Twenty years of reporting on information security


Twenty years seems like a long time. May and June 1989 brought the Tiananmen Square protests. Seinfeld, the TV show about nothing, premiered in July, and Hurricane Hugo did $7 billion damage in September. In computing, Tim Berners-Lee had not yet introduced the World Wide Web to the world (that would come a year later in 1990), John McAfee founded McAfee Associates, and Atari introduced Portfolio, the smallest portable computer of the time.

Twenty years ago, with co-author Barbara Clifford, I had just published my first book, dBXL and Quicksilver Programming – Beyond dBase. I was writing, consulting and lecturing and I had not quite begun my career with SC Magazine. Today, almost nobody remembers dBXL and Quicksilver, while SC Magazine is the most mature and the most popular magazine of its type in the world. And I'm still here.

But 20 years in computing is an eternity. And it has brought a huge number of changes in how we build and protect computing systems.

Nobody in our industry does anything alone. We all need our predecessors and our colleagues. Nowhere is this observation more obvious than in this 20th anniversary issue. I have had the distinct pleasure of working with some of my colleagues old and new in preparing the products section of the magazine for you. It has been an interesting mix of consultants, academics, corporate participants and, yes, one student.

My “most excellent” student research assistant from Norwich University, Emily Staats, put the timeline together for this special issue, along with SC Magazine staff. My longtime friend and collaborator, Mich Kabay, helped me connect to old colleagues with whom I had lost contact. And, my favorite editor, Illena Armstrong, never missed a chance to email me with “just one more thing we should do for this issue.” I think that I got them all in. And, of course, Judy Traub, our editorial assistant, stepped in, as she often does, at just the right moments to save my bacon.

All that makes this one a special issue for me. There is a bit of everything here in our products section. We have over 30 contributors to a special piece on the evolution of the security business assembled on a product group basis. This is featured on the SC Magazine website, And there it is: The 20 security products that SC Magazine and I have liked best over the past 20 years.

Not only will you enjoy this issue – my unabashed prediction – you are probably going to save it because we all save those things that we find nostalgic. And, for all of its solid information, considered points of view and contributions from the true builders of our profession, this issue will be nostalgic for many of us.

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