Ross Bergman’s interest in cybersecurity dates back to 1993 when five hard drives of data were erased by some malicious adversary (partly documented here: https://www.chronicle.com/article/the-breach-in-the-internet/).
While pursuing his Ph.D. in Neuroscience, he simultaneously acquired skills in systems administration, and voluntarily supported the Sun Microsystems servers, PCs, and Macs in their lab. He was very engaged with teaching himself how to network them, enabling them to seamlessly (well, for the early 1990s) share storage resources via network-mounted disks, and eventually ensured they were patched and secure. In fact, he was more engaged with compiling software, rebuilding kernels, and managing user access than he was with his Ph.D. research! He loved it all!
Ross sat his first SANS courses (MGT414, SEC504) in 2006, and 2008, and recalls feeling both overwhelmed with information, and also so well-prepared to take what he'd learned and put it to use. Ten years later, he found himself in the role of an instructor for SANS, headed to Portland, OR for his first class. It was so exciting and that excitement has never stopped!
Today Ross is a SANS Principal Instructor, teaching SANS SEC401: Security Essentials Bootcamp Style and SEC501: Advanced Security Essentials – Enterprise Defender, within the Cyber Defense curriculum. As a self-taught technologist, with hands-on experience across many platforms, plus years of experience leading technology teams in organizations across a variety of industries, he is an "expert generalist", which helps him introduce his students to the many areas of cybersecurity.
His greatest source of pride is the knowledge that there are many professionals in the Cybersecurity and IT fields whose careers he has assisted in launching. Building effective teams, providing instruction and training opportunities, and now as a SANS Principal Instructor, his passion is to continue to share his knowledge and experience, and provide others the opportunity to reach their potential.
Particularly as an instructor, Ross is mindful that his students come from many different backgrounds, and not all of them are steeped in technology. He makes a concerted effort to see that no one is left behind, but also that more advanced students are challenged as well. He is cautious to speak carefully, sharing numerous personal experiences to provide context and illustrate the material being covered. He makes every effort to keep things as enjoyable as possible, while not short-changing anyone on the details. He goes the extra mile for his students when extra assistance is needed before, during, or after a course. Ross is a good human being with a talent for teaching. “I need to get all of this knowledge out of my brain and into the brains of my students before it's lost to me forever”.
Ross earned two Bachelor of Science degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an advanced degree from Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, as well as several Information Security certifications including the GCED, GSEC, GPEN, GCFA, GCFE, and GCIH from GIAC and the CISSP from ISC2.
He has visited over 70 countries to-date and has plenty more yet to see! Ross is a collector of the writing of J.R.R. Tolkien, and has more than 400 unique items (books, audio, video, stamps, puzzles, etc.) in his collection. He reads (audiobooks more recently) and has become reasonably adept at solving the daily NYT Crossword!