September 2013 Archives

Not like I've never covered this topic before... here's my latest Gartner blog post...

"Missing the Point, Over and Over and Over Again"
I saw a quaint marketing message from a security vendor recently that made a call for "back to basics." This is a somewhat intriguing piece of advice to give, considering that the basics aren't really getting the job done these days. In fact, for that matter, security in general seems to be flailing about many a day trying to grope through the darkness for solutions to problems we don't really seem to understand or define very well. Unfortunately, we're constantly confronted with a shrillness in sales and marketing pitches that seems to spin us around, pointing us in every direction on the compass, and yet to what end? Context is missing...

Continue reading here...

PhD Opportunity at GWU

Howdy! This is a non-Gartner-related post to share an announcement from my grad school advisor, Dr. Julie Ryan. GWU will offer a PhD cohort program starting in 2014, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in exchange for 3 years of full-time government service.

Full details:

The volatile cybersecurity environment requires an executive cyber corps that is equipped with knowledge of technical cybersecurity concepts, the organizational and behavioral phenomena that will impact the successful implementation of cybersecurity initiatives, and advanced research and analytical skills that will allow them to adapt strategies in the face of evolving and increasingly complex threats.

HOLISTiC, the pilot NSF Executive Cyber Corps© program, is educating this new breed of public sector cybersecurity leaders through the George Washington University Executive Leadership Doctoral Program (ELP). The pilot program will provide full tuition scholarships for 6 students to join the 26th cohort of ELP set to begin in 2014. HOLISTiC is a collaboration between the Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD) and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) at GW. Students will earn an Ed.D. in Human and Organizational Learning from GSEHD with elective courses through SEAS.

The executive format, which structures courses during one weekend per month and an intensive annual residency period, allows learners to simultaneously engage in fulltime study and work. Upon completion of their 3-­‐year degree program, students will join the ranks of the federal executive cyber corps.

The HOLISTiC Executive Cyber Corps© program (NSF Award #1241647) is (1) producing cybersecurity leaders who have a strong technical foundation; expertise in key human and organizational concepts such as risk, information and change management; and a portfolio of advanced research and analysis skills; (2) fostering a community of practice that engages students and cybersecurity experts in collective dialogue to drive the development of practically-­‐based research; and (3) establishing HOLISTiC as a model program of study.

Executive Cyber Corps© members will earn a doctorate through the GW Executive Leadership Doctoral Program with full tuition support from the NSF Cyber Corps© program.

To learn more, contact: Dr. Diana Burley or Dr. Julie Ryan at [email protected]


  • Cohort-‐based structure that engages students in a collective learning experience; allowing them to engage in reflective practice and leverage the collective expertise of fellow students.

  • Executive­‐style format that structures courses one weekend per month with an annual residency period allows students to continue working full time during the degree program.

  • Research-‐based, practically-­‐oriented dissertation is integrated into the program structure enabling degree completion in 3 years.

  • Community of practice with leading cybersecurity practitioners from government and industry, faculty experts in cybersecurity workforce development and policy, and participation in the cyber corps network.

  • Blending of technical, organizational, and policy-­‐related cybersecurity content with inter-­‐ disciplinary faculty experts and cybersecurity practitioners.

The HOLISTiC Executive Cyber Corps© program (NSF Award #1241647) is:

  • Producing cybersecurity leaders who have a strong technical foundation; expertise in key human and organizational concepts such as risk, information and change management; and a portfolio of advanced research and analysis skills;

  • Fostering a community of practice that engages students and cybersecurity experts in collective dialogue to drive the development of practically-­‐based research; and

GW HOLISTiC Executive CyberCorps© Program Admission and Program Requirements

The HOLISTiC Executive CyberCorps© Program is a National Science Foundation (NSF) Federal Cyber Service: Scholarship for Service scholarship (Cyber Corps) program. Executive CyberCorps© scholarships provide full tuition and a professional development allowance for three years.

Admission Requirements

Candidates must apply to both the academic and the scholarship programs:

  • ELP Application (requirements include but are not limited to:

    • Master's degree with a minimum 3.3 GPA on a 4.0 scale

    • Recent (less than 5 years) GRE, GMAT or MAT test scores (50th% or above)

    • At least five years of pertinent professional work experience

    • Personal interview, statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation (3)

For detailed program application information:

  • Supplementary HOLISTiC Executive CyberCorps© Scholarship application:

    • Proof of US Citizenship

    • Demonstrated experience and expertise in cybersecurity

    • Supplemental essay that demonstrates sophisticated writing and analytical skill

    • Interview with HOLISTiC Executive CyberCorps© interview team

Program Requirements

HOLISTiC Executive CyberCorps© students must successfully complete all Executive Leadership Doctoral Program (ELP) requirements in order to earn the degree of Doctor of Education in Human and Organizational Learning (Ed.D. in HOL).

In addition, scholarship recipients must do the following:

  • Participate in Executive CyberCorps activities; including required seminars, community of practice, and guest speakers.
  • Attend and actively participate in at least 1 national conference each year;
  • Conduct 2 summer research projects in collaboration with program faculty; and

New post on my Gartner blog...

Understanding "Why" Aids Policy Conformance

When it comes to writing, I'm a bit of a traditionalist (and, frankly, snob;). I like the Oxford comma and I'm particularly fond of using "e.g." and "i.e.". However, in my recent past and current role, such things are frowned upon. As a matter of style guide writing convention, we prefer "for example" instead of "e.g." Policies like this always make me bristle a bit; especially when the answer to "Why are we writing in this less formal manner?" is along the lines of "It's policy."

Continue reading here...

My latest Gartner blog post: "AuthN TNG: Many Factors, Confidence, and Risk Scoring"

"I've been mulling over authentication (and, to a degree, privacy) a bit the last couple weeks and wanted to toss a couple thoughts out there; especially in light of Apple's iPhone announcements this week that included revealing their Touch ID fingerprint scanner for authentication. All of this further combines with my reading Aaron Pogue's Ghost Targets series, in which he imagines a future where humanity has opted into low-privacy, high-assurance total surveillance society for the up-sides (I'll leave the privacy side of this debate for another date;). But enough caveat and preamble... let's get to the good stuff!"

Continue reading here...

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