Sean Hanna: The luckiest people are the ones that do a job they love

Based on recommendation from our partners in EC Council we chose to invite Mr. Sean Hanna to deliver CEH v7 and CHFI training courses in 2 consecutive weeks in Sofia, in May 2011. From the first day of training we knew we had a great presenter and a highly experienced IT consultant with hands-on knowledge.

Sean was so kind as to answer couple of questions for our blog.

Sean, thank you for delivering the first Certified Ethical Hacker v7 (CEH v7) and Computer Hacking Forensics Investigator (CHFI) classes in Bulgaria. You did a great job. Please tell us about your professional background. You hold Bsc in Physics and Mathematics and you have worked as lead consultant for British Telecom. How did you end up teaching the EC Council classes?

I actually started as database programmer right back in the days of Dbase and Foxpro. My users needed someone to shown them how to use the systems I’d written, so I started to train them. Shortly I ended up doing more training than database development and I really liked meeting the different people rather than sitting in a dim, dark back room. I became a Microsoft MCT trainer on NT 3.51 and NT 4.0 in the early 1990’s. I was lucky enough to be invited over to work with Microsoft on the Exchange 2000 launch in Europe which ended up in me becoming a Messaging and AD Architect a couple of year later. My security path started after a customer required a secure network design. Finally I returned to what I’ve loved most of all: Training !!

As a professional security instructor and consultant you travel across the world. When and why was your most difficult class to teach? Do you have a funny story to tell about your travels?

My first few teaches of the Certified Ethical Hacking course were very tough. I don’t think I slept for the whole week for each the first deliveries!

You hold a number of leading industry certificates, among them CISSP, CEH, CHFI, ECSA, LPT, CISM, MCSE+ Security. Which was the hardest certificate to obtain and which one do you consider as most valuable for yourself?

The SANS certificates GCIA and GCIH were the most technically challenging but the I most proud of the fact that I’ve been a Microsoft Certified Trainer for over 12 years !!

What will be your advice to young professional seeking a career in the field of IT Security?

I’m asked this a lot. My advice is always the small. The luckiest people are the ones that do a job they love. So I think it’s very important to do something you really love. If a career in security is for you, don’t rush it. The best security consultants have many year of IT background in a very wide range of technologies. Without the right background and experience, you’ll never go anywhere in security.

You are a great presenter. Which are the skills necessary to be an attractive trainer and presenter? As a presenter which is your best asset?

A survey recently highlighted that the thing people are most scared off in the world is not snakes or spiders, not even death. Its public speaking!!

What is the skill that you would like to improve as a trainer?

My Bulgarian, so you’ll invite me back to your lovely country. I’ve also always wanted to learn to juggle with more than 3 balls to entertain the delegates during labs.

How do you stay mentally and physically fit during an intensive 5 day course?

That’s easy. I sleep at least 7 hours every night and I drink at least 2 liters of water every day.

What’s the best place to visit in Ireland?

A pub !!! No really, Ireland is a very small place. If you can spend as little as 5 days you see lots, but you will need a car. My favorite place in Donegal where we are lucky enough to have a holiday home. A rough and wild part of Ireland facing the USA across the Atlantic ocean. It is a very beautiful place.

What’s your favorite Irish dish? Please give us the recipe.

I love cooking and would do all the family cooking while I’m home. I like simple, fresh food. My Irish Stew recipe is legendary at home !! This will  feed at least 6  hungry adults and is great in the cold winter months.

Sean’s legendary Irish Stew recipe

  • 750g Beef Steak Pieces, rough cubed
  • 500g Lamb mince
  • 8 large Potatoes, peeled and cut in half
  • 2 Leaks well trimmed and sliced
  • 4 Large carrots, peeled and sliced thick
  • 1 Large turnip, peeled and diced large
  • 2 Small Parsnips, Peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 Large bunch of fresh parsley, washed and finely chopped
  • Vegetable stock
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

    Fry the beef and lamb off in a large pan at a very high heat with plenty of cooking oil until well brown. Drain off all  excess fat. Add the cooked meat and all vegetables (expect the potatoes) into a large stock pot and add vegetable stock  until ½ the contents are covered. Bring to a gentle boil with a lid on the pot. Do not fill the pot; the amount of water is very important as too much as this stage will leave you with more of a soup than a stew.

    As the vegetables cook, boil the potatoes in well salted water for 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and let sit.

    After 1 hour add the drained, cooked potatoes to the main stock pot and leave the lid off. Cook for a further 20 minutes. Be sure to stir at this stage as it may stick as the water boils off. The stew will become thick and heavy as it gets ready to serve. It should not have any liquid left when its ready. It will keep very well in the fridge for up to 5-6 days and will freeze very well.

    Enjoy with some bread !!

    Did you know that Stolichno Bock Beer tastes better than Guinness Stout?

    Actually I’m not a real Irish Man at all !!! My little secret is that I can’t stand the black stuff (what we call Guinness back home) and would rather have a pint of Stolichno any day 😉

    Thank you, Sean. We wish you good luck and safe trip back home.

    Sofia, May 20th 2011

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