Best Professional Certification Program

Winner: SANS Institute for GIAC Security Expert (GSE)

Since it was introduced in 2003, the GIAC Security Expert (GSE) credential has been one of the most prestigious certifications in information security. Practitioners aspiring to obtain the GSE often work for years to build experience and master the applicable skills. A real certification program does not educate or strengthen knowledge per se, instead its true purpose is to establish a validated set of skills so an employer understands the level of competency they are getting when hiring or promoting a certified professional. The GSE culminates with two days of hands-on performance-based testing, ensuring candidates can harden Windows and Unix systems, configure IDS and firewalls, analyze real network traffic and incident data, penetration test live systems, and create professional quality reports. GIAC stands behind the fact that each individual it certifies at the GSE level is a true expert in information security.

The GSE's performance-based, hands-on nature is truly unique. Arguably, no other certification in the information security industry covers this breadth or depth of real-world IT security job responsibilities. Those who earn the GSE can go head-to-head with the most advanced, current attacks and come out on top. They are truly experts. The battery of exercises candidates go through during the GSE exam are as real as it gets. The GSE exam process determines if a candidate has truly mastered the wide variety of skills required by top security consultants and thought leaders. They analyze real traffic, respond to real incidents, probe, attack, and defend real systems on real networks. For example, if an enterprise wants to protect itself from the advanced persistent threat (APT), there is no quickly defined skill set hiring managers can target. It needs someone with GSE level experience on the staff, period.

The security industry desperately needs highly technical experts who can make difficult decisions and perform difficult tasks, rather than more entry-level practitioners and paper tigers. The performance-based GSE exam is an expert-level, hands-on credential and is well respected for this reason. GIAC Security Experts hold top positions at security-minded organizations across the globe and demonstrate
an unparalleled level of subject mastery.


• SANS Institute for GIAC Security Expert (GSE)

• SANS Institute for Global Information Assurance Certification Program (GIAC) – GIAC Certified Intrusion Analyst (GCIA)

• Information System Audit and Control Association for Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT) Certification

• Information System Audit and Control Association for Certified Information Systems Auditor

• Learning@Cisco for Cisco Security Certifications

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