Dustin Decker

What’s all the “SANS” Stuff?

SANS is an acronym for SysAdmin, Audit, Network, and Security. I got my first taste of security specific I.T. training in New Orleans in 1999. “Securing Windows NT 4.0”. Wow, those were some fairly heady days. The second night I wound up in a BOF session (birds of a feather) sipping suds and watching other attendees capturing and dissecting “Ring Zero”.

Launched in 1989 as a cooperative for information security thought leadership, it is SANS’ ongoing mission to empower cyber security professionals with the practical skills and knowledge they need to make our world a safer place.

In the years that followed I was blessed to be mentored by the Chief Financial Officer of my employer who recognized the value of staying sharp. He ensured that my position was funded beyond mere payroll and baked in annual training opportunities of my choosing. Yes, it’s true: I’ve seen the FBI escort folks out of DEFCON in handcuffs. Yes, it’s true – I worked as volunteer staffer during a conference in Washington D.C. and we actually had to consider an active sniper roaming in the night as we pondered dining options. Once in a while folks see a “way back” connection on a social network and ask, “Pronoun?!? Really?!?!” I’m also adept at the sly smile and “maybe” required to keep confidentiality under such circumstances. <wink>

Some of those connections were made attending the likes of:

§ SANS Security Conference – Intrusion Detection In-Depth, Orlando FL
§ SANS Security Conference, Kansas City – Hacker Techniques, Exploits and
Incident Handling
§ DEF CON 9, 10, 12, 13, 16, and 19 – Las Vegas
§ SANS Conference, Washington D.C., Securing Windows 2000/XP
§ SANS Security Essentials, SANS Conference, St. Louis
§ SANS Network Security Conference, Monterey CA (Intrusion Detection In-Depth)
§ SANS Security Conference, New Orleans. Securing Windows NT 4.0

Circle back to present day, and I’ve committed myself to not only refreshing skills of old, but a deeper dive into a Bachelor’s in Applied Cyber Security (BACS) from SANS.edu, alongside a bevy of in-demand Information Security certifications.

I’m very excited to be entering my senior year of this degree and beginning my internship with the Internet Storm Center in October of 2023.

Classes I’ve recently taken and highly recommend include:

BACS 3275: Security Foundations | SEC275 + GFACT SEC275: Foundations: Computers, Technology and Security

BACS 3301: Introduction to Cybersecurity | SEC301 + GISF SEC301: Introduction to Cybersecurity

BACS 3401: Security Essentials | SEC401 + GSEC SEC401: Network, Endpoint, & Cloud

BACS 3402: Effective Cyber Writing and Speaking | SEC402 & SEC403 SEC402: Cybersecurity Writing: Hack the Reader SEC403: Secrets to Successful Cybersecurity Presentation

BACS 3504: Incident Handling and Hacker Exploits | SEC504 + GCIH SEC504: Hacker Tools, Techniques, and Incident Handling (GCIH)

BACS 3573: Automating Information Security with Python | SEC573 + GPYC | SEC573: Automating Information Security with Python. (GPYC)

BACS 3503: Network Monitoring and Threat Detection In-Depth | SEC503 + GCIA | SEC503: Network Monitoring and Threat Detection In-Depth (GCIA)

BACS 3505: Network Monitoring and Threat Detection In-Depth | SEC505 + GCIA | SEC505: Securing Windows and PowerShell Automation (GCIA)

I’m still absolutely geeking out over this. <3