Cyber security boot camp creates “highly-skilled cyber defenders” in just eight weeks

The first SANS Cyber Academy runs in September 2015

The first SANS Cyber Academy runs in September 2015

The “world’s first intensive cyber boot camp” has been launched to quickly deliver a new band of highly-trained online defenders who can take up the growing number of cyber security roles organisations are struggling to fill.

The SANS Cyber Academy has been created in response to pressing demand from business and Government for a way to quickly equip recent graduates with the specific skills needed to deal with today’s cyber threat.

It compresses two years’ worth of cyber security training and experience into just eight weeks. Those who complete the course will be armed with the skills needed to walk straight into a cyber security role and offer considerable and immediate impact to the business.

“The cyber skills gap is growing and the graduate pipeline will not meet demand in the short term,” explained Andrew Smith, EMEA managing director at the SANS Institute. “This is particularly critical in Government departments and the defence industry which are top targets for cyber criminals, cyber espionage, activists and terrorists. We need to create new skilled professionals very quickly and not just hire from the somewhat limited existing pool.”

Smith went on to state: “We’ve seen many superb long-term cyber skills initiatives that seek to build the future talent pool, but until now there has been no way to address the immediate skills gap within weeks rather than years.”

The SANS Cyber Academy will help those individuals keen on beginning a career in cyber security to very quickly acquire the skills necessary to meet today’s cyber threat and begin working immediately in a cyber security team – a process that usually takes 24 months.

Skills of the modern cyber defender

The eight-week course will teach candidates how hackers operate and how to respond when things go wrong. Delegates will build a fully-functioning business network – first badly and then correctly – to understand the ways in which hackers might infiltrate the enterprise.

They will carry out hands-on exercises including hacking a drone to find flaws in unfamiliar systems and deal with a virus outbreak specifically written to test their skills.

James Lyne: lead instructor and curriculum author

James Lyne: lead instructor and curriculum author

In addition, candidates will have to make security policy recommendations to ‘management’ in order to prevent problems from reoccurring.

Candidates will sit both GCIH and GSEC certifications, themselves world-renowned benchmarks of cyber security expertise.

James Lyne, lead instructor and curriculum author, outlined: “This course will teach many practical skills. It provides a safe environment in which to play with malicious code that most people will never get their hands on. This is a radical new way of developing cyber skills and absolutely the best mechanism for accelerating the development of recent graduates.”

Right people for the job

To ensure only suitable candidates join the highly intensive course, advanced psychometric testing has been developed to identify behavioural and cognitive traits that indicate high probability of success in cyber security.

In essence, these tests examine logical problem solving which indicates talents such as spotting suspicious code and guessing how IT users are likely to behave, for example in terms of how they might choose their passwords.

SANS Academy experts will work with companies and universities alike to identify those candidates with the most potential, while organisations needing to bring new cyber skills into their teams will be invited to sponsor students through the course.

The Academy is also offering scholarships for returning military veterans and groups presently under-represented in the security world.

The inaugural SANS Cyber Academy begins on Tuesday 1 September 2015 at the St David’s Hotel, Cardiff. Following on from this, SANS plans to roll out the Academy on a wider platform.

*Download the SANS Cyber Academy brochure: www.sans.org/ukcyberacademy

**Further information is available via e-mail at: cyberacademy@sans.org

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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