Wednesday, September 14

The Most Powerful Voices in Security

It's been almost a week since SYS-CON Media's Jim Kaskade included me in their list of the 100 Most Powerful Voices in Security. Since then, as you might imagine, it's been an absolute media circus for me. People are calling and emailing to ask my advice and there are young security analysts camped outside my home. But, I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that it's not a list of the most knowledgeable practitioners of security. This is essentially acknowledgement of having a "powerful voice". Growing up, people phrased it differently as "you've got a big mouth".

Levity aside, I think the list is a great idea. It's always good to consolidate disparate information. But the formula for MPV, as Kaskade writes, is based on reach and not knowledge, usefulness of analysis, or trustworthiness. I'd like to dream that I might end up on one of those lists some day.

Kaskade's use of the word 'influencers' brought me right back to Gladwell's book The Tipping Point and made me wonder if this is really a list written for marketers rather than for security decision makers. Even if that is the case, then it's probably a good idea to follow the people on the list as they might identify emerging trends - perhaps by analysis, but as Gladwell points out, perhaps by causation (whether intentional or not).

Being a first attempt, Kaskade has already identified a few omissions and I'm sure everyone has opinions on others that should be included. For example, Art Coviello of RSA gives the opening keynote address at the biggest conference in the security industry every year and runs the security division of one of the world's biggest data storage and management companies. That's reach. And I can call almost anyone I know in the Identity space and they'll know what topic was covered in Dave Kearns' last NetworkWorld newsletter. A niche, perhaps, but certainly reach.

Having said all that, I'm still honored that anyone would consider me in such a list. Being included in any list with that group of individuals is humbling to say the least. It makes me feel like I need to work harder to earn the spot.

What's your take?