SANS Institute Founder Dies

SANS Institute Founder Dies

American cybersecurity training advocate, technologist, and entrepreneur Alan Terry Paller has died at the age of 76. 

Paller’s death occurred on November 9 at his home in Bethesda, Maryland. His passing was announced by the Bethesda-based SANS Institute, which Paller and his wife, Marsha Mann Paller, founded in 1989.

The Institute went on to become one of the world’s leading nongovernment cybersecurity training programs. 

Paller was born in Indianapolis on September 17, 1945, to an engineer and a high school English teacher. In 1967, he graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Paller completed a master’s degree in engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1968. 

He began his career in the United States Navy, using computers to design ships. He went on to co-found a computer timeshare business in Hawaii, run a consultancy in applied computer graphics technology, and work for the Institute for Defense Analysis on missile-defense issues.

Cybersecurity was described by Paller as an “existential issue.” He was a firm believer in the use of regulation to improve America’s cybersecurity posture and earned a reputation as one of cybersecurity’s earliest cheerleaders. 

Speaking to the Washington Post in 2012, Paller said of cybersecurity: “Our future

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