Career Profile: President/CEO, R & H Security Consulting LLC

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Name: Howard A. Schmidt Title: President & CEO R & H Security Consulting LLC Age: 57 Education/certifications: BSBA, MAOM, Hon. Doctorate in Humane Letters Hon. CISSP, CISM Tenure in IT industry: 31 years First ever tech job: Tech support on CPM/Commodore BBS systems. Current role: Strategic consultant on information security, critical infrastructure protection and technology to companies and governments worldwide. Professor of Practice at GA Tech Information Security Center (GTISC) and Professor of Research, Idaho State University.
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What's been your best job and why? The best was as director of Computer Crime and Information Warfare for Air Force Office of Special Investigations. I worked with some of the most talented people in the business to develop comprehensive training, a worldwide computer investigative capability and the first DEDICATED computer forensics lab in government. What do you think is the number one non-IT skill security professionals need today? The ability to "translate" security requirements into business enabling terms. What do you credit your career success to:
  1. A mentor during the early days of my Air Force career who told me "the thing that keeps people from succeeding is the fear of failing"
  2. My pilot training, which taught me to always be prepared for the worst but to enjoy the ride
  3. The ability to get an advanced education while working full time and raising a family.
What are the top three skills high-level security professional needs today?
  1. Ability to anticipate how someone could use great technology and compromise it and use it for wrongdoing.
  2. Ability to view and sell security as a core business process instead of a "necessary evil."
  3. Understanding that security and privacy are not about risk avoidance but risk reduction.
What is the biggest difference of working in IT security today than say 10 years ago? 10 years ago, with rare exceptions, security was viewed as a burden on conducting business in the terms of costs, resources and time to market. Today it is seen as a core competency to the success of any business and must be built into the day to day business processes. What's your favorite IT resource site and why? While there are many great IT resource sites, I find that as having pretty much everything I need or a link to where I can find it. What is the best career advice you've ever received? I did not receive this directly but read a quote by Althea Gibson who was quoted as saying "no one can accomplish anything without the help of others." I don't know of a profession that embodies this more than information security. To be successful we all have to work with others. What's the top advice you'd give to a new IT staffer? Do not view IT security as strictly a technology issue but as a comprehensive systems approach involving people, processes and technology. What would you advise someone looking to find the type of role you have or have had in the past? In this day and age, there are a lot of wonderful opportunities, but be flexible and look for the role that gives you personal satisfaction as well as the ability to earn a good living. What is the one career decision you would change if you could? I can't think of any career decisions that I would have changed as each decision I made led to another learning experience, some great, some not so great but each one led to a path that was unique. If you had the choice to jump into any other job, tech or non-tech, what would it be? If I would to jump into another job, I would want to be a part of a non-profit organization that would have the mission of bringing secure technology to areas of the world where technology would have a positive impact on the quality of life of the citizens. Alternatively I would want to be a member of the US House of Representatives. Other recent articles from TechCareers Career Profile: Senior Director of Security Engineering Strategy, Microsoft Hiring Report: 4INFO Wants Skills And A Passion For Mobile Tech
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