Augusta cyber sector vibrant

Unless you have been living in a cave, you are aware of Fort Gordon’s new cyber mission and the anticipated growth in our community that will result. What you may not know is that many cyber security people already are living among you.


As a result, today Augusta has an active information security community that is the envy of much larger cities. Hackers, defenders, forensic analysts and security professionals have opportunities to share ideas and collaborate with peers.

The main watering hole for security professionals thirsty for peer interaction is the Greater Augusta Information Systems Security Association. Names such as Ed Skoudis, Rob Lee, John Strand and Richard Bejtlich don’t mean much to most of us, but they are names that most security professionals know well. ISSA frequently brings well-known speakers like these to Augusta to discuss the latest offensive and defensive computing techniques.

One reason that Augusta can draw such big names is because its members include highly credentialed professionals. The most prestigious certification in the information security industry is the GSE (Global Information Assurance Certification Security Expert). The GSE requires that people complete five prerequisite certifications before the candidate can sit through a grueling two-day, hands-on lab. Despite that this nationally recognized certification has been around for 10 years, only 107 security professionals have obtained it. Seven of those 107 call Augusta home – the highest concentration in the world!

This highly collaborative group just wrapped up the second BSidesAugusta Security Conference. The conference featured speakers from around the world presenting the latest cutting-edge techniques.

Augusta’s security community will continue to grow. As those individuals arrive, they will find Augusta already has an existing community ready to receive them. For more information about how you can join these activities, visit

Mark Baggett



(The writer is a technical adviser to the U.S. Department of Defense for the SANS Institute.)



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