It has been a busy 4 months trying to juggle the Cyber Security coursework, my day job and fighting the occasional procrastination monster but I have finally completed the Cisco Global CyberSecurity Scholarship program!
All that is left is to complete the CyberOps certification exams! (At the time of posting this, I have completed the first exam which I will talk more about in another post.)
The scholarship program is delivered through Global Knowledge using Cisco Learning Network Store’s CCNA CyberOps self-paced eLearning course. It also includes a few extra bits such as access to live weekly mentoring sessions, which are also recorded, and discussion boards.
The eLearning course is broken down into 2 parts: Understanding Cisco Cybersecurity Fundamentals and Implementing Cisco Cybersecurity Operations mapping directly to the CCNA CyberOps curriculum.
Organized like how a real-life class would be, each chapter consists of theory (Some readings and bite-sized videos), practical (lab simulations for that chapter) and end of chapter quizzes.
The readings and videos are of high quality, covering everything you need to know for the CyberOps curriculum.
However I was more impressed by how the labs were setup and delivered to participants.
All labs are hosted on Amazon AWS where each participants are allocated a fresh virtual lab instance each time they initiate a lab session. The labs are accessed through your browser allowing the participants to jump straight into completing labs rather than wasting time troubleshooting lab access issues.
The lab reinforces the concepts taught in each chapter and as you progress further into the course, you will find yourself regularly swapping between the hats of a malicious actor and a security analyst!
Wearing the hat of a malicious actor first, you will learn how to look for and exploit common vulnerabilities like XSS, SQL/command injection and password cracking against a deliberately vulnerable enterprise infrastructure.
Once you have learn how a particular vulnerability works, you will then put on the hat of a security analyst to learn how to prevent vulnerabilities and spot common exploits in logs generated by security devices or network devices.
Going through the Cisco Global CyberSecurity Scholarship program was a hectic but fun one. Even though I won’t be performing penetration tests against my company’s network, there are things that I have learn that are applicable to my day-to-day job as a Network engineer such using SIEM solutions to correlate events.
If there ever to be any similar program offered by Cisco I definitely encourage you to sign up because I know I would!