Security Training for Developers Failing to Keep Up With Threats

By Scot Petersen  |  Posted 2016-03-06 Print this article Print
Development Security

Despite a constant influx of new talent into the industry, there simply aren't enough specialists in application security, and many of today's experts are aging out of the market.

At one RSA session, Shannon Lietz of said that in large enterprises the average ratio of developers to security analysts is as high as 100 to 1.

Chris Wysopal, CTO of security testing service Veracode, cited a large financial services customer that has one security analyst for every 20 applications in its portfolio. Services like Veracode and White Hat Security can help because their remediation services include consultation with coding experts so that developers see where mistakes are being made.

"You need to start before you get to that point," Wysopal said. "You need to understand your application's threat model up-front, how you could be attacked, what data they might go after. Then test before you get hacked versus the threat model."

Stepping into this "mess," as Amjed Saffarini puts it, is CyberVista. Saffarini is CEO of CyberVista, a new business unit of Graham Holdings, better known as the owner of the Kaplan Inc. education service. Saffarini was at RSA to talk about the company's forthcoming cyber-security training program for executives and board members, continuing education for IT practitioners and certification test preparation.

"Walking around RSA you see tons of products and services, and it's difficult to figure out who does what, who are the competitors, who integrates with whom. Frankly, it's a mess," he said. "I can't imagine what is going through the minds of CISOs or chief risk officers thinking how many of these products do I have to buy and are they adding security or creating security problems?"

One approach CyberVista is taking is modeling security training after medical school rotations, in which an intern is exposed to all areas of medicine. So rather than people learning specific tasks, security training is treated as a workforce development issue.

Other than better education, everybody agrees that security must evolve in two ways. First, the industry—vendors and practitioners alike—needs to come together around open threat and breach information sharing. Second, make IT and cyber-security a board-level issue. Corporate leaders can mandate more attention to security right now if they wanted to. Too few do.

Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. He has an extensive background in the technology field. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture, at TechTarget. Before that, he was the director, Editorial Operations, at Ziff Davis Enterprise. While at Ziff Davis Media, he was a writer and editor at eWEEK. No investment advice is offered in his blog. All duties are disclaimed. Scot works for a private investment firm, which may at any time invest in companies whose products are discussed in this blog, and no disclosure of securities transactions will be made.




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