Lance Spitzner: Making security simple – FISSEA NIST Conference

Lance Spitzner: Making Security Simple - FISSEA NIST Conference - Paubox
Lance Spitzner: “We’re nothing more than another operating system. The HumanOS.”

Day two of the 31st Annual FISSEA conference at NIST kicked off with a Keynote presentation from Lance Spitzner, Director of Security Awareness at SANS.

His Keynote was titled: Making Security Simple – It’s Really, Really Hard.

Lance was fired up on stage, which in turn got me fired up.

I was especially encouraged to hear that when it comes to enhancing security, Lance strongly recommends a focus on making the new behavior as simple as possible. In the case of Paubox and our approach to seamless encryption and HIPAA compliant email, there is no new behavior for senders to learn.

Here are my takeaways and pics from his energetic presentation:

  • Lance outlined his 3 step process for making Cybersecurity Simple.
  • Changing human behavior is key to managing risk.
  • Lance Spitzner founded the “Honeynet Project” in 1999.
  • The best security awareness officers often do not have technical backgrounds.
  • “Once people interact with technology, then the game radically shifts.”
  • In general, people are smart.
  • Defense organizations tend to have the strongest security programs. At the other end of the spectrum, manufacturing firms.
  • You can download his presentation here


Lance Spitzner’s Three Steps to Making Cybersecurity Simple:

  1. Teach as little as possible (be wary of cognitive overload).
  2. Make the new behavior as simple as possible.
  3. It has to be “Sue” proof (Can a non-technical person understand it?).

20 years ago, it was easy to hack default Windows OS installs.
Lance Spitzner: Making Security Simple - FISSEA NIST Conference


The BJ Fogg Behavior Model – Curse of Knowledge: The more of an expert you are at something, the worse you are at communicating it
Lance Spitzner: Making Security Simple - FISSEA NIST Conference


“Every behavior has a cost.” Used disabling of auto-complete within Outlook at the world’s largest bank as an example
Lance Spitzner: Making Security Simple - FISSEA NIST Conference


Lance spent a good chunk of time (rightly so) on NIST Special Publication 800-63B
Lance Spitzner: Making Security Simple - FISSEA NIST Conference


Lance reported only 10% of Google Workspace users are using 2FA (two-factor authentication)
Lance Spitzner: Making Security Simple - FISSEA NIST Conference


Infographics are great for communicating information
Lance Spitzner: Making Security Simple - FISSEA NIST Conference


Lance’s 3 Takeaways for Making Security Simple (Hint: It’s Really, Really Hard)
Lance Spitzner: Making Security Simple - FISSEA NIST Conference

Also, thanks for fielding my question Lance!

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About the author

Hoala Greevy

Founder CEO Paubox. Kayak fishing when I can.

Read more by Hoala Greevy

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EmailEncryption BestMeetsRequirements MeetsRequirements
SecureEmailGateway MostImplementable Total
SecureEmailGateway Leader Leader
SecureEmailGateway EasiestToUse EaseOfUse
SecureEmailGateway EasiestAdmin EaseOfAdmin
SecureEmailGateway BestUsability Total
SecureEmailGateway BestResults Total
SecureEmailGateway BestRelationship Total
EmailEncryption UsersMostLikelyToRecommend Nps
EmailEncryption MomentumLeader Leader
SecureEmailGateway BestSupport Mid Market QualityOfSupport