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7 Free (or Cheap) Ways to Increase Your Cybersecurity Knowledge

Building cybersecurity skills is a must; paying a lot for the education is optional. Here are seven options for increasing knowledge without depleting a budget.

Cybersecurity isn't free. Sure, there's little cost to users who follow best security practices in their day-to-day actions, but when it comes to learning how to defend against skilled criminals and set up secure systems, there's generally a cost attached. For professionals who know the basics and want to get better at their profession, costs can quickly add up. For smaller organizations, that cost can be prohibitive, but what is the alternative?

It turns out there are ways to boost knowledge and skill without dipping deeply into the operating budget for the year — and if you're a professional who wants to increase your skills, you can do it without endangering your retirement account.

The options range from free training offered by industry groups to online classes provided by major universities. Throw in training that taxes have paid for and regional gatherings, and you have an array of possibilities that can go a long way toward boosting the value and usefulness of most security pros — or those IT professionals who want to add "security" to their portfolio.

There are costs associated with many of these - and not necessarily in dollars. For instance, few of the free offerings provide certifications of class completion: If you want a (virtual) piece of paper, you'll have to pay up. And if you want the work to lead to a degree, you'll have to pay more. But even in those cases, the options in this list are likely much more affordable than most commercial training courses. At the very least, these can be a good way to brush up on skills, or a way for an IT pro to find out whether security is a path they want to tread.

(Image: Alexas_Fotos)

About the Author(s)

Curtis Franklin, Principal Analyst, Omdia

Senior Analyst, Omdia

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Analyst at Omdia, focusing on enterprise security management. Previously, he was senior editor of Dark Reading, editor of Light Reading's Security Now, and executive editor, technology, at InformationWeek, where he was also executive producer of InformationWeek's online radio and podcast episodes

Curtis has been writing about technologies and products in computing and networking since the early 1980s. He has been on staff and contributed to technology-industry publications including BYTE, ComputerWorld, CEO, Enterprise Efficiency, ChannelWeb, Network Computing, InfoWorld, PCWorld, Dark Reading, and ITWorld.com on subjects ranging from mobile enterprise computing to enterprise security and wireless networking.

Curtis is the author of thousands of articles, the co-author of five books, and has been a frequent speaker at computer and networking industry conferences across North America and Europe. His most recent books, Cloud Computing: Technologies and Strategies of the Ubiquitous Data Center, and Securing the Cloud: Security Strategies for the Ubiquitous Data Center, with co-author Brian Chee, are published by Taylor and Francis.

When he's not writing, Curtis is a painter, photographer, cook, and multi-instrumentalist musician. He is active in running, amateur radio (KG4GWA), the MakerFX maker space in Orlando, FL, and is a certified Florida Master Naturalist.

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