SANS and WiCSME Join Forces at WiCSME2020 Virtual Conference


To encourage diversity and close the skills gap across the regional cyber security industry, SANS Institute is powering the ‘Capture The Flag’ competition of WiCSME 2020 virtual conference.

Ned Baltagi, Managing Director, Middle East & Africa at SANS Institute

Dubai, UAE: SANS Institute, the global leader in cyber security training, and Women in Cyber Security Middle East (WiCSME), have partnered together to promote the importance of a diverse security team at its first edition of annual WiCSME2020 conference on 14th and 15th November.

The upcoming virtual conference will see SANS Institute powering the Capture The Flag (CTF) track of the event on 12th and 13th November. The SANS Virtual BootUp CTF platform is developed in a way that grants participants a unique experience and a great cyber-skills exercise through solving different challenges, helping build cybersecurity skills across organizations. The conference itself which has its theme “To Empower and Secure Together”, will cover diverse insights on interesting and key cyber security topics from regional and international speakers as well as host the first WiCSME2020 Awards, recognizing remarkable women’s contributions in Cyber Security field in the Middle East region.

Ned Baltagi, Managing Director, Middle East & Africa at SANS Institute, said, “A more diverse workforce is the need of the hour in the cybersecurity industry. It is important to look beyond technical certifications and to also have other traits such as lateral mindset, analytical and organizational skills and better collaboration. A diverse workforce allows companies to approach problems in non-traditional manners.”

WiCSME is a voluntary group of Women formed in 2018 to promote and increase women participation in the field of cyber security as well as encourage more female leadership in the industry. 

Dr. Reem Al-Shammari, Co-Founder of WiCSME Group and CISO, Kuwait Oil Company, said, “Cyber security should be a priority for every business and individual as digital initiatives grow exponentially while cybercriminals become more sophisticated in their attacks. With a diverse workforce, organizations are exposed to a broader set of perspectives, which can help in fostering innovation. And as our WiCSME2020 Virtual conference theme is ‘To Empower and Secure Together’ emphasizing our WiCSME role in Empowering Women in Cyber and Securing our Communities by uniting together with other Forums and entities. Thus, we are very proud to support this goal and present the first edition of WiCSME2020 CTF competition in collaboration with SANS via their SANS Virtual BootUp CTF platform. It is essential to continuously hone cyber security skills and evolve with the trends, especially in today’s difficult circumstances.” 

Ned Baltagi added, “SANS has always endeavored for more diversity in cybersecurity and this is further illustrated in our initiatives such as the Women’s Cyber Academies and Girls Go Cyberstart. Our recent alliance with Google and WiCyS (Women in CyberSecurity) was formed to enable women to obtain a Security Training Scholarship. The latest collaboration with WiCSME is the next chapter to SANS’ mission to empower everyone in the field of cybersecurity to enhance their capabilities.”

About SANS Institute:

The SANS Institute was established in 1989 as a cooperative research and education organization. SANS is the most trusted and, by far, the largest provider of cyber security training and certification to professionals at governments and commercial institutions world-wide. Renowned SANS instructors teach over 60 different courses at more than 200 live cyber security training events as well as online. GIAC, an affiliate of the SANS Institute, validates a practitioner’s qualifications via over 35 hands-on, technical certifications in cyber security. The SANS Technology Institute, a regionally accredited independent subsidiary, offers master’s degrees in cyber security. SANS offers a myriad of free resources to the InfoSec community including consensus projects, research reports, 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 help the entire information security community.

About Women in Cyber Security Middle East (WiCSME):

WiCSME is a collaborative and voluntary group by and for women in the field of cybersecurity across the Middle Eastern countries. It was established in April 2018 to bring women in this fascinating field together to promote and increase women participation in the field of cyber security. The group today has 800+ women from across the region, ranging from high school enthusiasts to senior executives and leaders at national and international levels.

The aim of this group is to create a platform to bring women in cybersecurity in the Middle East to the forefront of international stage and connecting them with thought leaders, mentors and peers across the globe, helping them progress in their professionals careers and build a global network of like minded women.