The SANS Institute has partnered with Google to launch the SANS Cloud Diversity Academy (SCDA) in an effort to address the underrepresentation of women, ethnic minorities, Indigenous people, and other groups in the cybersecurity sector.
SCDA will provide training and certification to individuals who are interested in a career change or are unemployed or underemployed. The academy will offer scholarship-based training programs of up to three SANS courses and the associated GIAC certifications, with a particular focus on providing skills to secure cloud infrastructure and sensitive data.
The core curriculum for SCDA provides training for GIAC Cloud Security Essentials (GCLD) and GIAC Public Cloud Security (GPCS) certifications.
The overall global cybersecurity workforce gap currently stands at around 3.4 million people, with women making up only 25% of the cybersecurity workforce globally.
Only 9% of cybersecurity experts are Black, 8% are Asian, and 4% are Hispanic, according to the Aspen Digital Tech Policy report from 2022.
To reach potential students, SANS Institute conducted extensive media outreach in the tech industry as well as diversity-focused publications, while working with over a dozen community partners, such as Women in Cybersecurity, Black Girls Hack, Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu, and Cyversity.
SCDA is designed specifically to provide participants with the skills to secure cloud infrastructure and sensitive data. The academy will be focused on providing scholarship-based training programs of up to three SANS courses and the associated GIAC certifications.
Applicants must be able to demonstrate an aptitude and passion for security, currently reside in the US, and be authorized to work there. In total, SCDA plans to offer a minimum of 25 scholarship places.
SCDA directly supports the US government’s objective of developing a national strategy to strengthen the country’s cybersecurity workforce and tackle the lack of diversity in the field head-on.
The White House recently unveiled its National Cybersecurity Strategy, which outlines a number of fundamental changes in how the US will allocate “roles, responsibilities, and resources in cyberspace”.
The fourth pillar of the strategy calls for a strengthening of the US’ cybersecurity workforce, to tackle the lack of diversity among cybersecurity professionals through the implementation of a National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy.