The global cyber security landscape hasn’t matured because of lack of capabilities and awareness of the ramifications of cyber threats, says Ned Baltagi, Managing Director, SANS Institute, the number 1 cyber security training company in the world. SANS Institute is also the most trusted resource globally, for cyber security certifications and research.
According to Baltagi, there is a major shortage of qualified and trained cybersecurity professionals in the world. “This is a cause for concern because cyber attacks are becoming more and more sophisticated these days, and hacking is a formal industry now. So it becomes all the more imperative to stay ahead of the attackers and develop successful combat strategies in order to safeguard and protect precious data, systems and even businesses,” he adds.
SANS has courses that span all areas of cybersecurity, across every level. “Professionals entering the industry start at level 300 and go all the way to level 700, which is the expert level. We work with key government clients as well as school kids, where all the technicalities of cyber security are demystified for kids between the ages of 12 and 18. Our school program has been a great success at the national level and we have managed to inculcate a high degree of interest in cyber security among kids,” Baltagi notes.
SANS even has a cyber academy, which assesses applicants from across the world using global, accurate parameters, because of which as many as 95 per cent of SANS students have passed both certifications. The academy course duration can be of 8 weeks, 10 weeks or 12 weeks, based on assessment and client requirements. After graduating from the academy, some students opt to go for the discipline-focused courses spanning 4-6 weeks. They then choose to upskill themselves and work on building additional capabilities through SANS advanced courses and public events.
“Educating users at all levels about security awareness and vulnerabilities, at all levels is extremely crucial, but something that most companies ignore,” Baltagi says. “What they fail to realize is that repeated attacks, phishing, malware and the like weakens organizations considerably and causes daily losses, not just monetary, but also in terms of productivity,” he adds.
All courses conducted by SANS are sought after, popular and industry-defining. “The Middle East, particularly the UAE, is now extremely aware of the need for a strong cyber security platform and our courses are in demand in the region,” he notes.