Hands-on Cybersecurity Skills Training on a Budget: Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Money

Hands-on Cybersecurity Skills Training on a Budget

Cybersecurity threats continue to rise, and businesses of all sizes need to take steps to protect themselves. One crucial way to protect your organization from cyber threats is by providing your technical staff with hands-on cybersecurity skills training. In addition to your information security team, offering cybersecurity training for other technical staff, such as DevOps, System Administrators, and Cloud Administrators, can help improve your organization’s cybersecurity posture.

Training budgets are limited and are often one of the first things to go when reducing costs. This article shares a few tips that you can use to maximize your cybersecurity training budget for hands-on cybersecurity skills for your team.


Determine Your Training Needs

The first step is to assess your team’s current cybersecurity skill levels and determine what hands-on cybersecurity skills training they need. You can also look at what cybersecurity skills your technical team may need in the near future. For example, if you’re adding new cloud capabilities to your company’s infrastructure, strengthening your employees’ cloud security knowledge is imperative. Understanding your training needs will help you focus your budget on the areas that will benefit your organization the most.

Once you’ve secured a training budget, invest in the right training program for your company. The OffSec Flex Program gives your organization the ability to pre-purchase a block of training to utilize throughout the year as needed. In addition, OffSec will contribute bonus Flex Funds so your department’s budget goes further. Whether it’s onboarding a new hire or training in-house talent, Offensive Security’s Flex Program is here to partner with your organization.

The Flex Program works especially well for organizations that:

  • Have diverse teams with differing training needs
  • Prefer the flexibility to train on their own schedule
  • Need to spend a secured training budget to avoid the risk of losing it


Decide Where Costs Can Be Reduced

Hands-on specialized training can often require some expenses that can take up a lot of your training budget. There are travel expenses, instructor expenses, facility expenses, and delivery expenses, along with software licenses, the technology tools needed, and more. You may be able to reduce some of these costs by working with a local training provider or using an online platform such as Offensive Security’s Proving Grounds.


Consider Online Hands-On Cybersecurity Learning Platforms

A concern that many have about online cybersecurity training is the ability to conduct effective hands-on learning in a real-world environment. Offensive Security offers an interactive, hands-on learning environment for your technical teams to learn the skills necessary to succeed in their jobs. The hands-on exercises and challenges in the online platform provide an immersive learning experience on your employees’ own schedules.


Conduct Group Trainings

Group training benefits your employees to learn from others who are also completing the training. There is a social element to learning, and group training can foster additional growth in developing cybersecurity skills. Suppose you are implementing online, self-paced training such as the courses offered by Offensive Security. In that case, you can create a group cohort in your organization to have weekly check-ins or office hours with each other. This structure allows your employees to complete the self-study while forming a community in your organization to ask questions, support each other, and encourage accountability.


Develop a Mentor Program

You can develop a mentor program within your organization to help cross-train employees on various cybersecurity skills. An internal mentor program can help reduce your cybersecurity training costs by using internal resources. A mentor program is also an effective strategy to help you build a cybersecurity talent pool from within your organization.


It’s vital that the mentor program is structured and has a clear purpose. The mentorship program should have measurable objectives and a timeline for completion. An effective mentorship program helps build trust and rapport among team members, which is critical for team success.


Know the Implications of Not Training Your Team

Hands-on cybersecurity skills training is an investment in your company’s future and the safety of your company’s assets. As the frequency and sophistication of cyberattacks grow, it’s important to remember the implications of not providing hands-on cybersecurity skills training for your technical team. A lack of cybersecurity knowledge and skills can lead to human error, leaving your organization vulnerable to attack.


Final Thoughts

Hands-on cybersecurity skills training is an integral part of developing a solid technical team. By assessing your team’s needs and training goals, you can create cost-effective training that will help you get the most out of your cybersecurity training budget. Using an online platform such as Proving Grounds can provide you with a cost-effective way to train your team in the latest cybersecurity skills. And finally, don’t forget the importance of fostering a community of support within your organization to help employees cross-train and build rapport.

About the Author
Dr. Heather Monthie is a leader in Cybersecurity and IT education dedicated to developing workforce-ready professionals for the future. With a diverse background in education, leadership, and technology, she has worked with various businesses and educational institutions to develop successful cybersecurity education programs. She has served in various leadership roles within organizations that are committed to cybersecurity and STEM workforce development. She currently serves as the Head of Cybersecurity Training, Education, and Innovation at Offensive Security.