Making it along the security highway

In Information Security ByTeam Acumin / 20th December 2011

How does one succeed in anything, let alone in the information security & risk management industry?

Through CAD?

CAD is, as we understand it, is an acronym for computer aided design, which security professionals might agree makes no sense in the context of progressing in their respective careers.

However, here it stands for something altogether different. Simon Hember, Managing Director of Acumin Consulting recently presented at a well known conference, on the Development of the Information Security Professional, in which he described CAD as:

Clarity – how clear is it in your own mind what it is you want to achieve?

Awareness – is your currency as a professional valuable?

Direction – are you positive that you are heading in the right direction?

Who would have thought that three simple words, backed by three relatively straightforward questions, could be used to weigh up what it is you do in life.

In an age of uncertainty – general economic malaise and the so-called crisis of capitalism – these words take on an ever greater significance.

As security professionals, whether it is working in forensics, cyber security or ethical hacking to name but a few, the choices you make now can have a real lasting impact…for good and for bad.

One of the biggest realisations for such individuals is the pace of change affecting our industry. The choices you make – and indeed, the choices you can make – are affected by what is going on.

In the space of 30 years, we have gone from the introduction of ARPAnet (1969) to the creation of the first computer worm (1979) to the first computer virus (1983) to the invention of the web (1989) to 51 million people globally banking online (2008).

What this highlights is the continuous and in some cases unpredictable changes that affect the industry but also the dualistic quality of things. With every bit of progress – ARPAnet and the web – there’s always an underbelly of wickedness – computer worm and virus respectively. That hasn’t changed – it never will.

As such, you as a professional, well, you’ve never been so in demand. Sure job opportunities will increase, but so too will the competitiveness of securing high-quality, career defining jobs. The kind of work you can look back on when you retire with fondness. “I did some good,” you’ll say reflectively.

Consequently, CAD becomes a part of your philosophy that ensures you know what you’re doing and that you stand out. It’s getting tougher.

“Back in the late 90s when we started recruiting in information security you folks were a scarce commodity,” said Mr Hember.

“You only had to have the word security on your CV and employers were queuing up to hire you. As times have changed, this is not so special anymore.”

Which is not say pack up your bags and exit the building – it’s a wake-up call to take control of your career. Of your destiny if you want hyperbole. In our next blog we discuss how you can start to do this, but for now, a quote to meditate on, from the classic sci-fi movie Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

“The future is not set. There is no fate but what we make for ourselves.”