Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Craig Lowell, Carmen Gonzalez, AppNeta Blog

Blog Feed Post

Five Ways to Hire an InfoSec Consultant

Five Ways to Hire an InfoSec Consultant
By: Bill Mathews

This is not a nice post. This is not a post about posing great interview questions or how to tell if someone can actually do the job. No, this is a post about how to watch out for people you want to hire to help your company. You know the ones – the con-sultants, the slick ones, the rockstars, the ones you should fear. Some of these guys can be worse than the actual bad guys and here are five things to look for when you’re trying to spot them.

1) Shortcuts?

Are they promising you the world? One thing about information security that you should know upfront: there are absolutely no magic bullets. Anyone promising you one from a product or a particular process is lying to you. It requires a blend of products and a blend of methods, no shortcuts will help you – period.

2) Rock Out with Your NOC Out

Are they rockstars? So-called rockstars happen in every industry, it is just human nature and cannot be helped. The problem I’ve seen with most rockstars (almost universally in infosec) is that they are not the least bit interested in your problems. They are interested in getting paid and increasing their already big, and in most cases, undeserved reputations. You really have to be careful with these folks – a lot of them are just naturally talented public speakers so they get it on at various conferences and accumulate massive Twitter followings, making them think that those alone qualify them to dispense advice on applications and networks. In most cases, and sadly I’m not overgeneralizing here, they’ve never had any operational roles so they don’t really know what works and what doesn’t. So if it isn’t in the buzzword dictionary sitting in their blazer pocket, it just isn’t valid in their world. You’ll know these people by their insistence that whatever you’re currently doing is wrong – you should be using the method they developed or their tool they wrote because that is the only way to solve your problem. They won’t really listen to you, usually just nodding along with whatever you say until you hit the keyword they need in order to tell you how cool they are. Of course there are some “good” rockstars, so if you’re set on hiring an allstar look for one who has had operational roles in the past and actually appears to listen. Chance are though if they do that then they are very bad rockstars.

3) Lazy Web

Watch the website. Does it ever change? Chances are if they don’t have time to devote to their own website they’ll never get time to devote to protecting yours. Avoid the companies that never update their website or only list their products and services. Try to find one that offers practical advice and is active in the security community. When you’re looking for an outside company to help with your information security, try to find one that has something of their own to protect – a web service or their own network, many do not. This is a really self-serving one because, well, this is how our website is set up and we have a fairly sophisticated network of our own that we protect.

4) Agree to Disagree

Are they really just that agreeable? Good security people are contrarians, they just are. It is either the industry that attracts them or it creates them, either way few people in it are described as agreeable. If you’re in a pre-sales meeting and the sales person or consultant is constantly agreeing with everything you say, ask them what you need to hire them for if everything you’re doing is so right. I use this technique on a lot of our vendors because they are constantly nodding along and agreeing with everything we’re doing. They’re usually taken aback by that question but it really tells you who you’re dealing with. You need to know, upfront, what they are going to really be able to help you with. It is dangerous to have a security person agreeing with you all the time. Conversely, they shouldn’t be disagreeable for the sake of being disagreeable, you have to strike a balance. This is a tough one because, as I said, the industry is filled with both contrarians and slick-haired salespeople. You need the former but should forego the latter. Someone can be a skeptic or a contrarian without being completely disagreeable or being a miserable person to be around.

5) Auditors in Disguse

Beware the auditor in a security person’s clothing. There are literally thousands of information security consulting companies out there. There are probably as many ways to categorize them as there are letters in the alphabet but let’s take a look at just two. The technical group and the auditor group. Now let me say upfront that I’m not denigrating real auditors here, the people that really do the audit job, I’m denigrating the pretenders here. You will find this very prevalent with companies that do penetration testing or vulnerability assessments. For a proper penetration test you really need a good technical person that can communicate both the technical risks and the business issues associated with that risk or exploit. You’ll be hard pressed to find this in just one person, so you want to hire someone with a penetration testing team as opposed to just some solo testers acting as a team. You’ll have a rough time finding the right team and you’re bound to make a few mistakes, but you really do need the best of both worlds.

Now penetration testing service companies come in two flavors – again the very technical and the not-so-technical auditing tester. Penetration testing is difficult and is very technical, so you cannot rely on a person just checking boxes to call your network well tested. You need someone who is doing more than just running a scanner and calling it done, you need a person who can actually exploit the vulnerabilities found. This is a skill that requires some sophistication and usually doesn’t lend itself well to “normal” people. You never want an auditor performing a penetration test and, vice versa, you would never want a penetration tester performing an audit. Why these two things are fused together so much is beyond me. If you’re hiring for a penetration testing company then hire for that, if you just need some audit work then hire for that – but do not hire one set of people and think you’re done, they are entirely different skills.

Of course, there is no 100% guarantee when it comes to the hiring process – you almost never see their true colors until it’s just too late. Be sure to keep sharp and use a little common sense when following these guidelines. If there’s anything else you think you should look out for, leave it in the comments!

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Hurricane Labs

Christina O’Neill has been working in the information security field for 3 years. She is a board member for the Northern Ohio InfraGard Members Alliance and a committee member for the Information Security Summit, a conference held once a year for information security and physical security professionals.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2017 New York The 7th Internet of @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. Chris Matthieu is the co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, a revolutionary real-time IoT platform recently acquired by Citrix. Octoblu connects things, systems, people and clouds to a global mesh network allowing users to automate and control design flo...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2017 New York. The 20th Cloud Expo and 7th @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Internet to enable us all to im...
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
An IoT product’s log files speak volumes about what’s happening with your products in the field, pinpointing current and potential issues, and enabling you to predict failures and save millions of dollars in inventory. But until recently, no one knew how to listen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dan Gettens, Chief Research Officer at OnProcess, discussed recent research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and OnProcess Technology, where MIT created a new, breakthrough analytics model for ...
"At ROHA we develop an app called Catcha. It was developed after we spent a year meeting with, talking to, interacting with senior citizens watching them use their smartphones and talking to them about how they use their smartphones so we could get to know their smartphone behavior," explained Dave Woods, Chief Innovation Officer at ROHA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, drew together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established compa...
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web co...
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...