We have been getting questions on our training classes this year, so I thought I should update everyone on major updates to our ‘old’ class, and what to expect from our ‘advanced’ class. The short version is that we are adding new material to our basic class, to align with upcoming Cloud Security Alliance changes and cover DevOps. It will still include some advanced material, but we are assuming the top 10% (in terms of technical skills) of students will move to our new advanced class instead, enabling us to focus the basic class on the meaty part of the bell curve.

Over the past few years our Black Hat Cloud Security Hands On class became so popular that we kept adding instructors and seats to keep up with demand. Last year we sold out both classes and increased the size to 60 students, then still sold out the weekday class. That’s a lot of students, but the course is tightly structured with well-supported labs to ensure we can still provide a high-quality experience. We even added a bunch of self-paced advanced labs for people with stronger skills who wanted to move faster.

The problem with that structure is that it really limits how well we can support more advanced students. Especially because we get a much wider range of technical skills than we expected at a Black Hat branded training. Every year we get sizable contingents from both extremes: people who no longer use their technical skills (managers/auditors/etc.), and students actively working in technology with hands-on cloud experience. When we started this training 6 years ago, nearly none of our students had ever launched a cloud instance.

Self-paced labs work reasonably well, but don’t really let you dig in the same way as focused training. There are also many cloud major advances we simply cannot cover in a class which has to appeal to such a wide range of students. So this year we launched a new class (which has already sold out, and expanded), and are updating the main class. Here are some details, with guidance on which is likely to fit best:

Cloud Security Hands-On (CCSK-Plus) is our introductory 2-day class for those with a background in security, but who haven’t worked much in the cloud yet. It is fully aligned with the Cloud Security Alliance CCSK curriculum: this is where we test out new material and course designs to roll out throughout the rest of the CSA. This year we will use a mixed lecture/lab structure, instead of one day of lecture with labs the second day.

We have started introducing material to align with the impending CSA Guidance 4.0 release, which we are writing. We still need to align with the current exam, because the class includes a token to take the test for the certificate, but we also wrote the test, so we should be able to balance that. This class still includes extra advanced material (labs) not normally in the CSA training and the self-paced advanced labs. Time permitting, we will also add an intro to DevOps.

But if you are more advanced you should really take Advanced Cloud Security and Applied SecDevOps instead. This 2-day class assumes you already know all the technical content in the Hands-On class and are comfortable with basic administration skills, launching instances in AWS, and scripting or programming. I am working on the labs now, and they cover everything from setting up accounts and VPCs usable for production application deployments, building a continuous deployment pipeline and integrating security controls, integrating PaaS services like S3, SQS, and SNS, through security automation through coding (both serverless with Lambda functions and server-based).

If you don’t understand any of that, take the Hands-On class instead.

The advanced class is nearly all labs, and even most lecture will be whiteboards instead of slides. The labs aren’t as tightly scripted, and there is a lot more room to experiment (and thus more margin for error). They do, however, all interlock to build a semblance of a real production deployment with integrated security controls and automation. I was pretty excited when I figured out how to build them up and tie them together, instead of having everything come out of a bucket of unrelated tasks.

Hopefully that clears things up, and we look forward to seeing some of you in August.

Oh, and if you work for BIGCORP and can’t make it, we also provide private trainings these days.

Here are the signup links: