Professional development

Advantages of online cybersecurity training [Updated 2020]

Kurt Ellzey
March 23, 2020 by
Kurt Ellzey

If there is one thing that can’t be denied, the Web has made the world a smaller place. People are able to work together towards common goals from across the planet, hang out, game and teach without many of the costs or barriers to entry that would have been in place five or ten years ago.

Certifications have long benefited from this kind of connectivity — being able to have on-demand testing instead of reserving giant rooms and staff reduced the costs involved for examinations tremendously. However, this method also has applied to studying for those exams as well.

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Online cybersecurity training grew out of elements such as cloud computing, virtualization, video and text chat and so much more. We're going to go over some of the benefits of this method compared to traditional classroom-based courses, as well as some of the unique post-class possibilities that this allows.

1. Transportation

A key element of online training is that it comes to you. While certain training programs for groups of students beyond a certain number also do this in traditional classroom-based courses, being able to do this potentially from your home goes above and beyond even having a dedicated room at your day job.

2. Focus

Off-site training and online training share a common element — being able to get away from the day-to-day requirements of your organization and focus in on what is being presented to the best of your ability.

Online training, however, takes this a step further to where you could potentially be doing this out of your home. This means that distractions are reduced to almost the absolute minimum possible. If your home responsibilities can be too distracting, you can move whatever you're using for access to a place of your choosing — a library, a back porch and so on.

3. Comfort

There are very few other situations where you could be in class in pajamas or be sitting on a couch and not have potential problems. Most online courses allow for video and audio chat, but video chat is only ever required for the instructor. If you want to be studying risk management or calculating subnet masking in fluffy slippers while eating a Hot Pocket, you'll want to take this into consideration.

4. One-on-one educator time

Online training allows for as-needed one-on-one time with the instructor, where you are able to ask questions during lectures as allowed, have them look over your labs and reset them as needed or continue conversations after class in time frames that may otherwise not be available.

Online training also allows for considerably more time after class than typically would be allowed in a physical setting, so there is time to go over items that you or others may be having difficulty with.

5. Post-class availability

With very few exceptions, resources available with classroom-based training are only usable during class. With online training, however, most sessions are available after the fact for a number of weeks. If you want to go back through the lab? Have at it. Didn’t have time during class to cover a chapter? It’s all yours. If you have a situation at work that could benefit from access to a resettable instance? Knock yourself out.

6. Continuous updates

Most classroom courses are able to update only once per semester, if that. In the case of online training, however, if something major comes up in the real world that changes how things operate? That can be incorporated into the material significantly easier.

7. On-the-fly tweaks for classwork

Likewise, if something suddenly becomes irrelevant or if the people attending class need more time on specific elements for their responsibilities? Online training can do that and still allow for time to be able to go over items not explicitly covered by the instructor.

For example: In most cases, labs once unlocked are available from that point on, so students can go through labs and cover material in class that the instructor didn’t have time for. And given the amount of material that each class may need to cover, that could be substantial.

8. Costs

Here's one of the big ones. If you had to fly out for a high-level certification course, rent a car, spend a week at a hotel, eat out every day and spend time out with your classmates, that is a considerable expense before you ever even consider the cost of the class itself!

Now consider that physical textbooks are replaced with searchable PDFs, rental and upkeep costs for a classroom are eliminated, and all of those expenses listed above for the instructor aren't required any more. With all of this taken into account, online cybertraining is far more cost-effective than traditional classroom training.

9. Rewind

We went into this briefly when looking at post-class availability, but the benefits available from this item deserve their own section. During a class, it can seem like you can recall everything clearly; it all makes sense and you’ve got this all nailed down. Two weeks after that, though, you might be struggling to remember even the instructor’s name.

Fortunately, most online classes are recorded and available as long as the labs are. You want to review a specific topic? You can watch that section all over again and — more importantly — rewind specific sections repeatedly if you are having a hard time understanding them. All without relying on trying to decode notes that you scribbled at top speed.

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There are certain situations where traditional classroom training does have benefits over online training: If your Internet access is unreliable, if you have a workstation with a small monitor or if it’s difficult to get away from your day-to-day responsibilities. That being said, each of those problems can usually be overcome with some assistance, and the other benefits to online training typically outweigh the limitations.

Kurt Ellzey
Kurt Ellzey

Kurt Ellzey has worked in IT for the past 12 years, with a specialization in Information Security. During that time, he has covered a broad swath of IT tasks from system administration to application development and beyond. He has contributed to a book published in 2013 entitled "Security 3.0" which is currently available on Amazon and other retailers.