Better validation for security pros

The Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC) has announced sweeping changes to its testing process that will allow the certification to better validate the skills of security professionals.

GIAC, founded in 1999 by the SANS Institute, has differed from other certifications because of two main elements: (1) its focus on measuring mastery of technical skills essential to the effective practice of security and (2) its requirement that people prove those skills through a practical exercise. Effective immediately the GIAC is upgrading the testing process, through scenario-based testing, and terminating the need for a practical assignment to complete certification.

“Our goal is to meet the immediate need to have more modular, adaptable courseware and certificates/certifications to stay abreast of the current threat,” noted Stephen Northcutt, Director of the SANS Institute. “This is based on the needs for more test-based certifications while eliminating barriers that block 80 per cent of past candidates from completing the process.”

GIAC will be moving rapidly to deploy the state-of-the-art in exam delivery including scenario-based testing, additional psychometrics, and skills assessment. Additionally, GIAC will be simplifying the recertification process and upgrading its testing to require the same exams for recertification that are being used for new certification at the time the individual recertifies.

A new logo design will be issued for all future “exam only” certifications so that there will be less chance of confusion between “exam only” and the original, practical-oriented certifications. All practicals already submitted will still be graded and returned to students with feedback from the grading team. For more information go to

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