Click here to close now.


Agile Computing Authors: Dana Gardner, Pat Romanski, Harry Trott, Elizabeth White, Steve Watts

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
We are rapidly moving to a brave new world of interconnected smart homes, cars, offices and factories known as the Internet of Things (IoT). Sensors and monitoring devices will touch every part of our lives. Let's take a closer look at the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things is a worldwide network of objects and devices connected to the Internet. They are electronics, sensors, software and more. These objects connect to the Internet and can be controlled remotely via apps and programs. Because they can be accessed via the Internet, these devices create a tremendous opportunity to inte...
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, explored the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context with p...
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, demonstrated examples of com...
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningful and actionable insights. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a fou...
Continuous processes around the development and deployment of applications are both impacted by -- and a benefit to -- the Internet of Things trend. To help better understand the relationship between DevOps and a plethora of new end-devices and data please welcome Gary Gruver, consultant, author and a former IT executive who has led many large-scale IT transformation projects, and John Jeremiah, Technology Evangelist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), on Twitter at @j_jeremiah. The discussion is moderated by me, Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNub’s Data Stream Network.
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" in this scenario: microservice A (releases daily) depends on a couple of additions to backend B (re...
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.