We’re very excited to host FRSecure’s upcoming 13th annual CISSP course. Registration for classes is open, and sessions will begin on Monday, April 11, 2022.
As the event has grown exponentially throughout the years and has now been attended by thousands of students, we felt that this year was a good time to look back on previous years’ classes, and how the program has evolved into its current state—and hopefully entice you to join us for this year’s course!
A Little About FRSecure
FRSecure is a full-service cybersecurity consultancy based in Minneapolis, MN. We are a mission-driven company dedicated to fixing what we consider to be a broken information security industry. One of the ways we contribute to the greater security landscape is by providing this training program every year with the intention of assisting existing and future security professionals who are pursuing their CISSP.
While most CISSP courses require a large investment to attend, FRSecure provides our CISSP Mentor Program for free in hopes that it will remove barriers for people seeking the certification. According to pre-COVID studies, the global dilemma caused by a lack of cybersecurity personnel is projected to reach new heights with 3.5 million open positions expected by this year (2022).
By providing the training, we hope to combat this issue and assist more people in becoming well-qualified security professionals. This means more high-quality employees in our field—allowing us to help more people protect themselves.
Breaking Down Barriers
Our contribution to solving the shortage would be simple. We decided to offer information security training to anyone and everyone—and help students pass the CISSP exam. In the design of the Mentor Program, we made sure to stay focused on which barriers we wanted to address.
Training can be expensive, and some employers are hesitant to foot the bill (for a number of reasons—among them is the “lost investment” if an employee leaves post-training). The cost for a CISSP course can exceed $3,000, and these courses are often delivered in a “boot camp” format.
Well, $3,000 is a lot of money for someone who must come up with the money themselves, and information security (beyond just passing the CISSP exam) requires much more than a boot camp.
How We Address it
We make our CISSP course 100% free (except the textbook and exam fee). One reason we don’t cover the cost of the textbook and exam is that students, if they’re committed to a career in this industry, should invest some skin in the game too.
Who can you trust in this industry? So many people claim to be experts, or even “the best.” Some make wild promises they can’t or won’t keep, including offering something for free. There are lots of bait and switch tactics used in the information security industry.
So, free doesn’t always mean what we think it does.
How We Address it
Trust is built over time by doing what you promised to do. 2022 will be our 13th CISSP course, and it’s still free.
It will always be free. No strings attached. Period.
The promise is simple—you have our commitment to do our best. We’re damn good at our jobs, you can ask around. But, you’ll only get what we can give you and what you put into and take out of it.
Barrier: Book Smarts vs. Street Smarts
You need them both to be successful. Passing the CISSP exam is one thing, being able to do the work is entirely different. Using the CISSP as the reason someone gets the job without considering the ability to actually do the job has a ripple effect for us all. It degrades the value of the CISSP and confuses employers.
How we Address it
Our CISSP course will not be taught by instructors who only have book smarts or street smarts. Our instructors are not just instructors. We have all passed the CISSP exam, and we’ve done the practical work that pairs for decades.
You can ensure with our CISSP course that we’ll cover everything you need to know to pass the test and tell you how things work in the “real world” too.
And that makes this course truly for anyone who has an interest in working in the industry.
Speaking of anyone who has an interest.
Too many people feel that a career in information security isn’t for them, for many reasons. Maybe they’re intimidated by others in our industry. Maybe there aren’t enough people who are like them. Maybe the whole thing is just confusing.
Either way, it’s clear that there are systematic and industry factors that keep people from pursuing an infosec career because it doesn’t feel like it’s for them.
How we Address it
Let this be an invitation to all.
Information security is for everyone and there’s a place for everyone. The Mentor Program is designed for all people, regardless of background or beliefs.
Sure, it’s challenging, and it takes a commitment of time and energy. But, there are only three beliefs you need to be great:
- The belief that information security isn’t about information or security as much as it is about people (we’ll elaborate in the course).
- The belief that we need you (truth is, we do!).
- The belief in yourself that you can do it (you can).
Now, I obviously have a lot of faith and pride in how this course was started and has evolved over the years. It’s easy for me to tout its successes having helped create the course. So, in an effort to be transparent and to walk the walk, we wanted to provide an example or a former attendee whose experience aligns with the goals and focuses of this CISSP course.
From Client to CISSP Student to FRSecure
Chad Spoden, Solutions Architect here in our office, was once a client of FRSecure in a previous role.
He was also one of the people attending our training program eight years ago, in pursuit of his certification. Chad had always been interested in security, but never thought about making a career switch until he learned of the CISSP course from his then FRSecure consultant. He was encouraged to sign up and attend.
Spoden successfully completed the class, and passed that fall after taking a few months to prepare. Earning his CISSP certification, he also earned a pathway into the security field.
“I enjoyed listening to Evan explain all the everyday discussions about security and how to apply that knowledge to real-world situations. Much of what I was hearing were new concepts, yet I understood what they meant. I knew I was getting a valuable foundation in information security, and I really liked that approach.”
When we interviewed Chad about his progression from a client to his position at FRSecure, he also mentioned struggling with confidence—namely imposter syndrome, and the dunning kruger effect simultaneously.
“IT and Security people are expected to perform at an exceedingly elevated level, have all the answers, be able to leap into action to solve any problem, and make it all look easy. That could not be further from the truth. The problem is that we are afraid to admit it. When I went through the CISSP course, I got my grounding and in a way was able to reset my expectations. I was at a point in my current career where I was burnt out—but did not know I was. Since I was making a career change, it was important for me to have the support I needed. The CISSP Mentorship Program helped my confidence grow over time. Others who know me well confirm to me that I am a different person. I used to have a challenging time carrying on a conversation with a stranger whom I just met for the first time. Now that is what I do day in and out, so I must be doing something right!”
With regards to how the program has grown in the last eight years since Chad was a student, he responded:
“The sheer number of participants taking the class is amazing to me. When I completed the course, it was 10-15 that started out and five or so that made it all the way to the end. I did it all remotely with no cameras and only audio at the time, so a lot has changed. I came down to the corporate office for one class just to meet Evan, and it was a very cool moment for me. There have been a lot of “wow” moments since then, like every time we help someone and they are genuinely grateful for what we do, how we do it, and why we do it. I never get tired of those moments.”
Over the years, people have come and gone, but one thing has never changed at FRSecure—and that’s our mission. From day one, the mission has always been “to fix the broken industry.” Our mission is everything, it’s our purpose for existing. If we believe it (which we do), then we’ll live it (which we also do).
Our CISSP course was born in 2010. Back in 2010, the rumor around the industry was that we were going to face a talent shortage, and it’s something we’re still dealing with today. So, if we have a talent shortage, and our mission is to fix problems, how could we sit around and not do something about this?
2010 was the beginning. Six students. One instructor.
We’ve taught the course every year since 2010, and it’s grown immensely. Now, we include multiple instructors, and last year we had more than 6,000 students enrolled!
This year (2022), the journey continues. The number of students we’ll help won’t be tallied for a while yet, but we’re introducing two more instructors from beyond FRSecure’s walls, for a total of five during this year’s course. The program will continue to grow for years to come, and we’re excited to help as many people as we possibly can.
I’m looking forward to making this year’s program the best one yet!
If you’re interested in registering for the CISSP Mentorship Program, you can do so here:
If you have any further questions about the course, FRSecure as a company, or anything else we can assist with, don’t hesitate to reach out any time!