In Memoriam

Alan Paller

November 9, 2021

CISSE honors Alan Pallar's contributions to Cyber Security Education. As an esteemed member of the CISSE community, his presence will be sorely missed. Our condolences to Alan's family, friends, and colleagues.

The Washington Post - Alan Paller Cyber Security Thought Leader passes away. Bethesda, MD, Alan Paller, 76, passed away on November 9, 2021. He will be sorely missed by the many for whom he was a friend and mentor.

Alan was a pioneer in the cybersecurity industry, championing the need for greater education and knowledge for practitioners. His combination of passion, intellect, and ethical rigor was instrumental in bringing more skilled people into the profession. He founded SANS in 1989, a professional cybersecurity training organization that trains more than 40,000 cybersecurity technologists each year. He was also President Emeritus of SANS Technology Institute, the nation's first regionally accredited specialized cybersecurity college and graduate school.

Most recently, Alan founded and chaired the board of the National Cyber Scholarship Foundation, a new organization created to identify cybersecurity talent in high school and college and encourage their development through a fun game designed to expand diversity and opportunity in the tech industry. Through this initiative, many students from diverse backgrounds found a passion and talent they never knew existed.

Alan's vision changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of security practitioners. His contribution to the industry was nothing short of monumental, and even in his last weeks he continued his life-long drive to make the world secure and to build and nurture the next generation.

Alan had a storied career, including testifying before the US Senate and House of Representatives and being selected as an initial member of President Clinton's National Infrastructure Assurance Council. He was chosen by President Bush's Office of Management and Budget and the Federal CIO Council as the 2005 Azimuth Award winner, a lifetime achievement award recognizing outstanding service of a single, non-government person to improving federal information technology. Alan co-chaired the Department of Homeland Security Advisory Committee's 2012 Task Force on Cyber Skills and headed the Task Force on Best Practices in Cybersecurity for the FCC Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council, and he was a member of the NASA Advisory Council.

He is survived by his wife, Marsha Mann Paller, whom he married in 1968; two daughters, Brooke Paller and Channing Paller; a sister, Joan Bines; and two grandsons. Services are private. A private service will be held for the family.

The Paller family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to one of the following organizations to honor Alan's enduring legacy and life's work; National Cyber Scholarship Foundation, Alan Paller Memorial Scholarship Fund; Women in Cyber Security, Alan Paller Memorial Cyber Talent Emergency Fund; and Last Mile Education Fund Alan Paller Memorial Fund.

Published by The Washington Post on Nov. 28, 2021.