SANS Dubai 2019 helping to develop strong talent to address region’s cyber security skills shortage


SANS Institute has announced that it is holding its next renowned immersion-style Cyber Security Training program in Dubai to address the region’s growing cyber security skills shortage. SANS Dubai 2019, which will be held at the Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Beach from January 26-30, 2019, will feature three of SANS’ best-performing cyber security classes to help participants develop the required skills to defend their organisations against security breaches and prevent future attacks.

As the pace of digital transformation accelerates in the Middle East, business leaders have stressed that digitising is the only way to remain competitive in the new marketplace. According to Gartner, skills challenges continue to plague organisations that undergo digitisation, with digital security staffing shortages considered a top inhibitor to innovation. Reports state that the worldwide workforce is heading for a shortfall of 1.8m cybersecurity workers by 2022 and the industry is not attracting newcomers to fill the gap. This is exacerbated in the Middle East, where organisations typically have smaller IT teams and therefore struggle to keep on top of new threats and technologies.

“Organisations in the region continue to experience a shortage of cyber security professionals, which is creating overwhelming pressure on their inadequately staffed cyber security teams. The shortage of cyber security professionals around the globe has never been more acute. In fact, a recent Gartner survey reveals that only 65% of organisations globally have cyber security experts. It, thus, becomes even more important to invest in developing cyber security skills of the future, today,” said Ned Baltagi, Managing Director, Middle East & Africa at SANS Institute.

With cyber criminals adopting new methods to leverage big data and web-scale techniques to stage attacks and steal data, it has now become imperative for organisations, government and individuals alike, to develop the skills and capabilities required to manage cyber security risks. The UAE government has already doubled down on its efforts to ensure cyber safety and digital security. H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai launched the Dubai Cyber Security Strategy to further the country’s objectives to create a cyber-smart nation.

SANS Dubai 2019 will offer participants the opportunity to learn directly from the world’s top cyber security practitioners. Attendees will have a chance to choose from three of SANS’ best performing cyber security classes and accelerate their career with hands-on, immersion-style training. Cyber security experts, Tim Medin, Dave Shackleford and Erik Van Buggenhout will conduct training sessions on SEC460: Enterprise Threat and Vulnerability Assessment,  SEC545: Cloud Security Architecture and Operations and SEC599: Defeating Advanced Adversaries – Purple Team Tactics & Kill Chain Defenses respectively.

New to Dubai, in SEC599, Erik van Buggenhout shows delegates how to bring together red and blue teams for maximum effect. Recognising that a prevent-only strategy is not sufficient, the course focuses on current attack strategies and how they can be effectively mitigated and detected using a Kill Chain structure.

According to Mr. Baltagi, a big advantage of such training initiatives is the creation of new recruitment and training avenues. “Organisations need to transform their security strategy and build resilience across the enterprise and this can only be done by having properly trained professionals that can take the right approach to security. Our mission at SANS is to deliver cutting-edge information security knowledge and skills to all students in order to protect people and assets. At the heart of everything we do is the SANS promise that students will be able to use the new skills they have learned as soon as they return to work. That promise can be seen in action at SANS Dubai January 2019,” Mr. Baltagi concluded.

SANS will also be holding its first ever Middle East Cyber Security Summit in Abu Dhabi in April 2019. The 2019 Summit will be held on the 4th of April at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr hotel, Abu Dhabi and will be the first in a series of SANS Summits to be held in the Middle East.

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