Profile from the front line - John I. - Windows Systems Administrator and Security Specialist
Working for a large public university, very frequently means that almost every computer you run is directly attached to the Internet without the use of firewalls or strong central policies. This means that every machine is fair game and must be treated as a bastioned host. My SANS training provided me the tools to make those hard configuration decisions that are necessary to protect the machines under my control. In an environment where one large incident could cause a couple thousand compromises on campus, it has been about over a year since one of the machines I am directly responsible for was compromised.
Recently, when one vendor patch broke a vital application, we were able to do without the patch until the application was upgraded, because we, as part of our regular configuration, had already implemented the necessary remediation steps. How to implement these particular settings in an open environment were just a couple of the things that I learned at SANS and was able to hone through the rigorous certification process.
Additionally, my experience in Windows Security is opening doors on campus, with a transfer to the campus security group in the works.