Cybersecurity Special Report: Shifting gears to build a skilled workforce
Ned Baltagi, SANS managing director, MEA stresses on the importance of a well-trained and certified workforce and above all acquiring the right skillsets to keep organisations secure.
As more organisations are faced with the challenge of building a remote workforce, acquiring new skills and upskilling existing staff has never been so important.
The importance of acquiring new skills cannot be overstressed. Being equipped with the right skills will allow organisations to bring the required intelligence and expertise into the services they deliver. IT training is an expense for the business, but it is one which brings substantial short and long-term benefits. By investing in the right training, delivered by the right provider, employers get expertly skilled staff who are committed to the organisation.
As organisations around the world transition their workforce away from an office environment to work from home, many lack the policies, resources or training to enable their people to do so securely. In response, SANS has created the “Work-from-Home Deployment Kit”. The free kit provides security awareness professionals with a step-by-step guide on how to rapidly deploy a training program for their remote staff.
Taking cybersecurity training online
While in-person training is currently unavailable, SANS has made all of its training courses available 100% online. There are two methods available to ensure students have the flexibility to continue learning around their new routine.
Firstly, there's OnDemand – a battle-tested, self-paced online learning platform where classes are pre-recorded and allow you to train at your own pace anytime, anywhere. For those requiring the maximum scheduling flexibility, SANS continues to offer more than 45 of our top courses in its OnDemand platform.
"Students can start training immediately, and SANS OnDemand allows you to view, rewind, and replay content for four months, engage in our hands-on lab exercises and quizzes to test your retention. I think some might think that the support offered via online training would be minimal in comparison to in-person training, but that's not the case with SANS OnDemand, students receive GIAC-certified subject-matter-expert support for the duration of the course," explains Baltagi.
SANS Live Online
Live Online is the closest online experience to in-person training as it offers students the ability to ask questions in real-time classes, interact with their peers in chat channels, take part in competitive challenges, and attend bonus sessions. No matter which option you choose, all SANS courses are hands-on and include practical lab exercises to apply new skills. Students will be able to put into practice what they have learned as soon as they get back to their desk – that is the SANS promise.
Live Online is SANS' most interactive online training option, with classes taught online via live-streamed sessions with expert SANS instructors. "Engaging training keeps the students motivated, with real-world examples and applications, live hands-on lab exercises and real-time answers to questions," Baltagi adds.
SANS has always provided free resources to help the information security community, and there are now even more free offerings from SANS to help support cybersecurity professionals while they work and train remotely. Additionally, SANS is hosting a series of Mini Netwars (capture the flag) events to provide continuous learning and hands-on training for everyone in the community right up until the end of August 2020.
SANS has a suite of eight web-based assessment tools as part of the CyberTalent Assessment scheme. It provides cybersecurity managers with information and data to better manage their team's skills and performance, improve their hiring efforts, and make their training investment more productive.
Closing the skills gap
SANS is also proactively helping to develop the next generation of cybersecurity professionals through a range of programmes and initiatives. SANS CyberStart Game is a virtual learning platform of games, tools and challenges, specifically developed to introduce young adults to the field of cybersecurity, develop and nurture their interest and inspire them to pursue a career in this field. SANS Cyber Academy finds, develops and certifies the next intake of cybersecurity practitioners, ready to enter into cybersecurity roles immediately after graduation.
A case for certification
GIAC Certifications provide the highest and most rigorous assurance of cybersecurity knowledge and skill available to industry. More than 30 of GIAC certifications align with SANS training courses. A GIAC certification is a reliable means for HR professionals to remove risk and doubt when recruiting and draws respect from peers and from the community to help individuals stand out from the crowd. As of May 2020, GIAC Certification exams can be proctored remotely from wherever you are. The launch of remote proctoring means SANS' customer community can now train and certify from any location, at any time after scheduling.
If you’re interested in SANS training or resources visit their website: sans.org/skilled-workforce
This article first appeared in Network Middle East Jun-Aug 2020 issue