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SmartCyber Leadership for Critical Infrastructure
Equipping leaders across the organization to address cyber risk successfully

Every critical infrastructure organization today is highly dependent on computing infrastructure, web-based process control systems, cyber-enabled devices, and connectivity to the Internet…

…and therefore highly vulnerable to all manner of cyber attack, with economic, national security, and health and safety consequences ranging from debilitating to disastrous.

Managing the associated risk is a task too enormous and too mission-critical to be delegated to a few individuals or a single department. Every executive and manager within the organization must play a knowledgeable, proactive role.

SmartCyber Leadership for Critical Infrastructure is the first and only executive development program to equip your organization’s business, operational, IT, and technical leaders alike to:

  • Attain a complete, real-time understanding of the data and data systems that power your organization—and the threats to which they are subject
  • Build cyber risk management into your business planning and enterprise risk management processes
  • Ensure that your organization’s cybersecurity spending and activities are directed most effectively

The program is offered by the Office of Professional & Continuing Education in partnership with cybersecurity learning and development experts KnowCyber, LLC.

The program’s high-impact foundational seminar that prepares leaders in all roles to strengthen the organization’s cybersecurity:

Concise, practical specialized courses build expertise in addressing key cybersecurity challenges:

Courses may be taken in any order. There are no prerequisites.

Courses are presented in public open-enrollment sessions on the Auburn campus and in Atlanta, Huntsville, and Washington, DC.

Any course or series of courses can also be presented on site at your organization. Content can be tailored or customized to address your organization’s, industry’s, and participants’ unique challenges.

All SmartCyber Leadership courses are interactive and results-oriented.

Participants develop both knowledge and know-how. With expert guidance, they work together through scenario-based simulations—learning by doing and mastering best-practice-based approaches.

Throughout the course each participant completes a SmartCyber Playbook—capturing lessons learned, noting items for follow-up, and developing action plans. This self-generated content—combined with the Playbook’s expert guidance and best-practice tools and techniques—means that follow-through and implementation can begin immediately once back on the job.

SmartCyber Leadership is the first and only executive development program expressly designed to build the knowledge and capabilities required by leaders of all types in critical infrastructure sectors.

  • For leaders across the organization’s business functions, departments, and operations: Strategic perspectives and the technical conversancy to ensure that, as part of its business decision making, the enterprise develops sound policies, makes wise investments, and adopts robust, cost-effective approaches to managing its cyber risk.
  • For the organization’s technical and IT leaders: Business perspectives and best practices for developing sound plans and programs, articulating the business case, integrating cybersecurity with business operations, leading implementation, and assessing effectiveness.
  • For leaders in all roles: Tools to collaborate effectively in assessing and addressing the organization’s cybersecurity challenges at every level.
    • SmartCyber participants engage in challenging, highly interactive learning sessions centered around an experiential, role-based simulation. With our instructors’ expert guidance, they gain practical perspectives, master key concepts, and, most importantly, return to their organizations equipped with a SmartCyber Playbook enabling them to improve their organizations’ cybersecurity strategy and resilience. What makes the SmartCyber Leadership program unique and valuable?

The program is presented through a partnership between Auburn University’s Office of Professional Development and Continuing Education and KnowCyber, LLC.

The Office of Professional Development and Continuing Education supports Auburn's long-standing tradition of outreach. It offers a wide range of non-credit courses and conferences, providing opportunities for professional advancement and lifelong learning in response to the challenges of a fast-evolving global economy.

The SmartCyber program advances Auburn University's mission as a leader in cyber education, research, development, policy, and practice. Auburn has been recognized by the U.S. National Security Agency as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Research. The Auburn Cyber Research Center works to advance cyber engineering and science, educate a superior cyber workforce, and engage industry, government, and academia for national and worldwide impact.

