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CSSIA | National Center for Systems Security and Information Assurance


National Center for Systems Security
and Information Assurance
Palos Hills, IL

John Sands
Co-Principal Investigator
(708) 955-5426

Multifaceted Approach Prepares Students for Cybersecurity Careers

CSSIA uses a three-pronged approach to student success.

Its virtual teaching and learning environment engages students in experiential learning. By working in CSSIA’s safe “sandbox” environment separate from colleges’ networks, students across the US are learning the skills required in today’s challenging cybersecurity profession.

By developing and expanding student cybersecurity skills competitions, CSSIA enables students to leverage the knowledge and skills they learn in classrooms and to hone their workforce abilities.

CSSIA’s partnerships with the Association of Computer/ Information Science Engineering Departments at Minority Institutions and the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science connect minority and underrepresented populations to cybersecurity workforce opportunities.

CSSIA Virtual Environment Provides Instructors with Up-to-Date Resources

CSSIA prepares the next generation of cybersecurity practitioners by incorporating current technologies, equipment, and products into its virtual teaching and learning environment. The virtual teaching and learning center continuously evolves and partners with major vendors to provide instructors with resources that incorporate technologies, equipment, and products used in today’s information systems.

The CSSIA virtual teaching and learning environment has been adopted by 250 educational institutions. Instructors at these institutions impact more than 10,000 students enrolled in cybersecurity courses, certificate programs, and two-year degrees. Students who use the virtual environment develop problem solving, network defense, and troubleshooting skills that are critical for today’s cyber workforce.

CSSIA’s virtual gymnasium is also utilized by several national cybersecurity student competitions. These competitions connect students with employers, who assist with these events. Employers evaluate students’ knowledge, technical skills, teamwork, and problem solving in the cyber attack situations posed within the dynamic competition environment. Aside from the opportunity to interact with employers, the competitions broaden students’ employability by enabling them to incorporate virtualization in their learning.