[ISN] Security training for IT managers

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Mon Nov 18 2002 - 05:27:25 PST

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    By Peter H. Gregory CISSP, CISA 
    NOVEMBER 15, 2002
    In my first column, I wrote about how IT managers must think
    intuitively about security in the enterprise. In the broadest sense,
    there are two ways that an IT manager can acquire this needed wisdom:  
    through on-the-job training and through formal and informal learning.  
    Learning by doing and by making mistakes was the norm in the 1990s,
    but nowadays IT managers are expected to know information security
    best practices and how to apply them in their enterprise. In other
    words, knee-jerk security is no longer acceptable (if it ever was);  
    rather, every IT manager is expected to know what measures need to be
    taken proactively to protect the organization's information assets.
    But an IT manager's intuition must go beyond firewalls, intrusion
    detection, VPNs and antivirus software. While these are compulsory in
    nearly every environment, IT managers must also understand how
    technology supports the organization and how the organization uses
    information to conduct its operations. This is the realm where the IT
    manager needs to understand the risks associated with IT and how to
    influence organizational decision-makers in order to ensure that the
    organization isn't exposed.
    For IT managers fortunate enough to still have a travel budget, there
    are some excellent conferences packed with learning opportunities to
    meet IT managers' needs. I'll describe some of the better conferences
    The Computer Security Institute's NetSec conference, to be held in
    June in New Orleans, offers a rich assortment of learning
    opportunities. That is in addition to the CSI's outstanding conference
    that was held this week.
    The SANS Institute, formerly known for its practitioner-only training
    and topics, offers management tracks at its larger conferences. There
    is an Information Security Officer Training track at the Cyber Defense
    Initiative conference in San Francisco in December. This track
    includes training in security management, policy and the concept of
    defense. The SANS 2003 annual conference in San Diego offers the
    Information Security Officer Training track and also a Security
    Leadership Essentials Bootcamp for Managers track. The San Diego
    conference has 12 tracks in all, so like the CSI conferences, there
    are opportunities to dip into more technical topics.
    The MIS Training Institute (MISTI) holds an annual security conference
    called InfoSec World Conference and Exposition. The next one will be
    held in Orlando in March. Like CSI and SANS, there are plenty of
    sessions for IT managers.
    One of the nice things about the CSI and SANS conferences is that an
    IT manager can duck into any of the hands-on sessions to learn more
    about specific topics, even if others perform the hands-on work.  
    Insight into the work that one's staff performs is always a good
    One often-underused benefit of conferences is the opportunity to
    network with other IT managers. However, based upon the numbers of
    technical and management tracks at CSI and SANS, one might suppose
    that one in 10 conference attendees is a manager.
    Research firm Gartner Inc. hosts security conferences especially for
    those at the manager level and above, so at these conferences you're
    certain to meet your peers. In 2003, there are two conferences
    scheduled, one in May in Chicago and one in September in London. Other
    organizations holding security conferences include Giga Information
    Group Inc., which has its Infosecurity conference in December in New
    York, and the Information Systems Audit and Control Association &
    Foundation. And the InfoSec World Conference and Expo has a CISO
    Executive Summit -- perhaps a bit above the clouds for most IT
    managers, but nonetheless a place where the top security leaders are
    invited to gather, share and learn.
    There are a host of smaller regional security conferences that might
    be closer to where you live and work. One such event is the
    SecureWorld Expo, to be held in Baltimore, Detroit, Atlanta, Seattle,
    Minneapolis and Houston in 2003.
    I will discuss security certifications for managers in my next column.  
    Future columns will discuss books and other resources and some of the
    fundamental truths about information security that will help the IT
    manager make good technology and business decisions.
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