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SANS Difference Makers Awards

The SANS Difference Makers Awards shine a light on the cybersecurity practitioners who are leading innovative developments in the industry, who’ve made outstanding security achievements, and who are contributing back to the InfoSec community in ways that deserve recognition.

Voting Period Is Closed

Join Us for the Award Ceremony at SANS Cyber Defense Initiative 2022

There are thousands of cyber security practitioners out there who are quietly succeeding and making breakthroughs every day in advancing security. It's time to recognize these individuals and teams.

At the SANS Cyber Defense Initiative conference in December 2022, SANS will hold its annual celebration of the most dedicated and innovative people who made a difference in security in 2022. 

This prestigious annual awards program honors individuals and teams in the cyber security community who have made a measurable and significant difference in security. Through their implementation of security processes or technology, each person has raised the bar in enabling secure business operations and reducing risk.

SANS Difference Makers Awards Ceremony
Held Wednesday, December 14th, 2022 at 7:00pm
Located at The Washington Hilton during SANS Cyber Defense Initiative 2022

 

Why is this year different? 

We have expanded the awards to include top mentors, content creators and the most influential champions focused on building the next generation. This year, we've also partnered with Axonius, and have brought on Chris Cochran and Ron Eddings from Hacker Valley Media as this year’s presenting sponsors. These parties share our passion for supporting the unsung heroes of cybersecurity and the humans at work behind the technology.

The common denominator in each nominee is their willingness and ability to do what SANS calls ‘Fight the Good Fight’ in advancing the state of practice in cybersecurity.

2022 Award Categories

We have expanded the awards this year to include top mentors, content creators, and the most influential champions focused on building the next generation. Take a look at the variety of categories for which you may nominate an individual or team.
Innovator of the YearContributions have added novel and valuable information to the field
Mentor of the YearDevotes significant time and energy to developing others' careers
Rising Star of the YearNewer practitioners to keep an eye on
Article or Book of the YearPublished content in book or article form that makes a significant contribution to cybersecurity literature
Podcast or Livestream Series of the YearPodcast of live-streamed content that makes a significant contribution to the industry
Diversity ChampionDevotes significant time and energy to fostering talent and increasing representation and participation of under-represented minorities
Influencer of the YearSocial media presence provides valuable resources and connections for others in the field
Open-Source Tool Creator of the YearCreated an open-source tool that is of significant value
Team or Practitioner of the YearAn individual or team who has done extraordinary work
Researcher of the YearSecurity researcher who has contributed significant work to the community
Lifetime Achievement AwardTranscends categories; has made substantial contributions to cybersecurity over many years

FAQ

  • This prestigious annual awards program, created by John Pescatore and our late founder Alan Paller, honors individuals and teams in the cyber security community who have made a measurable and significant difference in security. You can read more and view lists of previous winners at the links below.

  • Anyone can make a nomination! We want to hear from people all around the industry.

  • Complete all fields on the nomination form. The more detailed and specific your nomination, the better. The nomination should focus on work performed in 2022.

  • No! Nominations are free and open to anyone who wants to share great news about people and projects that deserve to be celebrated by the cybersecurity community.


  • Yes, and no! People and teams can receive multiple nominations, but it won’t add weight to the selection process.

  • Two things: The nominations will be summarized, and we’ll post a new survey form for the public to vote for their choice in each category. At the same time, the SANS Advisory Board, made up of a panel of SANS instructors and industry practitioners, will review the nominations and make their selection. There will be two winners in each category – the People’s Choice winner and the SANS Advisory Board winner.

  • The SANS Advisory Board represents a collective of SANS instructors and industry practitioners.

  • The third week of November.

  • There will be two winners per category – one selected by a popular vote and one selected by a SANS/industry committee.

  • There will be a simple form available online.

  • Winners will be announced and celebrated on the evening of Wednesday, December 14 at the Washington Hilton during SANS CDI.

  • Seating will be limited. Nominees and their guests will be given priority.

  • There is travel support available for invited nominees as needed.