GSNA explained

GSNA: A Comprehensive Guide to the GIAC Systems and Network Auditor Certification

5 min read Β· Dec. 6, 2023
Table of contents

The field of information security, or cybersecurity, is rapidly evolving, with new threats and vulnerabilities emerging every day. As a result, organizations are increasingly recognizing the importance of having skilled professionals who can effectively audit and assess their systems and networks to ensure their security. One certification that stands out in this domain is the GIAC Systems and Network Auditor (GSNA) certification.

What is GSNA?

GSNA, offered by the Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC), is a highly regarded certification that validates an individual's knowledge and skills in auditing and assessing information systems and networks. This certification focuses on auditing techniques, Compliance, and best practices to ensure the security and integrity of an organization's information assets.

How is GSNA Used?

The GSNA certification equips professionals with the necessary skills to conduct comprehensive Audits and assessments of systems and networks. These audits help organizations identify vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and potential risks to their information assets. By conducting these audits, GSNA-certified professionals can provide valuable insights and recommendations to improve the overall security posture of an organization.

GSNA-certified professionals play a crucial role in ensuring compliance with industry standards and best practices. They possess the skills to assess an organization's adherence to various regulatory requirements, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), or the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). By conducting audits and assessments, GSNA-certified professionals help organizations meet these compliance obligations.

The History and Background of GSNA

The GSNA certification was introduced by GIAC in 2003 to address the growing need for professionals who could effectively audit and assess information systems and networks. GIAC, founded in 1999, is an independent organization that provides certifications and training programs in various fields of information security.

Over the years, GSNA has gained recognition as a valuable certification in the cybersecurity industry. It has become a benchmark for evaluating an individual's knowledge and skills in auditing and assessing systems and networks.

Examples and Use Cases

GSNA-certified professionals are involved in various aspects of auditing and assessing systems and networks. Some examples of their responsibilities include:

  1. Vulnerability Assessments: GSNA-certified professionals conduct vulnerability assessments to identify weaknesses and Vulnerabilities in systems and networks. They use a variety of tools and techniques to identify potential risks and recommend appropriate remediation measures.

  2. Penetration Testing: GSNA-certified professionals may also perform penetration testing, where they simulate real-world attacks to identify potential security weaknesses. By exploiting Vulnerabilities, they help organizations understand their potential impact and recommend appropriate countermeasures.

  3. Compliance Audits: GSNA-certified professionals are well-versed in industry standards and regulatory requirements. They conduct compliance audits to ensure that organizations are meeting the necessary security and privacy standards, such as HIPAA, PCI DSS, or GDPR.

  4. Security Policy Development: GSNA-certified professionals assist organizations in developing and implementing effective security policies and procedures. They ensure that policies align with industry standards and best practices and help organizations establish a robust security framework.

Career Aspects and Relevance in the Industry

The GSNA certification opens up numerous career opportunities in the cybersecurity field. It demonstrates an individual's expertise in auditing and assessing systems and networks, making them highly desirable for roles such as:

  • IT Auditor: GSNA-certified professionals can work as IT auditors, conducting comprehensive assessments of an organization's systems and networks to identify vulnerabilities and risks.

  • Security Analyst: With their in-depth knowledge of auditing techniques, GSNA-certified professionals can work as security analysts, analyzing security logs, conducting risk assessments, and implementing security measures.

  • Compliance Officer: GSNA-certified professionals are well-equipped to work as compliance officers, ensuring that organizations adhere to industry standards and regulatory requirements.

  • Security Consultant: GSNA-certified professionals can work as security consultants, providing expert advice and recommendations to organizations on improving their security posture and addressing vulnerabilities.

The relevance of GSNA in the industry lies in its ability to bridge the gap between technical and business aspects of information security. By understanding both the technical intricacies and the business implications of security, GSNA-certified professionals can effectively communicate with stakeholders and drive security initiatives within organizations.

Standards and Best Practices

The GSNA certification is based on a comprehensive body of knowledge that covers various industry standards, frameworks, and best practices. Some of the key references for GSNA certification include:

  • NIST Special Publications: The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) publishes special publications that provide guidelines and best practices for securing information systems. GSNA candidates are expected to be familiar with these publications, such as NIST SP 800-53 and NIST SP 800-171.

  • ISO/IEC Standards: The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) publish standards related to information security. GSNA candidates should have a good understanding of standards such as ISO/IEC 27001 and ISO/IEC 27002.

  • CIS Controls: The Center for Internet Security (CIS) provides a set of critical security controls that organizations can implement to enhance their security posture. GSNA candidates should be familiar with the CIS Controls and their implementation.


The GSNA certification offered by GIAC is a highly valuable certification for professionals in the cybersecurity industry. It equips individuals with the knowledge and skills to effectively audit and assess systems and networks, ensuring their security and compliance with industry standards. GSNA-certified professionals play a crucial role in identifying vulnerabilities, recommending remediation measures, and driving security initiatives within organizations.

The certification's relevance in the industry lies in its ability to bridge the gap between technical and business aspects of information security. With their expertise in auditing techniques, compliance, and best practices, GSNA-certified professionals are well-positioned to pursue various career paths, such as IT auditors, security analysts, compliance officers, or security consultants.

By earning the GSNA certification, professionals demonstrate their commitment to excellence in information security and position themselves as valuable assets in an increasingly interconnected and vulnerable digital landscape.


Featured Job πŸ‘€
Sr. Product Manager

@ MixMode | Remote, US

Full Time Senior-level / Expert USD 150K - 200K
Featured Job πŸ‘€
Information Security Engineers

@ D. E. Shaw Research | New York City

Full Time Mid-level / Intermediate USD 230K - 550K
Featured Job πŸ‘€
Technology Security Analyst

@ Halton Region | Oakville, Ontario, Canada

Full Time CAD 77K - 103K
Featured Job πŸ‘€
Senior Cyber Security Analyst

@ Valley Water | San Jose, CA

Full Time Senior-level / Expert USD 139K - 179K
Featured Job πŸ‘€
IngΓ©nieur de Production IAM (H/F)

@ CITECH | Marseille, France

Full Time Mid-level / Intermediate EUR 240K+
Featured Job πŸ‘€
Senior Manager, Security GRC & Trust

@ Greenlight | Atlanta (Remote Friendly)

Full Time Senior-level / Expert USD 180K
GSNA jobs

Looking for InfoSec / Cybersecurity jobs related to GSNA? Check out all the latest job openings on our GSNA job list page.

GSNA talents

Looking for InfoSec / Cybersecurity talent with experience in GSNA? Check out all the latest talent profiles on our GSNA talent search page.