I’m Resigning From SANS

ADVISORY: The techniques and tools referenced within this blog post may be outdated and do not apply to current situations. However, there is still potential for this blog entry to be used as an opportunity to learn and to possibly update or integrate into modern tools and techniques.

Not sure what am I doing here with my hands?

John Strand//

Hello all,

Well, this is a painful post to write, so I will get right to it. I am on my last run of classes with the SANS Institute.

And, this is a good thing. It is a good thing for SANS SEC504, it is a good thing for me, my family, and my company. The management of SANS, Ed, and I have been talking about me moving on for about a year.

But first, let me backup a bit. I started teaching for SANS a long, long time ago. I think it was about 15 years, with the mentor program. I worked myself up through the ranks working under amazing people like Scott Weil, Stephen Northcutt, Mike Poor, and Ed Skoudis. I was strongly encouraged by all of them to do something outside of SANS. In fact, Stephen once came up to me and said if he ever heard that I was “only teaching for SANS,” I would be fired immediately. His point was that he wanted people who were active in the fields they were teaching. I took that to heart. So, I started BHIS and started building a team. All the while trying my best to emulate Ed Skoudis and Mike Poor when they founded InGuardians. This…. worked very well.

Then, a few years back, Chris Brenton, Paul, and I started Active Countermeasures. That is starting to take off as well.

Basically, it has gotten to the point that I need to be able to spend more time with my family and the companies we have started.

Does this mean I am done with SANS? No, not even close. I am going to shepherd SANS SEC504 through this process to another author and I will continue to present at SANS through webcasts.

Does this mean I am done teaching? No, not even close. I will continue to do webcasts with SANS and BHIS far into the future. Also, I will continue to teach Active Defense and Cyber Deception at Black Hat.


Will I never get a chance to see you in SEC504? Depends… below is a list of the final classes I will teach for SEC504:


And it should also be noted that Josh Wright will be taking over SEC504!! Which is great news for everyone.

Check him out here:


I would also like to take a moment to point out that part of the timing of this is because the SEC504 instructor corps is very, very strong. The people teaching SEC504 right now are the strongest group of instructors I have ever seen. It makes stepping away that much easier when you know that things will go on without you. The list of upcoming SEC504 classes can be found on the following link, and all of the instructors teaching are amazing.


I also wanted to write this as an official and public thanks to the entirety of SANS. All of the instructors, the management, and the staff have helped me become the security professional I am today. For that, I am grateful.

As for the students; everything I have done, and continue to do is to help ensure that SANS SEC504 is the greatest class you have ever taken, not just in the classroom, but through the presentations, blogs, and webcasts as well.


John Strand