Welcome to our first annual listing of the year's Top 10 Movers & Shakers in security. In the past 12 months, remarkable numbers of security professionals have distinguished themselves, advancing education, technology and best practices in every security field. We'd like to thank everyone who submitted a nomination. It was no easy task to choose these 10, but we feel each of those chosen played a significant role in changing our industry for the better this year.
In the following list of corporate security professionals, government leaders and technology developers, we've tried to capture the spirit of our ever-changing industry. Many of our choices showed a commitment to educating their peers or customers on new security technologies. When technology advances as quickly as it has in security over the past few years, a clear voice of experience and understanding is essential. Convergence leadership is also evident in the backgrounds of many of our Top 10. Convergence will continue to grow in the coming years, and the industry is finding its guides into the New World . We've tried to recognize some of them here.
As 2006 comes to a close, look around at your security industry colleagues. Who is the most forward-thinking? Whose problem solving has made him shine? Whose active involvement in the security community has set her apart? Make a mental note. That person could be in next year's Top 10.
George W. Bush
Obviously the decisions of the President and his administration affect the country, its economy and its people, for better or worse. But President Bush's impact on the security industry has been monumental this year, so much so that we feel it boosts him from a given to a place on our top 10.
Specifically, we're talking about HSPD-12 and the resulting standards. Yes, President Bush last set his hand to Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 in 2004, but this year, as government security users faced the directive's October 27 deadline to begin issuing compliant credentials, the industry truly felt the thunder of the mandate.
Security technology manufacturers have rushed to provide FIPS 201-compliant solutions. It seems everyone wants to be able to offer product that can make the cut, and for good reason. The Stanford Group Co., a research analysis firm, predicted in July that HSPD-12 spending would reach $1.3 billion over five years. Many of the manufacturers that have invested in reaching FIPS 201 compliance also have long arms in the private sector, and by many estimates, this will mean the private sector will begin to see some changes and benefits from the directive as well.
Since smart cards came onto the security and access control scene, consultants and security users have clamored for standards. The government has now taken steps to provide a standard for its own agencies, so why shouldn't private entities benefit from it? As Walter Hamilton, general manager of Saflink and chairman of the International Biometrics Industry Association, said in an interview with ST&D earlier this year, by buying FIPS 201-compliant products, non-government agencies can “save themselves a hell of a lot of money and ensure they're buying products that have already been vetted by the federal government in a way they couldn't possibly afford to do themselves.”
While some other industry professionals don't see the standards exploding onto the private scene, integrators surveyed by RSA Security at its April Smart Cards in Government Conference said they were getting ready for a commercial impact. More than half of the integrators surveyed (57 percent) said their firms were investing to prepare for potential revenue opportunities that may emerge if commercial organizations begin to embrace the standards. Almost one-quarter of these (22 percent) said investments exceed $1 million.
George W. Bush's historical legacy will surely include both praise and vitriol, but in security, his directive will be remembered as a major landmark.