Russell’s career trajectory has been anything but traditional. Years ago, while working a factory job, Russell realized he wanted more and started investigating options. He learned about his company's tuition reimbursement program and promptly signed up for computer classes at his local community college. He worked in the factory until early morning then attended classes during the day. With all tuition and expenses paid by his employer, Russell remains amazed and grateful. Back then, the Y2K crisis was looming and companies were desperate for cyber security talent. Russell secured his first cyber security position before he'd even finished his degree. Working his way from there up to SVP, CIO, and eventually CISO has been his greatest career highlight.
Russell's experience with SANS started in 2003 when he took the Security 401 course. "I thought I knew all there was to know," he says. "As it turned out, I was in over my head before lunch on Day 1." His instructor told him that not many students followed through to earn the GSEC certification, so Russell decided right then that he would. He went on to participate in the SANS Mentor Program, eventually becoming an instructor himself. Russell is a frequent instructor for a multitude of SANS Management Curriculum courses including:
- MGT415: A Practical Introduction to Cyber Security Risk Management
- MGT514: Security Strategic Planning, Policy, and Leadership
- MGT 521: Driving Cybersecurity Change - Establishing a Culture of Protect, Detect and Respond
- SEC566: Implementing and Auditing the Critical Security Controls - In-Depth
One of the biggest challenges Russell’s students face is the uncertainty of where to invest their time, so he intentionally focuses on key takeaways each day that the students can apply when they get back to work. It never ceases to impress and please him when students apply those takeaways while they are still in the classroom. Russell understands that students sacrifice a lot at work and home in order to commit to a week of training. He wants his students to know he is giving his all to help them become the absolute best version of themselves, giving them every advantage he can that he himself always longed for and did not see or act upon until much later in his journey.
Russell encourages students to prepare for their SANS courses as they would a college class by eliminating distractions and arriving ready to engage with the instructor and fellow students. He recognizes that he is privileged to be the instructor, though undoubtedly, students teach him something he can apply at his job every time he teaches. Russell is driven and goal oriented, striving for results that demonstrate value in all that he does. The SANS classroom is no exception. Russell is certain that we all are capable of much more when we share with each other, in a trusted environment, what works and what does not work.
Russell holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, is a handler for the SANS Internet Storm Center, serves on the editorial panel for the Critical Security Controls, is a Former President of Chattanooga Infragard, and a co-leader of the Atlanta OWASP chapter. Over the years, Russell has earned an impressive number of professional certifications including:
- GIAC Strategic Planning, Policy, and Leadership (GSTRT)
- Certified Information Security Manager, ISACA
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional, ISC2
- GIAC Certified Enterprise Defender (GCED)
- GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH)
- GIAC Certified Intrusion Analyst (GCIA)
- GIAC Certified Penetration Testing (GPEN)
- GIAC Certified Project Manager (GCPM)
- GIAC Critical Controls Certification (GCCC)
- GIAC Information Security Professional (GISP)
- GIAC Security Essentials Certification (GSEC)
- GIAC Web Application Penetration Testing (GWAPT)
Only recently did Russell learn about the importance of disconnecting from technology on a regular basis. He does so with daily running, studying leadership, and spending time with his wife and teenage son and daughter. He frequently can be found smoking pork on his Big Green Egg.
Listen to Russell in his webcast "How to Work in Ways That Will Make Your Boss Take Notice!".
ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTIONS BY RUSSELL EUBANKS:
- How to Work in Ways That Will Make Your Boss Take Notice!, July 2020
- Security Leadership: Managing in Turbulent Times, presented by SANS Summits, May 2020
- 10 Visibility Gaps Every CISO Must Fill, Dec 2019
- What the CISO REALLY Wants Out of Your SOC, Sept 2018
- A Small Business No Budget Implementation of the SANS 20 Security Controls, Aug 2011
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