SANS Institute launches Cyber Academy

SANS Institute has launched Cyber Academy, an intensive boot camp that is designed to turn graduates into cyber-experts within just eight weeks.

The boot camp is said to compress two years' worth of cyber-security training and experience into the allotted time and has been launchedto 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 cyber-skills gap is growing and the graduate pipeline will not meet demand in the short term. We need to quickly create new skilled professionals, not just hire from the limited existing pool," said Andrew Smith, EMEA managing director at SANS Institute, in a statement.

“We have 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, not years.”

The eight-week course will teach candidates how hackers operate and how to respond when things go wrong. They will build a fully functioning business network – first badly and then correctly – to understand the ways hackers can get into enterprise.

In addition, participants will carry out hands-on exercises including hacking a drone and attempting to deal with a virus outbreak. They will also have to make security policy recommendations to management, and will be required to sit the GCIH and GSEC certifications.

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

SANS Academy is to work with companies and universities to identify the right people, with the training body interesting conducting advanced psychometric testing “to identify behavioural and cognitive traits that indicate high probability of success in cyber security”. For example, these will test entrants for their ability to spot suspicious code, or how users might choose their passwords.

SANS, which is also offering scholarships for returning veterans and other groups unrepresented in security, plans to start the first SANS Cyber Academy on 1 September at the St Davids' Hotel in Cardiff. The company then plans to roll out Academy more widely.

These test logical problem solving which indicate talents such as spotting suspicious code, and guessing how IT users are likely to behave, for example, how they might choose their passwords.

A brochure is available for download here. Those interested in the course should contact cyberacademy@sans.org.