Level Effect Debuts Cybersecurity Boot Camp Developed During Pandemic Lockdown

While many of us were adjusting to new routines during the early weeks of the COVID 19 pandemic, Level Effect founders Greg Ake and Robert Noeth focused on addressing the needs of job seekers interested in a cybersecurity career. Those efforts have paid off with their new cybersecurity training course that can certify students in the skills needed to be a cyber defense analyst.

The cyber defense analyst training course is 13 weeks long and costs $8,000, with the first cohort starting July 6. The course content, labs, virtual machines, and networks are accessible regardless of the student’s location, to accommodate those training remotely from home during the pandemic.

Upon successful completion, the user is certified as a Cyber Defense Certified Professional (CDCP ), a new certification the Level Effect founders created to describe the skills needed by professionals to do specific tasks associated with cyber defense analyst positions. The Cyber Defense Analyst course curriculum uses and exceeds the knowledge, expertise, ability, and task objectives outlined by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) standards for cyber education, training, and workforce development.

“The CDCP fills a gap in existing cyber defense certifications for both the hard and soft skills that are required and in high demand within the cyber community,” said Ake. “We use real-world security operations scenarios that students must successfully navigate to demonstrate they have the knowledge, skill, and practical application to work within a security operations team.”

Ake and Noeth are both the creators and instructors of the cyber defense analyst course. The duo has over 20 combined years of experience as intelligence analysts, offensive and defensive cyber operators, and software developers within the National Security Agency. 

Salima Allarakhia, an engineering manager working in security development, is one of Ake’s former students who helped review the new training course.

“The new Level Effect Program is much different from other boot camps currently available,” Allarakhia said. “The program comes in a hands-on modular format with specific core areas that are part of the skills that are increasingly becoming more desirable for potential employers.”

The training modules can help someone become an entry-level security operations center analyst, incident response analyst, or a cyber threat hunter.

Students will “even start developing skills towards cloud security engineering, which is why this program is so appealing,” Allarakhia added.  “You can read tons of material, do lots of online training, but if you don’t know how to think like a security engineer, you will struggle with applying these skills. 

“Greg brings his background into the program and gives students lots of factual detail to blend the content, hands-on material, and real-world experience to the table so you can become more well rounded when you complete the program.”

Founded in 2017, the San Antonio-based startup is a member of the Build Sec Foundry cybersecurity incubator. They first built a defensive bot or automated software tool that can scan a network for criminals and potentially stop them.

Level Effect’s tool provides businesses an automatic triage of incoming cybersecurity threats. The cyber startup designed their patented network-aware endpoint forensics product called Recon for midmarket and enterprise companies that must handle an overload of telemetry and alert data to identify and contain malicious network activity. 

Build Sec Foundry incubator co-founder Will Garrett calls the new training course “a good move during a pandemic for Level Effect to see the market for broader enterprise workforce training.”

Cybersecurity risk management becomes even more critical as more people work and learn from remote locations. The workforce “needs to be smarter about cybersecurity with so many working from home,” Garrett said. “Going to the marketplace with a new skills-based certification can help job seekers become a security practitioner.”

While Ake and Noeth launched Level Effect to help small- and medium-sized businesses handle cybersecurity threats, the pandemic got them thinking about the rapidly changing workforce and the need to diversify revenue streams.  

“They are an example of the type of startup we want to see grow and succeed in San Antonio,” said Garrett, who is also vice president for cybersecurity development at Port San Antonio. “We started Build Sec Foundry to help cyber product companies like Level Effect succeed. This new training course helps them diversify with a value-added side to their business that will help them scale.”

Featured image is of trained cybersecurity professional. Cybersecurity training and certifications can help job applicants get hired for cyber jobs in high demand in every industry and the government sector. Photo credit: Northup Grumman.

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Iris Gonzalez

Iris Gonzalez is a writer based in San Antonio, Texas, covering innovation in emerging tech, cybersecurity, and bioscience startup companies in San Antonio.

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