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Hire someone complex

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SANS - Survey on application security programs

Hire someone complex

Complexity is all around us, more than ever before - and yet some very smart people can still slip in and out of the world's most secure servers and workstations with ease. Other smart people know about this, and plead with their managers to do something about it. People most in the know too often have the least amount of power to do anything. In fact, the tables should be turned.

The largest computer companies like Cisco, Oracle, Google, Symantec and Microsoft should try a little harder to proactively hire smart, independent security people, protect themselves, and then use the assimilated brainpower to develop products and services that earn enormous sums of money for their organization. Google and Microsoft are already well-known for doing this, but there's still room for much more. Particularly those people who can demonstrate that they have strong ethics and morals should be on that list. Still don't see the threat?

The Cisco routers that hold up your company's infrastructure may already be under someone else's control. A generation four Windows rootkit could lead to a pot of gold - and might remain undetected for years. Rest assured that all those unpatched Oracle hacks could lead to another ten pots of gold, among the jewels of your enterprise's database.

A Symantec security gateway turned into its evil twin could really hurt detection efforts, and give you a false sense of security to boot. Even after a stealthy intrusion is one day discovered, and the FBI or Interpol are brought in, the very forensic tools they use can be turned against them, with an electronic time bomb that explodes when specific forensic tools are used. There is no safe haven in the security world, only risk mitigation and one's hope for the best.

The brain-drain

I enjoy reading people complain about brain-drain, as if we all work for some altruistic reason that is completely absent from any financial gain. Get with it, this is business. Double my salary and offer me a position higher up in your organization, and I'd be the first one to leave. It's not brain-drain, it's common sense.

Of course, this is all oversimplified, and no one in the security industry wants to focus on the simple things. We all enjoy the fact that security is growing evermore complex; it drives us to do what we do, and it pays the bills. But the financial incentives on both sides of the fence is growing, and the payouts are increasingly great. Companies need to spend more money on security, protecting those billions in profits using the greatest resource that is available: hiring smart people. Without them, all those expensive security products will go to waste.

© SecurityFocus

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