Information Security is a vital part of any corporation or small business. As the Security expert at your company, it is essential to use the newest tools and services to stay ahead of the industry. For a large corporation this may not be an issue to acquire top of the line services for a price. It is not as easy for the small business class of IT/Security professionals. A lot of these tools cost a pretty penny, but there are some free options that every Security professional should have in their arsenal.
Read white papers
White papers should be your best friend in this industry. Most of them are free and they are in abundance online. White papers are well written reports that cover one topic in a very detailed manor. Anything from web application security to implementing a firewall can be found with ease. Written by professionals with different opinions and strategies. Some great sources for updated white papers included Sans, Rapid7, Sophos and even Amazon web services. You can’t learn unless you read, the more papers you read, a better understanding you will get on what Security strategies work best with your specific company.
Virus/malware scanning tools
Having a tool that can scan files and URL’s for possible viruses is a vital part of being a security professional. Luckily there are some free versions of these toll that work great for both small business and enterprise level security. A popular one is actually an online tool that will scan URL’s and files to detect anything malicious. This tool is called virus total, just type it in to google and it will be the first result. Most companies that offer paid subscriptions for virus protection will offer there virus scanners for free as well.
Find a Webinar or Podcast
The best way to retain useful information is to learn it from a reputable source. Finding an interesting Webinar, webcast or podcast to revisit on a daily base is a great resource to have. The follow are some free podcast’s that deliver quality content in regards to security:
- ASIS Security Management
- Exotic Liability
- Network Security Podcast
- Risky Business
- SANS Audio cast
- Social Media Security Podcast
- Southern Fried
Whether you listen to it on your way to work every morning or in the evening before bed, each podcast will offer different viewpoints and information to broaden your overall industry awareness.
Join a Security Online Forum
This option will offer you the most information at your fingertips. Almost all forums are free to join as long as you follow the rules. This should be your one stop shop for any questions you may have, research that you need help conducting and also they usually contain a wealth of free industry documentation that otherwise would cost you money. Now remember that you are a security professional so don’t go ranting all your problems and give away too much information, but enough to get the point across. People on these forums are usually passionate about security and want to help. The follow are some of the more popular forums:
These are just a few examples. The good forums won’t charge you money but may make you prove yourself by doing a couple simple tasks or take a quiz.
Security News Sources
This is all your news, blog articles and my personal favorite… Twitter. Whichever way is best for you to get updated information fast is what you should use. The following are some great examples:
- Krebs on Security
- Threat Level
- Infosec Island
- Dark reading
- IronGeek (provides a lot of the conferences videos for free)
Check all these sites daily for a good idea of what is going on in the security world. Lastly, for the most up to date method on receiving fast accurate information is Twitter. Start a twitter account and follow like-minded Security professionals from any of the conferences, forums and government agencies to hear firsthand when disaster strikes. If you have no idea where to start, feel free to follow myself @Protect_Data66. You can see who I am following to get a good idea of what type of people you would like to follow.
All in all the Information Security Industry is a rapidly growing field that changes daily. It can be a very expensive one to keep up with as well. By preparing yourself and gathering the knowledge needed to assess situations correctly, all the information you need is out there for free. What these large companies do is take these free products and making them pretty, then reselling them to you. Learn the basics and stay in the know.