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Editor's Desk: Saluting security's superstars

Hard-Earned Wisdom

Skill and experience carry our Security 7 award winners to the top of their field.

Over the last few months we've been commemorating two anniversaries that will forever shape U.S. history: September 11th and Hurricane Katrina. Most agree New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani reacted incredibly well to the terrorist attack five years ago. Meanwhile, it seemed the government all but turned its back on the people of New Orleans last year.

One of the key differences was preparedness, and the skills and experience of the people in charge. Giuliani was finishing up his second term as mayor. In contrast, FEMA chief Michael Brown was a political appointee with no experience in disaster preparedness. Technical skills and practical experience are indispensable in the face of calamity.

It was certainly a criterion for us in choosing our seven winners for the Security 7 award. For the second year running, we bestow honors on seven security practitioners in seven vertical markets who have made outstanding contributions to the field. Each of our award winners has decades of experience in this market.

Take CIGNA CISO Craig Shumard. Shumard joined the organization more than 25 years ago and rose up the ranks in different capacities from process management to auditing. As one of the industry's most outspoken practitioners, this type of experience gives him the right and the pulpit to push the security industry toward change.

Another winner, Larry Brock, has worked at DuPont for 27 years. His hard-earned wisdom has helped him influence key decision makers in DuPont to get effective security policies and practices in place. What's more, he has established relationships with security managers outside of DuPont, expanding his influence and sharing best practices with other organizations.

It goes without saying that Dorothy Denning has exerted a huge amount of influence within the security community. As a scholar, Denning's research on intrusion detection, cryptography and database security has had a ripple effect, touching on government leaders, security practitioners and researchers alike. Financial services winner Stephen Bonner also has his roots in academia. Trained as a mathematician working at Oxford University, Bonner stumbled into security working at and now is at Barclays Capital, where he has set up a number of key security programs. Meanwhile, telecommunications winner Robert Garigue of Bell Canada immerses himself in academia. He earned a Ph.D. in knowledge management and has written numerous articles and essays on information security.

Meanwhile, I would call our government winner, Philip Heneghan, the turnaround man. As CISO of USAID he made significant changes to its security program--and I assume ruffled some feathers at the agency along the way. But the changes made its program far stronger, and its FISMA grades underscore the transformation. The agency went from an F in 2002 to an A+ in 2004 and a perfect score in 2005. How was Heneghan able to achieve such success? Through years of working as an auditor for the EPA, GSA and Peace Corps.

Finally, Andre Gold of Continental Airlines represents the new breed of security professional, having experience in both business and security. Gold was responsible for managing the ecommerce infrastructure of Continental, and today oversees information security.

Each of the winners is profiled in this issue, and they'll be honored at our Information Security Decisions show in Chicago later this month. They're testament to the best of the profession and the essential skills needed to succeed: preparedness and experience.

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