GIAC: The Hands-On IT Security Certification

When GIAC founder Stephen Northcutt moved from network management to the information assurance function, he observed that many people came to work day after day to produce policies or run tools with no understanding of the fundamental technologies and principles of security. They were often stressed out, secretive, edgy and defensive because they knew they did not have the understanding or mastery of tools they needed to be effective. And unskilled security professionals do not reduce risk; in fact, they put their organizations in jeopardy.

To address this concern, in 1999, Northcutt – a renowned pioneer of intrusion detection who currently serves as president of the SANS Technology Institute – created the Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC) program, which has since credentialed more than 20,000 professionals and is leading the industry in technical, job task-based IT security certification. Unlike many other IT security certifications with a broader focus, GIAC is unique in offering 25 different IT security certifications tailored to specific skill sets.

GIAC's mission is to provide assurance to employers that their people can do the job. The objectives for each GIAC certification are developed in collaboration with some of the top subject matter experts in the industry.

The most popular GIAC certifications include GCFA (Forensics), GCIA (Intrusion Analysis), GCIH (Incident Handling and Hacker Exploits), GSEC (Security Essentials), GSLC (Security Leadership) and GREM (Reverse Engineering Malware). Most of these certifications are unique in the industry, and updating each certification to reflect the latest standards is a continuous process.



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