Security Encyclopedia

GSEC (GIAC Security Essentials Certification)

The GSEC (GIAC Security Essentials Certification) is a professional certification for those seeking to demonstrate technical proficiency in the field of cybersecurity.

The GSEC invites comparison to the dominant certification, CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional), which is granted by the International Information System Security Certification Consortium, also known as (ISC)². The rigorous test is intended for those with a background in information systems and networking who are seeking to be trained and qualified for hands-on security roles. A small sample of areas covered in the GSEC are defense in depth, algorithms and their deployment, incident handling and response, penetration testing, endpoint security and much more.

The GSEC is administered with a remote proctor via ProctorU, or via in-person proctoring using PearsonVUE. It is sponsored and offered by the nonprofit Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC), which the for-profit SANS Institute created as a vendor-neutral certification and testing body. GSEC requirements include two 100-question, open-book, open-to-Google online exams, and a fee.


“There are a number of professional certifications for cybersecurity leaders, however the GSEC is one that focuses on technical proficiency as opposed to oversight or auditing.”