When it comes to information security credentials, the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) from (ISC)2 is a must-have for serious IT information security professionals. Globally recognized, the CISSP is the pinnacle credential in the (ISC)2 certification portfolio.
Earning the CISSP designation is difficult. Candidates must have a minimum of five years of paid professional work experience in at least two of the eight CISSP Common Body of Knowledge (CBOK) domains; pass the rigorous, six-hour, 250-question certification exam ($699); and submit the required endorsements. The CISSP is valid for three years. To recertify, candidates must either take the exam again or earn 120 continuing professional education CPE credits.
While not required, training is highly recommended for CISSP exam preparation. But a Google search for “CISSP training” resulted in more than nine million hits! With so many choices available, finding the training opportunity that’s right for you can seem daunting. Below, you’ll find a list of the best CISSP boot camps and free and paid trainings to speed you on your way to certification.
Best CISSP Boot Camps
While there are numerous books, communities and other self-study resources available to prepare for the CISSP exam, boot camps are an ideal choice for candidates who are seeking to fast-track their path to passing the exam. Designed with accelerated learning in mind, boot camps provide candidates with an intensive, deep dive into the key skills and concepts required to master the CBOK domains and apply CISSP skills to real-world scenarios.
Boot camps often cost thousands of dollars, but the long-term rewards make the time and financial commitment well worth it. Moreover, many boot camps offer a pass guarantee. There are three general formats:
- Instructor-led training (ILT): Traditional classroom sessions led by a live instructor, typically over four or five days
- Virtual instructor-led training (VILT): Instructor-led training conducted in a virtual learning environment
- On-demand: Self-study courses that provide resources such as training videos, study guides and practice exams, sometimes along with communities or question/answer forums
Best Online CISSP Training Resources
Online CISSP training resources are a flexible alternative to boot camps because you get 24×7 access to learning resources. Here are some of the best free and paid CISSP training resources.
Free CISSP Trainings
MOOCs (massive online open courses) are an exciting innovation in education. As the name implies, MOOC courses are open to anyone. Part of the beauty of MOOC courses is that they are available online, anytime and anywhere, which opens learning up to those who live in locations where learning opportunities aren’t readily available or who have time or financial resource constraints that prevent them from enrolling in traditional instructor-led training. While certificate or other fees for candidates seeking college credit may apply, MOOC courses are provided free of charge.
Two well-known MOOC search engines (and my favorites) are the MOOC Search Engine (MOOCSE) and the MOOC List. While you can find MOOC courses on your own, these search engines are MOOC-focused and make finding the right course easy. Here, you’ll find courses offered by well-known universities (MIT, Harvard and the University of California at Berkeley, for example), as well as training providers such as Coursera and EdX (both of which will be discussed later in this post), Udacity, Cybrary, Simplilearn and FutureLearn, and even industry powerhouses such as Microsoft. You’ll also find courses geared to all skill levels from beginner to advanced. Consider MOOC search engines to be your one-stop-shopping experience for MOOC courseware.
A simple search for “CISSP” on MOOCSE revealed more than two million training opportunities! You can also find courses on the MOOC List search engine; however, the MOOC List courses have a defined start and end date, so search results on the MOOC List will only show courses scheduled to start in the next 30 days. Examples of some of the MOOC courses we found include:
- Cybrary, a 13-hour advanced course taught by Kelly Handerhan that qualifies for 15 CPEs. The course is free but certificate fees apply.
- CISSP 2018 Exam Tips course by Larry GreenBlatt.
Allison is a great online learning provider that offers more than 1,000 courses at three levels: certificate (2–3 hours completion time), diploma (8–10 hours) and learning paths (18–20 hours to complete). All courses are free but a fee is required to issue a certificate or diploma. While Allison doesn’t currently offer any CISSP-specific training courses, it does have a large portfolio of IT security-related courses that cover topics relevant to CISSP, such as network security, wireless networks, information technology and building information security systems.
YouTube is an outstanding resource for online learning. Here, you’ll find thousands of CISSP training videos, tips, exam prep activities and more. Examples of some of the training videos you can expect to find include:
- MF Prod: Features 21 CISSP training videos
- SimpliLearn: Offers 20 CISSP-focused training videos
- FRSecure, LLC: Offers almost 40 CISSP Mentor Program videos
All YouTube content is free, though some content providers also offer fee-based materials.
Coursera is another well-known provider of online training. We didn’t find any CISSP-specific courses, but there are numerous general cybersecurity training classes at both the beginning and intermediate levels. Single classes take approximately four weeks to complete, while specialization courses generally comprise multiple classes and can take as long as six months to complete. Completing a cybersecurity-related degree can take several years.
Founded in 2012 by Harvard and MIT, edX now partners with over 90 different learning providers and universities. While we didn’t find any CISSP-specific training courses, we did find 75 IT security-related courses taught by providers such as Microsoft, HarvardX and the University of Washington.
Paid CISSP Trainings
Udemy is one of the world’s largest providers of online learning. We found 62 CISSP-related training opportunities, including practice exams, reference guides and video learning. Most courses range from around $20 to $200, although all CISSP courses were on sale for $11.99 each at the time of our search.
Master of Project Academy CISSP Certification Training
The Master of Project Academy CISSP Certification Training consists of more than 100 hours of lectures and 30 hours of training, plus handouts, practice and much more. All learning is 100 percent online. Subscriptions cost $87 per month or $470 annually, or you can pay $770 for lifetime access.
SimpliLearn’s Cyber Security Expert
The Cyber Security Expert Master’s Program consists of 96 hours of live online classes and more than 64 hours of e-learning content. Priced at $3,957, the course covers the following certifications:
- CompTIA Security+
- Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
- Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)
Exam vouchers for the CEH and CompTIA Security+ exams are included with the training fee. This program is an excellent choice for candidates seeking multiple IT security certifications.
Kaplan IT Training
Kaplan IT Training (formerly Transcender) is well known for its training materials and the KAPLAN IT Training CISSP Study Materials course is no exception. Kaplan allows clients to customize their training to match their learning needs: Candidates who merely want to check their exam readiness can enroll in a 30-day assessment program; for $99, they get online access to a single set of exam questions, custom quizzes, explanations and references. Candidates who need more practice can upgrade to a 180-day exam prep subscription for an additional $50; the prep materials, which can be accessed online or downloaded, include exam questions, flashcards, quizzes, discussion boards and access to IT experts through Kaplan’s InstructorLink. The 180-day subscription also comes with a pass guarantee.
CISSP Certification Boot camp
The Exam Practice CISSP Certification Boot Camp is an on-demand course that includes 35 hours of interactive lessons, chapter quizzes, the CISSP study guide and more. For $498, students can access the course materials for 180 days. The course is taught by Shon Harris (author of the best-selling CISSP All-in-One Exam Guide, 8th edition) and David Miller (author of numerous security-related training kits, books and study guides). Candidates can also purchase an exam package that includes access to over 1,000 exam questions, 19 mock exams, 12 domain tests and more.