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The information security-plus professional

Divina Paredes | March 6, 2013
The next skills shortage in IT -- if it is not happening already -- will be in information security.

The next skills shortage in IT -- if it is not happening already -- will be in information security.

"We continue to see a revolution in information management, the need for additional security not only in traditional information systems," says Eddie Schwartz, chief security officer of RSA. "Traditionally, security officers only have to worry about the security of information on classical networks - whether it is mainframe or documents, or email," says Schwartz. "But now, we have to think about as well about a network that would include toasters and automobiles and medical devices and smart grid devices." 

"There are all kinds of devices that want to connect the internet," says Schwartz. "The 'internet of things' are about all kinds of devices that are not traditionally computers and would collaborate and connect to the internet in ways that we never imagined." Analysts have predicted that by 2020, these connected devices can reach tens of billions and perhaps as many as 200 billion objects. The 'internet of things' is already here, says Schwartz. "If you think about it, within your own house, you have DVD and Blue Ray players that connect to the internet.

You have TVs at home that are smart enabled." He expects the trend to continue with the coming of IPV6 and the availability of more IP addresses. "Everything is going to be internet enabled, you may walk around with 30 IP addresses on your body at some point." 

"Where it gets interesting, however, is there are 'things' on the internet that could impact our lives in a negative way if the adversaries would abuse them," he says. "Imagine if we find a world where everyone is wearing eyeglasses that are internet-enabled and they are relying on this for critical information, and this information is corrupted or there is misinformation provided to these glasses." 

The new security skills, therefore, will require knowledge of law enforcement, and the ability to take large amounts of data and look for outliers." 

Top three disruptors

Tom Corn, chief strategy officer at RSA, outlines the top three disruptive trends affecting the security skills required in networked organisations. Two of them -- mobility and cloud -- relate to change in infrastructure, says Corn.  "We are being faced by securing things we don't own, manage or control." 

A sales representative, for instance, connects to Salesforce on a device not managed by the network. "It is changing the role of IT, and affecting the role of security because you are dealing with things you don't know." The third major disruptor, he says, is the change in attack models.

There is a difference in stopping a missile coming over the border, to espionage. "It changes the nature of the investigation, it is not about, how do I correlate alerts from my firewalls and intrusion systems that are optimised for a missile coming over the wall?" 


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