KnowCyber brings together industry-leading expertise in adult learning and development and in cybersecurity strategies and implementation. KnowCyber’s leadership team has more than a century of highly visible leadership in learning and development. The company applies the latest technologies and best practices in learning and development to design and create anytime, anywhere training programs that engage and energize today’s workforce. Program participants learn new behaviors quickly, and put them to work immediately. KnowCyber’s leadership also comprises government, academic, and private-sector thought leaders in cybersecurity. As the cyber universe evolves constantly, KnowCyber’s thought leaders provide expert perspective on cybersecurity developments as they happen, and the company draws on those insights continually to refresh its programs and develop new ones.

SmartCyber courses are designed for an organization’s mid-level and more senior leadership, both non-technical and technical. Senior leaders have a fiduciary responsibility to protect the information systems and information flows across the organization, while those in subordinate roles must be competent at doing so within their respective areas of responsibility.

Non-technical leaders will expand their understanding of how cybersecurity issues affect the entire organization. Technical leaders will acquire the perspectives they need to align their technical proficiency and cybersecurity activities to the organization’s business strategy, rhythms, and processes. As a result, both groups will gain a new appreciation for the importance of cybersecurity across the full range of the organization’s operations and activities. More importantly, they will increase their ability to carry out, competently and confidently, their key role-based responsibilities for assessing cybersecurity risks and requirements, and developing and implementing sound cybersecurity plans.

See the "Who Will Benefit" information included in our detailed course descriptions for further information.

Each participant who successfully completes a SmartCyber course receives a Certificate of Completion awarded by the Auburn University Office of Professional and Continuing Education. Individuals who complete five SmartCyber courses within three years also earn the SmartCyber Leadership Advanced Professional Certificate, awarded by Auburn University.

The SmartCyber Playbook is a unique feature of SmartCyber courses, and is the key to connecting in-course learning with changed behaviors and initiatives to improve organizational cybersecurity. The Playbook provides a structure for analyzing an organization’s cybersecurity effectiveness, structuring improvement activities, and strengthening cybersecurity processes.

Participants in each SmartCyber course receive a Playbook correlated with course content and objectives. During class they begin tailoring, adapting, and augmenting Playbook content to address the needs of their organization and their role within it. As a result, they return to the job prepared to apply immediately what they have learned.

Individuals who attend five or more SmartCyber courses and earn the Auburn University Advanced Professional Certificate in SmartCyber Leadership will gain access to a comprehensive Playbook addressing all key aspects of enterprise cybersecurity planning and implementation.

SmartCyber courses are presented in public open-enrollment classes, where participants can benefit from the experience and perspectives of their peers from a variety of organizations. They are also presented in in-house sessions tailored to the business imperatives and cybersecurity needs of specific organizations.

Each course session is centered around an experiential simulation that acquaints participants first-hand with key concepts, challenges, and opportunities, and then helps them master their own specific role-based responsibilities.

Throughout each session, participants have access to the Playbook for that course. The Playbook provides a roadmap for assessing the current cybersecurity state of the organization and identifying needed changes to improve it.

Participants have digital access to all course materials and an extended reference library. Printed copies of course materials will also be made available.

SmartCyber open-enrollment classes are currently held at convenient locations in Atlanta, GA, Washington, DC, Huntsville, AL, and Auburn, AL. Additionally, any SmartCyber course may be brought in-house for a specific customer, with sessions tailored and customized as required.

SmartCyber instructors are industry practitioners with decades of experience in their areas of expertise. Having been on the cybersecurity front lines in industry, government, and academia, they are highly skilled at helping organizations develop and implement cybersecurity improvement plans and helping individuals develop the cybersecurity skills and competencies necessary to carry out their related roles.

To learn more about the program’s current open-enrollment sessions, or to discuss the advantages of enrolling participants from across your organization, bringing the program to your organization for enterprise-wide benefit, and/or becoming a Founding Partner of the program, please contact Alan Spencer,, (334) 844-5193.

Last Updated: June 19, 2017