Cisco Sponsors SANS Institute Cohort to Close Cybersecurity Skills Gap

This Women's History Month, Cisco and SANS Institute Champion Women with Premier Training Scholarships

BETHESDA, Md., March 28, 2024 - Cisco, the worldwide technology leader that securely connects everything to make anything possible, is working with the SANS Institute, the world's leading cybersecurity training and certification organization, to provide scholarships for 20 women to attend the SANS Women's Cyber Academy. This effort aims to bridge the cyber talent gap by empowering women with the skills and certifications needed to thrive in the cybersecurity field.

The Women's Cyber Academy is an established beacon of excellence in cybersecurity education. Through an accelerated, scholarship-based program, the academy offers world-class SANS training and GIAC certifications to participants at no cost. This initiative specifically targets women aspiring to enter or advance into cybersecurity, providing them with a rigorous, comprehensive curriculum designed to launch their careers quickly and effectively.

"The generous support of Cisco represents a key step forward in addressing the critical shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals," said Heather Mahalik-Barnhart, SANS Fellow. "Cisco is setting an example for other large companies by answering the call to action from the White House laid out in the 2023 National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy. By providing scholarships for women, this initiative celebrates Women's History Month by both filling the skills gap and also promoting gender diversity and inclusion in the technology sector, equipping women with the skills and certifications needed to thrive in this demanding field."

"I applaud the initiative of the SANS Women's Cyber Academy," said Maria Martinez, Cisco's Chief Operating Officer, known for her devotion to advocating for underrepresented groups. "Our digital skills initiatives like Networking Academy and Girls Power Tech have shown firsthand the difference that access to education and role models can make. This sponsorship is an effort to make Cisco U. and our world-class certifications more accessible, empowering women with successful cybersecurity careers."

The Women's Cyber Academy is meticulously designed to provide a comprehensive pathway into the cybersecurity profession. Participants will start by building a solid foundation in cybersecurity, including core computer and security concepts, along with programming skills. This comprehensive approach ensures individuals can effectively communicate and operate within the cybersecurity domain, regardless of their prior technical experience. As learners progress, they will delve into essential information security techniques and strategies for protecting critical information assets, leveraging hands-on experiences to apply these concepts against modern cybersecurity threats. The curriculum culminates by enhancing skills in identifying, exploiting, and responding to vulnerabilities in both cloud-based and traditional computing environments. This ensures that graduates are well-prepared for critical incident response roles, armed with the ability to navigate and mitigate a wide range of cyber threats.

Learn more about the SANS Women's Cyber Academy at with applications for the next cohort opening in June 2024.

About SANS Institute

The SANS Institute was established in 1989 as a cooperative research and education organization. Today, SANS is the most trusted and, by far, the largest provider of cybersecurity training and certification to professionals in government and commercial institutions worldwide. Renowned SANS instructors teach more than 85 courses at in-person and virtual cybersecurity events and OnDemand. GIAC, an affiliate of the SANS Institute, validates practitioner skills through more than 50 hands-on technical certifications in cybersecurity. The SANS Technology Institute, a regionally accredited independent subsidiary, offers master's and bachelor's degrees, graduate certificates, and an undergraduate certificate in cybersecurity. SANS also delivers a wide variety of free resources to the InfoSec community, including consensus projects, research reports, webcasts, podcasts, and newsletters; it also operates the Internet's early warning system-the Internet Storm Center. At the heart of SANS are the many security practitioners representing varied global organizations, from corporations to universities, working together to support and educate the global information security community.