Improve Qualys Guard Investment With Free Training
Jacadis recommends factoring training costs into your security control selection process. Conducting assessments, we routinely find security technology implementations being run by professional staff without the necessary knowledge to effectively use them. Training typically was not considered in these cases because of the cost. Training, of course, can cost several thousand dollars just for a course and if travel is required it can easily double that price tag. But training is critical to getting your full investment out of your security tools and it is often the difference between the safeguard working and failing.
Often, we as customers feel held hostage by the vendors. We are purchasing a technical tool, we need to have it online quickly to begin justifying the expense of the purchase and we need to be quickly trained to make all that happen. Many times the vendors are the only source of proper training for their product and they charge for that knowledge transfer.
Our partner, Qualys, has chosen to break that mold and provide free training for their customers across their product line. Qualys offers both a free user community (https://community.qualys.com) and also an entirely free training portal (https://community.qualys.com/community/training). The community provides an interactive place where users and Qualys professionals share tips, tricks and support information (and is a blog for another day) while the training portal offers a one stop shop for all the available Qualys training anyone wishing to learn the tool could ask for. Remember that a user logon account is needed for both the Community page and the training page. You will need an account on the training portal to see more specific course details and to register for any training sessions.
For those wanting to see what a module is about or for someone with a specific ‘I can’t remember where to find that’ question, Qualys provides their Video Introduction series. These are short videos, usually between 5 and 10 minutes in length, which focus on a specific aspect of a module. These are great to see what a module may offer for your business and to also help jog your memory on how to do something or where to find something within the module. These are broken down by each specific module Qualys offers and has several videos available within each module topic.
For more in-depth training and exposure, Qualys provides their In-Person and Online Training options. These are available to schedule via their Training Portal page. The Qualys in-person offerings are classroom based, face-to-face sessions with an instructor in the room with you. The online offerings are ‘live’ but with the instructor remote and providing the course via WebEx session for the students. Both follow the exact same curriculum and there is no difference in what is learned from either session type.
Qualys has also begun to experiment with a self-paced option for training. They have an early release version of the course available here https://gm1.geolearning.com/geonext/qualys/coursesummary.CourseCatalog.geo?id=22507223636 (remember to sign in to the training portal before you follow this link to register). Remember, this is still ‘Under Construction’ but you should be able to follow the self-paced course and still receive some excellent information from the course.
In regards to scheduling of the courses, Qualys is constantly adding new locations and time zones across the globe. You can simply check back on a weekly basis to see if something has been added which is convenient for you. Also, Qualys is very good with adding additional sessions, if requested. I have found that an email to firstname.lastname@example.org explaining your training needs and the requested time zone or location for a course will often result in good results with getting sessions added to the calendar.
One added benefit of registering for a Qualys training course is that each person registering will also receive a training account on the Qualys VM training environment. This allows you to not only take advantage of the hands-on exercises during the class but also for the 30 days following the class. This is great because you can try new things and experiment without taking any chances in damaging your production work environment.
So, with all this information what is the best way to get started? The answer to that really depends on the individual and the situation. If your Qualys purchase included professional services to assist with the initial setup and knowledge transfer then I would recommend spending some time with the tool and getting familiar with how it works and how you may wish to use it. After that initial familiarization period then schedule a class to dig in on the module. This will allow you to find answers to specific issues you may be seeing and also allow you to better absorb the information as you won’t have to worry so much about terminology and where things may located within the module interface.
If you are starting as a newbie without knowledge transfer then I would suggest getting a training session under your belt first, use the online VM training environment to experiment with as you learn your production install of Qualys and then schedule another training session in a few months to help explore any additional questions and new items which may have come up. Also, actively participating in the Qualys Community is a great way to learn new techniques and answer questions as they come up. Quite often you will find someone else has already asked your question and the answer is there waiting for you.
There is also a certification piece which part of the Qualys Training & Certification. They offer a certification attempt as part of the Vulnerability Management training module. This is an online test which you can access through your training portal account. It requires that the tester answer 75% of the questions correctly to receive a passing score. Your score will be displayed on the screen as soon as you submit your answers so instant gratification when you pass. Your training portal also allows you access to your certificate so you can print that out and let your friends, colleagues and neighbors all bask in your glory as you enjoy your new Qualys certification.
Qualys is a versatile tool which can be used to provide many features and functions in the compliance and vulnerability management space. Consider the free training to be an important value add from a leading product in the space.