone way past my length limit. My apologies to anyone I did not mention; I know many more have inspired and launched information security gurus into their careers.

Rebecca Herold | The Privacy Professor | @PrivacyProf

To find out more about our panel members visit the biographies page.


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