SkillsDA: Redefining the Cyber Training

Kottaram V Ramesh,Managing Director

Kottaram V Ramesh

Managing Director

Cybersecurity is a growing and lucrative field. It is an industry in which you can make a difference globally; however, believe it is also an industry in which there needs to be more of a focus on diversity and inclusion, especially when it comes to hiring neurodiverse employees from a vast talent pool. Question is; where is that talent pool? Cybersecurity is a mission critical priority for organizations. But the cyber profession continues to face a major challenge: a substantial talent gap. There are not enough qualified individuals to fill millions of open positions globally. These near term steps are just one piece of the puzzle fact is, companies can’t automate and outsource their way out of such a large cyber talent gap. There will always be a need for internal cyber talent focused on the most critical aspects of an organization’s business.

The general perception of cyber culture of the industry has been beset by stereotypes, including the notion that cyber teams are made up of young, hoodie wearing males, typing away at highly technical work in dark basements.This perception needs to change because it’s simply not accurate. On the contrary, the reality today is that cyber is at the center of the business universe, fundamental to the sustainable success of all organizations in the global commerce. Without adequate cybersecurity and privacy controls, organizations cannot properly function in today’s climate. Cybersecurity and privacy lay at the foundation of every well organized company and serve as business enablers, and proper implementation can serve as a way to project trust to customers.

SkillsDA has grasped the essence of this very notion as it supplies a humongous assortment of training programs & courses to redefine the cyber culture. SkillsDA, a brand of Ingu’s Knowledge Academy Pvt. Ltd. and an ISO-certified Edutech company focused on knitting the industry and skilled staff together to delight the end customers. Addressing these three stakeholders across industries, SkillsDA is a dedicated training and upskilling ecosystem.

Incepted in 2018, SkillsDA has been growing exponentially owing to their uniqueness and their ability to arm aspiring cybersecurity professionals with the required skills needed to combat serious cyberthreats. SkillsDA has catapulted the Indian cybersecurity education space and has signed MoUs with leading institutions across the country, including Amrita Vishwa Vidya Peetham and Coimbatore Institute of Technology as well as corporate giants such as Wipro and L&T and has also been selected to provide training to 20,000 army personnel over the span of five years.A

Treasure Chest of Courses & Programs
SkillsDA offers easy self-paced programs with a focus on a variety of courses and students can choose between online and offline courses. Before enrolling students, SkillsDA also conducts an extensive assessment to find out the existing competency of the candidate. This step implying analysis helps SkillsDA to identify the weakness as well as the strong points of their students with the help of which they can work towards actualizing their true potential. The theory classes begin, which is followed by the practical and then hands-on training in virtual labs and simulators.

Industry curated programs that are jointly certified by SkillsDA and NASSCOM Future Skills such as Foundational course in Cyber Security (SFC 101), Foundational course in IoT (SFI 201) and Foundation Course in Blockchain technology (FCBC001) and NOS topics are the key takeaways from SkillsDA’s course bucket. The course offered by SkillsDA provides job opportunities for graduating students as they are industry recommended courses.

Some of the specialized courses include Cybersecurity Offensive and Cybersecurity Defensive modules and the NSD Certified Penetration Testing Course (NCPT). Penetration testing domain from NSD is a recognized empanelment program for information security professionals with hands-on proven experience in vulnerability analysis and penetration testing. The domains test a candidate’s skill, approach and knowledge that can provide an organization with a reliable workforce for detection and mitigation of cyber security threats in a timely manner. SkillsDA also offers specific courses for corporate and the BFSI segment.

SkillsDA has constantly on-boarded only industry experts and researchers who have worked for companies like IBM and TCS in the past and have contributed to essential turnkey researches in cybersecurity. With a simple yet effective approach, SkillsDA focuses on capturing learners’ attention and ensuring high dissemination of knowledge. There is also an external and much needed focus on placement interviews, job readiness, and soft skills training as a result of which SkillsDA is able to ensure a high probability of employment opportunities. The strong industry connect of the trainers also helps the students of SkillsDA acquire valuable industry expertise and experience even as they are studying. SkillsDA’s unique ITD model of hiring - “Identify, Train, Deploy” is particularly helpful as the right students are identified for their niche expertise and trained according to the job roles specified by companies. The learning is curated towards the job roles that they are looking to fill as a result of which the students’ training can be mapped appropriately to the right job position in future. This unique ITD hiring technology has helped them offer impressive placement opportunities for their students and become a trusted partner for both students and corporates a like.

SkillsDA provides specific competencies such as Identity and Access Management, Enterprise Vulnerability Management, Cognitive Threat management and Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC)where
there is a huge requirements from hiring companies.

