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By Nick Wakeman

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Cybersecurity advocate Alan Paller dead at 76

Alan Paller, one of the earliest advocates for a strong cybersecurity posture, died on Nov. 9. He was 76 years old.

Paller was the founder of the SANS Institute, which focused on training and education of IT professionals. Established in 1989, the organization trains more than 40,000 people a year.

This New York Times obituary describes him as a “gentle but relentless champion for cybersecurity education.”

More than nearly anyone else, he saw education as a first line of cyber defense. He also argued that a weak cyber posture was a threat to both the nation’s competitiveness and its national security.

Paller’s leadership across government and the private sector was recognized multiple times. He won an FCW Federal 100 award in 2009 and had previously served as a judge for the program.

The New York Times article quotes several high-ranking government officials commenting on how effectively he advocated for the cybersecurity workforce.

A second obituary on Legacy.com also offers comments from others who spoke of his loyalty and friendship as well as his love of family.

In addition to the SANS Institute, Paller also founded the National Cyber Scholarship Foundation to identify cybersecurity talent in high schools and colleges. He also was the president emeritus of the SANS Technology Institute, an accredited cybersecurity college and graduate school.

Paller is survived by his wife, Marsha Mann Paller; two daughters, Brooke Paller and Channing Paller; sister Joan Bines; and two grandsons.

Funeral services were held privately.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Nov 18, 2021 at 1:27 PM


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