Kenton Smith

Kenton is a well-respected cybersecurity consultant and advisor based in Calgary, Canada. Kenton holds more than 25 years of hands-on and management experience in a wide range of industries from hi-tech to critical infrastructure. Much of his professional career has been spent in the energy sector, though he’s worked in other industries as disparate as education to online gaming. Kenton has managed teams of 2-100 people in retail stores, sales, warehouse laborers, deskside support, and security operations. Over the years, Kenton himself worked up from the bottom of the chain to management. He teaches LDR512: Security Leadership Essentials for Managers.

More About Kenton


Kenton’s journey into cybersecurity was quite practical. While a Windows/Linux systems administrator, his interest was drawn to security and the vast potential opportunities it held. He could see that security was starting to become a critical aspect of IT and that it was going to be an area for many learning opportunities beyond his current role. He convinced the company he worked for at the time to send him to SEC401: SANS Security Essentials, and the rest is history. Having made the transition himself from worker to manager and leader, Kenton is able to share that expertise and help others become stronger leaders since he understands their challenges first-hand.

In 2003 Kenton was asked by SANS if he wanted to participate in the mentor program and he chose to give it a try. He thoroughly enjoyed meeting people with other roles and in other industries while sharing his own experiences. From there, Kenton joined the SANS Community Program in order to expand his opportunities to other cities and now he is an Associate Instructor for SANS.

Kenton’s classroom includes a lot of sharing because he feels strongly that the only thing better than him augmenting the material, is students doing the same. He follows the belief that the knowledge of the whole is vastly greater than the sum of its parts. One of the main reasons he enjoys the management curriculum so much is because of the heavy discussion-focused environment. He believes one of the biggest challenges facing his students is the ability to look at security as a larger part of the business and operations, just as any other business unit. It is a different approach that managers must take than technical workers. Kenton uses the opportunity presented by the course material to discuss many of the things that students may not think of automatically.

Kenton volunteers for the local Bsides events and has spoken at both local and national security conferences and events. He volunteers with teens in technology program through his public library, while not specifically security focused, it gives Kenton great opportunity to share his interest and experience in security with the next generation.

He has held the accredited GIAC Gold Security Essentials Certification (GSEC) for more than 15 years in addition to GSLC and GCCC certifications. Kenton has guided hundreds of individuals through classes in both the mentor and Community SANS programs.

Like most SANS instructors, Kenton is a bit of a technology geek and enjoys learning and trying new technologies. Outside of that, he’s been a photography enthusiast for most of his adult life. Living near the Rockies in Canada he’s also into outdoor activities such as skiing in the Winter and hiking and biking in the snow-free months.

Listen in on Kenton presenting along with fellow Canadian Jonathan Risto in this SANS Webcast.

Canadian Webcast Series Part 1: Managing Vulnerabilities in the Enterprise and an Overview of the PIACT Process & Frameworks: What Are They Good For?, Feb 2018