Veteran cybersecurity expert Faiz A. Shaikh has never considered himself too “senior” to go back to school. In fact, you could call him a serial learner—and it shows. His abundant experience and wisdom, acquired at some of India’s top IT and software firms in addition to his penchant for lifelong learning, have helped him become a trusted authority on such vital topics as cloud security, DevOps, cryptography, and IT infrastructure.
Faiz is currently the CIO of StopSpoof, which provides security against phishing emails, and serves on the Project Management Institute’s (PMI’s) board of directors. His resume is quite impressive and too lengthy to describe in full here, but includes other executive roles in addition to positions with three Indian state governments, work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (US), and a stint with international consulting firm KPMG.
So he’s not exactly struggling to find his footing. On the contrary, Faiz views lifelong learning as a key to his continued success in the ever-changing world of technology, and the ongoing arms race of IT and computer security in particular. We’ll explore Faiz’s commitment to lifelong learning, including certification from Simplilearn, and how it keeps him at the top of his game.
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The Challenge: Staying Ahead of the Curve
Faiz is highly educated, having started with his undergrad degree in physics from the University of Mumbai. He then pursued his degree in business management and IT from the Indian Institute of Business Management and Studies, closely followed up with his MBA in information technology. But he also has completed more than 40 post-graduate certifications and training sessions, spanning a wide range of technologies and project management methodologies.
While he got the training he needed on specific topics, he was looking for a more comprehensive cybersecurity program. He wanted to have a 360-degree view of security to understand the motivations and methods of hackers better and learn the best practices for protecting IT and computer assets.
“If I am in cybersecurity, should I be more in the offensive red team, or should I be in the blue team which is defensive? If I know both, I am a grandmaster,” Faiz explained.
He did copious amounts of research before choosing Simplilearn’s unique offering, comparing the value of the course curriculum to that offered by other providers. “I knew that I had to stay updated with the latest technology,” Faiz said. “I saw an opportunity with the Cyber Security Expert Master’s Course at Simplilearn.”
The Simplilearn Solution: Closing Knowledge Gaps
The Cyber Security Expert Master’s Course covers a lot of ground, including Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) training and Certified Ethical Hacking (CEH) training. Faiz wanted to get as complete a picture as possible, hoping to better understand the difference between preventive and reactive in the context of cybersecurity.
“These courses helped me to understand why a certain model is reactive and why something else is preventive,” Faiz said. “My job requires me to stay updated with the latest technology, and with these courses, it eases decision-making and clarifies why we are choosing a particular option over another.”
In fact, a lot of the material was a review of what he’d learned earlier; but he said he “fell in love” with the way the trainers at Simplilearn explained things. They were able to put all the pieces together in a way that created “aha” moments for Faiz. He also appreciated how up-to-date the training was, adding that Simplilearn’s trainers did a great job explaining how these technologies have evolved over the years and months.
As with any educational pursuit, it’s essential to have effective trainers. According to Faiz—who has taken courses from several different training providers—Simplilearn’s trainers go into incredible depth and simplify things for everyone to understand.
The Results: Better Equipped for a High-Profile Cyber Security Career
The main benefit Faiz credits to his Simplilearn experience is a clearer understanding of the difference between preventive (or “proactive”) and reactive cybersecurity approaches. It’s the difference between implementing best practices ahead of an attack and knowing how to best respond once an attack happens. Both are vital to a comprehensive cybersecurity program.
He also said his training helped him in his leadership role, empowering him to make better decisions that are backed by data. In addition to his CCSP and CEH certifications, the Simplilearn master’s course also prepared him for the Certification Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) certifications.
Looking ahead, Faiz envisions a future where many of these cybersecurity tasks are automated. What this means, he added, is that professionals such as himself will need to learn about big data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. The next big challenge for cybersecurity, he believes, is a focus on securing the various elements of the “internet of things” (IoT).
Cyber Security is a Moving Target: Stay Up-to-Date with Simplilearn
Cybercriminals are never going to go away, and as technology continues to enrich our lives, these benefits will be countered by the efforts of those who wish to exploit any vulnerabilities they find. Whether you’re an aspiring cybersecurity professional or already working in the industry, it’s a field that will provide plenty of opportunities for the foreseeable future. Check out Simplilearn’s wide range of security-related courses today!