Seeking mentors at the Gartner Information Security Summit

The Gartner Information Security Summit 2009got underway this morning in National Harbor, MD (aka just a bit toofar outside of D.C. to say you are in D.C.).  This morning’s keynoteshad a clear focus on information security roles, career paths, andforecasts for the field.  For the most part, the talks had all theusual comments that we’ve heard before: threats are outpacing defense,training and certification is important, advanced positions require anunderstanding of the business and its objectives, etcetera.  Nothingreally new.

But there was on little nugget of good advice for allinformation security professionals – it wasn’t revolutionary, but itwas a nice reminder.  During the keynote panel “The CISO’s Skill Set”,Joyce Brocaglia, CEO and Founder of the Executive Women’s Forum, Alta Associates, Inc.,stressed the importance of corporate mentorship and coaching.  All toooften, we turn to seminars and certifications to make us betteremployees and advance our careers even though real education is staringus right in the face.

If we expose ourselves just a little by seeking – and moreimportantly, asking – for mentorship, then we can gain practical careeradvice that cuts to the chase and only costs us a few cups of coffee. As Brocaglia suggested, you might not get to meet with your mentorevery month, but you probably will every quarter.  An as herco-panelists rightly noted, by asking for mentorship you stand to forma relationship which sees you advancing in lock-step with your mentor.

Sounds like a good deal to me.

Dave Morgan, Director of Privacy Research at Camouflage Software Inc.
Guest blogger for ComputerWorld Canada at Gartner Information Security Summit 2009
Regular blogger for Cogitatio Privatim by Camouflage