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Good information security leadership demands focus on shared knowledge

2/05/2014 by


One of information security’s most venerable thought leaders believes the evolution of leadership in the industry has reached a turning point and without a disciplined, holistic approach emphasizing shared knowledge, enterprise security programs will never achieve their desired results.

During a keynote Wednesday at the SANS Security Leadership Summit, SANS Innovation Center director Tony W. Sager drew from his 30-plus years at the National Security Agency’s defense-focused Information Assurance Directorate (IAD)– a decade of which was spent running IAD — to highlight the biggest challenges facing today’s infosec leaders.

Sager said leaders like him with several decades of experience were forged during the 1970s and ’80s, a simpler time when infosec was largely a government endeavor, led by the NSA, tasked with defending against a singular Cold War-era enemy. Society is different today, he said, and despite the rapid pace of technological evolution, the problems facing information security leadership are rooted less in technology and more in managing dynamic business problems and unpredictable users.

“Good judgment comes from great experience; unfortunately, great experience comes from bad judgment,” Sager said. To be an effective infosec leader, “you have to make a lot of mistakes to be able to learn from them.”

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