Opportunities for Self-Paced Cybersecurity Training

By Eric Cosman

Industry Trends

Although it can be a challenge to remain isolated in our homes to protect ourselves in the midst of the pandemic, the experience can also provide us with new opportunities. Many of us have read about the use of virtual collaboration tools to allow students to continue their education while classrooms and campuses have been closed. This opportunity is not limited to students. We can all take advantage of seminars and courses to enhance our current expertise in an area of specialty or explore new subjects of interest. 

Industrial cybersecurity is one of these subjects. Of course, various types of cybersecurity training have been available for several years, but some of the sources have now become more accessible as the owners have offered them for free for some period. While much of the available material is focused on general cybersecurity, there are also courses that are more focused on securing industrial systems. Those who work in the field, or those who aspire to do so, can use these resources to broaden their skills.


One example is the ICS-CERT Virtual Learning Portal, hosted by Idaho National Laboratories. This site includes over a dozen e-learning resources, covering topics from common ICS components and common practices to ICS cybersecurity consequences and risk management. Teach is described in terms of expected outcomes and the number of continuing education units granted on completion. These courses are free, but registration is required.

SANS Institute

The SANS Institute has long been a valuable source of cooperative research and education in the cybersecurity field. They offer a variety of free cybersecurity resources and programs, including news updates, resources to create a secure work-from-home workforce, and the ability to test drive many SANS courses. The latter includes demos of the various courses and the ability to evaluate content and suitability.


For those interested in searching more broadly for training and educational resources the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS) maintains education and training catalog where cybersecurity professionals across the nation can find over 5,000 cybersecurity-related courses. The courses are organized according to the specialties described in the National Cybersecurity Workforce Framework. Although these are not the same as the elements of the NIST Cybersecurity framework, they are very similar. This framework is described in detail in the NIST Special Publication 800-181.

NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework Specialty Areas Self-Paced Cybersecurity Training
NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework Specialty Areas


International Society of Automation (ISA)

The International Society of Automation (ISA) also provides a comprehensive set of training courses on the subject of industrial cybersecurity. These courses are available both in both classroom and online formats. Certificate programs are awarded to those who successfully complete the requirements of each of four courses. Those who achieve Certificates 1 through 4 are designated as an ISA/IEC 62443 Cybersecurity Expert. More information is available on the ISA web site.

For those who may be interested in more formal or degree level education there are resources such as EdX and Coursera. Both of these offer courses related to cybersecurity as part of a much broader range of subjects.

Have you had an opportunity to expand your skills and knowledge using these or other virtual resources? If so, ARC would love to hear more about your experiences.

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