Application Deadline: Closed

Academy Dates: July 7, 2021 September 10, 2021

What Is ISLA?

The Information Security Leadership Academy (ISLA) is a unique and rigorous program aimed at preparing the state’s security workforce for the critical roles of Information Security Officer (ISO), Agency Information Security Officer (AISO), or an expanded role within their department’s security office. The Academy incorporates security best practices, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) risk and security control frameworks, California-specific policy, standards, and compliance, and Information Security program management skills. Participants will have the opportunity to interact with the state’s security leaders and take part in a dynamic simulation experience, as well as complete the Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) training and exam in preparation for the CISM certification.

ISLA registration is open to the public sector Information Security personnel (e.g. state, county, and city agencies), tech-savvy IT, and aspiring ISOs passionate about security. Ideal candidates are currently working in an IT security management position.

The total program cost is $4,800 per participant.

How It Works

ISLA participants will develop and enhance their security skills through both formal training and the Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) exam at the end of their program experience. Students will receive advanced training on state-specific security requirements and compliance, as well as expand their leadership skills in a variety of areas. Program participants learn from security experts, participate in practical workshops, and complete a cyber-response simulation and exercise. To ensure their experience within the academy is meaningful and valuable, the ISLA Executive Sponsor and Program Coaches mentor participants throughout the program.

Professional Development

Participants will complete the Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) training and exam in preparation for certification.  Participants will acquire formal training on FIPS 199/200 and the Risk Management Framework (RMF). The state-of-the-art training program also includes critical coursework for the state’s security workforce including Information Security Leadership Foundations, Change Management, Cyber First Responder, and How to Be a Trusted Advisor, to name a few.

Throughout the academy, participants will network with their peers, Program Coaches, security professionals, and other executives who are on the forefront of the state’s security efforts.

How To Apply

The ISLA application period is now closed.

Please contact the Office of Professional Development (OPD) with questions at

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost for ISLA?

The cost for the 2021 academy is $4,800 per participant. There are no refunds once the academy begins.

When does ISLA start and end?

The 2021 ISLA will take place from July 7, 2021 – September 10, 2021.

What are the core hours for the training? 

Training sessions are held from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Where will the training be held?  

All training sessions will be conducted online using various platforms depending upon the instructor. Platforms may include, but are not limited to, Zoom, Cisco Webex, MS Teams or GoToMeeting.

How many days per week are the training sessions for this academy?  

 While the training schedule varies depending on the week, participants can generally expect to be engaged in training an average of 3-5 days a week.

A program schedule will be provided by the Office of Professional Development (OPD) staff upon acceptance into the academy.

What specific topics are covered in the curriculum, and how in-depth is the training?  

The course topics have been carefully selected by the Executive Sponsor, Program Coaches and OPD staff to provide a combination of both technical and leadership skills critical for the state’s Information Security workforce. Below is a tentative course listing for the 2021 program. Please note that course topics may be subject to change:

    • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) training and exam
    • FIPS 199/200 and Risk Management Framework
    • Information Security Leadership Foundations (with AISO and AIO Panel)
    • Executive Presentation Skills
    • Change Management
    • How to Be a Trusted Advisor
    • Cyber First Responder
    • Cyber Response to the Media
    • California Department of Technology Security Operation Center (SOC) Overview
    • California Cyber Security Integration Center (Cal-CSIC) Deep Dive & Threat Brief

What level of expertise and experience are you seeking from a candidate?

The ISLA welcomes applications from Information Security personnel, tech-savvy IT, and aspiring Information Security Officers (ISOs) who are passionate about security. Ideal candidates are currently working in an IT security management position. Participants in the academy are selected from state, county, and city agencies and departments that work in the Information Technology domain.

How are candidates selected?

With a limited number of spots in the academy, the application process is highly competitive. Participants are selected based on the quality and thoughtfulness of their application responses.

Do I have to attend all the training sessions to remain in the academy?

 ISLA covers a great deal of curriculum in its 9-week period. While some absences are unavoidable (e.g. illness), the maximum allowable absences is three. There are no make-up sessions for courses missed, and students who exceed this limit will be withdrawn from the academy. Therefore, if you have vacation or other planned time off during the academy that will significantly interfere with your participation, you are encouraged to apply for a future academy that will not have conflicting dates.