Not just the Centre, but a Cross Dimension of Excellence
“We, at SkillsDA, work on an ethos. It is to remain committed to reach more people, and their association with major Universities and their affiliated institutions. This allows us to do just that by extending support to every college and facilitating the training and placement efforts of the institution”, says Kottaram V Ramesh, Managing Director, SkillsDA. We are the training part of the ecosystem comprising of Cyberange and ISAC that has a private public partnership (PPP) with an entity under the Prime Minister’s office called NCIIPC (National Critical Information Infrastructure Production Center). ISAC also has MoU with CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team), which is the one and only entity where the cybercrime related advisories are issued to the Government, corporates and the general public and AICTE ( All India Council for Technical Education )

SkillsDA has been given a mandate from ISAC to create 100,000 cyber security professionals within the next two years. SkillsDA is the Training Partner with NASCOM Future Skills in the emerging technologies, especially in Cyber Security, IOT and Block Chain . The firm’s commitment to reach a wide variety of students is rivalled only by their own commitment to infrastructural quality. SkillsDA takes pride on its state-of-the art training center with high tech classrooms, virtual labs, an impressive Smart City Simulator and Security Operations Centre (SOC).

“Skillsda provides specific competencies such as identity and access management, enterprise vulnerability management, cognitive threat management and governance, risk& compliance(grc) where there is a huge requirements from hiring companies

This Smart City Simulator is no superficial installation. The practical element of cyber security and the necessity of cyber offensive/cyber defensive training is core to the strategy of SkillsDA. While the theoretical training is exhaustive and research intensive, the hands-on element of praxis is equally valued. The Smart City Simulator, for instance, provides students with the much needed reallife impetus to draw on in their cybersecurity training. This sprawling real life simulation is replete with all the functional elements of a city vulnerable to cybert hreats.

Emphasizing on the importance of hands on training, Kottaram V Ramesh says, “The crux of the matter is that hands-on experience is the most important part when it comes to cyber security. You have to practice and practice if you want to become a good cybersecurity professional. There are many job roles within cybersecurity and what we offer is this kind of hands-on training for the learners apart from the basic theory and understanding of cybersecurity. Our simulator is the only one of its kind in India and our virtual labs simulate realworld scenarios with utmost precision.

That’s how we get our students to be job ready. We reduce the gap between what is required in the industry and what the candidate must know by providing this kind of handson training to the aspiring cybersecurity professionals. Our simulator also helps the students to get trained in the particular industry that they want to work as a cybersecurity professional which increases their employ ability.

Ethical Practices
SkillsDA has also been a partner with Clean Exit to provide training for prospective employees. Clean Exit helps organisations and individuals in getting certified for ethical work practices and behaviours. Individuals can take an ethical pledge and they can have their credentials verified and obtain a Clean Exit Rating, which can be a benchmark for potential recruiters. Clean Exit provides HR with powerful tools to rate employees for their behaviour across their lifecycle in the organization, and enables you to report employee misconducts and frauds in a central database. SkillsDA’s partnership with Clean Exit marks an entry point to ethical practices in corporations as well as the general ethical fabric of the nation.

SkillsDA’s partnership with ISAC on providing Cybercrime Intervention Officers Program (CCIO) is another remarkable venture in ensuring equal opportunity of knowledge in cybersecurity. Cybercrime’s very nature and experience can leave a child scarred. It is not one to be ignored as children are faced with daily challenges posed by the internet. The CCIO is a course designed for parents and teachers to provide them with essential background on cyberpsychology and cybercrimes. The course allows you to detect early signs of problems in school children and teenagers affected by their online activities and equips you with proper guidance and counselling for timely intervention. This program educates the learner about all the various facets of cybersecurity.

Future to Educate All
Riding on the technological wave, SkillsDA has been able to create the perfect learning environment for their students to study and develop. Apart from state-of-the-art classrooms and labs, they also use equipment and tools which are all industry 4.0 compliant. SkillsDA also has special programs on cybersecurity for school students to help them understand good cybersecurity practices from the 6th grade onwards enabling them to combat the cyberthreats of the future and to be Cyber hygienic. As part of their blueprint for the future, SkillsDA is aiming to educate at least 100,000 students Y-O-Y on various cybersecurity courses and make them jobready. With a keen eye for emerging technologies, SkillsDA is striving to create more and more job opportunities for their students and develop into a globally recognized brand.

Mandatory Courses under UGC and AICTE guidelines and notifications
1.Foundation Course in Cyber Security(SFC 101)
2.Foundation Course in Internet of Things(IOT)SFI201
3.Foundation Course in Block Chain(FC-BCT)

NSQF Level 7 courses
1.Security Analyst-InfoSec Management (NOS 0901)
2.Security Analyst-InfoSec Incident Response (NOS 0902)
3.Security Analyst-InfoSec audits preparedness (NOS 0905)
4.Application Security Analyst-Vulnerability Assessments (NOS 0909)
5.Application Security Analyst-Hardening and Deployment configuration (NOS0919)
6.Application Security Analyst-Monitoring and Mitigation (NOS 0911)

National Security Database certified courses
1.Cognitive Threat Management
2.NSD Cadet
3.NSD Falcon
4.Clean Exit Ethics certification
5.Digital Media and Storage Forensics
6.Mobile Forensics

Job Assured certified Courses
1.Identity and Access Management
2.Enterprise Vulnerability Management
3.Governance, Risk and Compliance(GRC)
4.SOC management L1, L2, L3, L4
5.Virtual Labs based Training module