The best cybersecurity and information security online courses – Business Insider


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Whether you’re a solo entrepreneur, manage a company, or even want to work in information security, it’s crucial to have up-to-date knowledge of how to stay safe on the internet. Even something as simple as checking your company’s bank account on public WiFi without a virtual private network ( VPN ) can result in a hacker getting quick access. Incidents like this one shows why it is important for you to understand the fundamentals of cybersecurity, no matter your profession.
Kristina Podnar, a digital policy consultant and author of “The Power of Digital Policy,” told Insider that the need to understand cybersecurity is essential to the world that we are living in today — and to prepare for the future. “In the next 10 to 15 years, we will become so digital that cybersecurity fluency will be needed at home, at work, at the store, at the restaurant, and other places in order to keep you physically and mentally safe,” she said. 
As such, it also makes cybersecurity a rapidly growing industry — the US Bureau of Labor predicts a 31% growth in information security analyst jobs within the next decade. So not only will learning cybersecurity skills help keep you safe, it can push you towards a new career path. The average salary of an information security analyst is $99,730 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, so investing time into learning about cybersecurity may pay off in the long run. 
One easy way to start learning about cybersecurity is by taking online courses. Podnar says when reviewing which class to take, “It is essential to choose a program or course that teaches you the basics before you dive into the deep end of the pool.” She also recommends checking when a course was created or has been updated because cybersecurity is constantly changing. “Eyeing something from 2013 is a bad idea and likely will teach you not just outdated practices, but ones that can put you at risk,” Podnar said.
To help you learn about cybersecurity, whether you want to protect yourself and your company or are considering an information security career, we gathered nine courses and multi-course specializations, some of which can be audited for free. 
Time commitment: 6 weeks
Cost: Free to audit; $199 for a certificate
Taught by Barbara Endicott-Popovsky, the Director of the Center for Information Assurance and Cybersecurity at the University of Washington, this self-paced edX course provides an overview of what cybersecurity looks like both in the United States and internationally.
By the end, you’ll be able to describe key concepts in the field of cybersecurity, identify different threats to security online, and describe potential legal challenges to cybersecurity in your home country.
Time commitment: 8 weeks
Cost: Free to audit on edX; $249 for a certificate
In this introductory course, you’ll learn the fundamentals of how to detect threats, protect systems and networks, and anticipate future cyber attacks. The course is structured around six themes: computing security concepts and problems; cryptography; networking; systems administration; detection and prevention; and malware and forensics. 
The class is taught by Jonathan S. Weissman, a senior lecturer at the Rochester Institute of Technology and runs on a course schedule. The next one starts on March 30.
Time commitment: 24 hours
Cost: Free with 7-day Coursera trial; $49/month to keep learning after trial ends and earn a certificate
You will learn the basics of cryptography, security management, and computer security in this self-paced course led by three professors at the University of London. 
If you’re looking for a class with a lot of practice built in to make sure you understand the concepts you just learned, this course has 29 different exercises. The course also includes a section on careers in cybersecurity, which can provide insight on how to level up in your current job or completely switch fields.
Time commitment: 4 months
Cost: Free with 7-day Coursera trial; $49/month to keep learning after trial ends and earn a certificate
If you’re looking to commit to learning more about cybersecurity, this four-class IBM program from Coursera may be a great place to start. The courses are broken down into the following areas: cybersecurity tools and attacks; cybersecurity roles and processes; cybersecurity compliance framework and systems administration; and network security and database vulnerabilities.
This self-paced program is hands-on, and learners will have to complete projects as they work through the specialization. If you are looking for a financial motive to take a course on cybersecurity, 25% of participants reported that they were able to get a pay increase or promotion after taking the course. 
Time commtiment: 1 year
Cost: edX users can take all these individual courses for free, but would need to pay $1,344.60 and take all the courses to get the program certificate. 
In this nine-course edX MicroBachelor program, learners will learn and gain hands-on experience in information security, network security, and penetration testing. In these courses, students will participate in online labs and learn about the challenges in defending business systems both today and in the future.
The nine courses include the coverage of topics like information security; authentication and access control; network security; discovering vulnerabilities; protocols; and exploitation. This program is aimed at people who want to pursue careers in the cybersecurity sector. 
Time commitment: 10 months
Cost: edX users can take almost all these individual courses for free, but would need to pay $1,436.60 and take all the courses to get the program certificate.
This five-course, self-paced edX MicroMaster program by the Rochester Institute of Technology is a more advanced version of the NYU one mentioned above, and aimed at graduate students. You will learn more about computer forensics, cybersecurity risk management, and network security. If you’re enrolled in the certificate program, you will also participate in a capstone where you can put the skills that you learn into practice.
Through this program, you will learn how to implement network security solutions and practice cybersecurity skills in real-world scenarios. If you decided that you want to take the next step and get a master’s degree (and are accepted into RIT’s program), the certificate will count towards 9 of the 30 credits you’ll need to graduate. 
Time commitment: 3 weeks
Cost: Free to audit; $75 for certificate
This self-paced course is designed to help business professionals who work with information technology professionals become more familiar with cybersecurity. This is the first of five courses from Universitat Politècnica de Valencia made to help business professionals working adjacent to IT professionals. 
In this course, you will learn about how cybersecurity is impacted by different factors like business strategy, e-commerce, and outsourcing. You will also learn about concepts like intellectual property and privacy, and how to defend against hacking. 
Time commitment: 5 months
Cost: Free with 7-day Coursera trial; $49/month to keep learning after trial ends and earn a certificate
In this four-course program, you will learn the fundamentals of how security is used in the business world, and how companies can protect their computer systems from hacking and other threats. This specialization is targeted for business leaders and managers who do not have experience in information technology.
This specialization is broken down into four courses on the following areas: Basic fundamentals of cybersecurity for business; how cyber threats and attack vectors work; detecting and mitigating cyber threats; and proactive computer security steps you can take in advance.  
Time commitment: 5 months
Cost: Free with 7-day Coursera trial; $49/month to keep learning after trial ends and earn a certificate
If you feel that you have the basics of cybersecurity down and want to put a plan into action for your business or workplace, this four-course program might be great for you. This specialization from the University System of Georgia is designed to help people in different types of workplaces, including for-profit companies, government agencies, and not-for-profit organizations.
These four courses address both new and unpredictable problems which can affect cybersecurity plans, including how the lack of safe locks on mobile devices and the unpredictability of colleagues in a business could lead to sensitive information being breached. You will also learn about threats to cybersecurity like hacktivism and ransomware through hands-on activities. 

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