In 1999, SANS founded GIAC, the Global Information Assurance Certification, which has allowed over 20,000 security professionals to prove their skills and meet challenging standards. GIAC is unique in the field of information security certifications by not only testing a candidate's knowledge, but also testing a candidate's ability to put that knowledge into practice in the real world.
A certification is proof an individual meets a minimum standard. The mission of GIAC is to provide assurance to employers that their people and prospective hires can actually do the job.
A study released by the Gartner Group predicted that:
"Security certification will be required of 40 percent of personnel having day-to-day technical operations responsibility" and that "the GIAC certification will likely become the preferred credential."
In addition to personal benefit, a certification is a manager's tool in two ways. To begin with, it is a way to verify the time and money you have invested in an employee's education is not wasted because your employee has something tangible to show for it. Secondly, it is a way for a new manager to know that an employee is capable because they have the credentials to show they know what they are talking about.
The exams are taken online via your Portal account in a proctored environment. Students who complete the exam for their certification have earned the GIAC Silver. Students who want to take their professional accomplishment to another level have the option of pursuing GIAC Gold or GIAC Platinum. GIAC Gold will require a technical report to be completed by the candidate that will benefit the community. Students attempting GIAC Gold will have an advisor to work with throughout the development of their project. The GIAC platinum level certifications and specifically the testing process is a multi-faceted approach that is the most rigorous and comprehensive in the IT security industry. The GIAC platinum series ensures that an individual is a true subject area expert.
One of GIAC's primary goals is to continually advance the defensive state of practice of information security. We do this not only through education, but also by sharing our research with others so that they too can continue to learn.
The more qualified security professionals there are the better protected our Internet neighborhoods become. It is much like having more police officers watching over us, or at the very least a really strong Neighborhood Watch group. Our "neighborhood" is worldwide, so we need a lot of qualified "police officers" to do the job right. The mission of GIAC is to provide assurance to employers that their people and prospective hires can actually do the job.