Role-based training

Critical Knowledge

Be better equipped to hire, upskill, and retain more cybersecurity and cyber-enabled talent with N2K’s Critical Knowledge program.


Course Overview

Critical Knowledge provides a better way for leaders to identify and develop cybersecurity talent. Directly aligned to the Workforce Framework for Cybersecurity developed by NICE, Critical Knowledge serves as a comprehensive training and development roadmap for multiple job roles within cybersecurity.

The curriculum spans seven units that range from foundational to advanced cybersecurity topics, covering networking fundamentals, types of attacks, technical concepts, and operations. Units are modular in design so participants can digest all or specific topics that are most relevant to their current or aspirational position. 

N2K’s diagnostics-first approach identifies employee strengths and weaknesses at the onset of a training program to help leaders outline the most optimal learning path for employee success.


There are no formal prerequisites. Having basic knowledge or background experience in IT or security is a plus, but not required.

Related Courses

The breadth of the Critical Knowledge program gives participants a launchpad into a career path that best suits their skills and interests. After completing the program, learners can take advantage of N2K’s comprehensive certification or role-based training courses to achieve their career goals. Leaders can also leverage N2K’s robust curriculum to develop a strategic training plan for their workforce.



Who should take Critical Knowledge?

Critical Knowledge is a dynamic course designed for both new or seasoned  IT security personnel. Individuals in the following roles are excellent candidates for this course. 

  • Entry-level cybersecurity talent to help achieve the desired baseline of skills
  • IT professionals transitioning to cybersecurity who want to build on their technical experience in a new field
  • Experienced cybersecurity professionals who want to shift their careers to another field within cybersecurity
  • Professionals with non-technical backgrounds entering cybersecurity

Benefits of Training

There are a number of benefits to taking the Critical Knowledge course, but a few highlights include:

  • Mapped to the Workforce Framework for Cybersecurity (NICE Framework)
  • Implement more effective hiring and career development strategies
  • Quickly identify and develop KSA strengths and weaknesses for multiple cyber roles
  • Gain a more holistic view of the cybersecurity ecosystem and its unique subgroups

case study

Role & Skill Mapping of 400+ Workforce for Fortune 100 Tech Company

Course Outline

Critical Knowledge is broken down into seven units, beginning with foundational IT and cybersecurity topics then advances into more technical and operative subject matter.  Click on the sections below to see the expanded topic areas within each unit.

  • Review foundational concepts on networking and computing principles, network functions, and potential vulnerabilities.

    • Networking and Computing Principles
    • Network Architecture
    • Network Media
    • Wireless Protocols and Standards
    • Networking Models
    • Addressing, Protocols, and Packets
    • Subnetting
  • Identify and define the different types of cyber attacks and vulnerabilities.

    • Social Engineering
    • DoS Attacks
    • Injection Attacks
    • Session Hijacking
    • Malware 
    • Authentication Attacks
  • Understand how to defend a network through various devices and techniques.

    • Network Filtering Devices
    • Network Analysis Devices
    • Zoning and Segmentation
    • Tunneling
    • Securing Insecure Protocols
    • Cloud Architecture and Deployment
  • Understand additional technical security defenses, security frameworks, and protocols.

    • Physical Security
    • Encryption and Hashing
    • Security Frameworks and Evaluation Models
    • Identity and Access Management
    • Authentication Protocols
  • Review different risk management principles, laws and regulations, and business continuity planning.

    • Risk Management Principles
    • Risk Assessments
    • Business Continuity Planning
    • Disaster Recovery Planning
    • Incident Response Process and Techniques
    • Laws and Regulations
    • Standards and Auditing
  • Gain perspective on the function of security operations that upholds organizational security posture.

    • Change and Configuration Management
    • Patch Management
    • Backups
    • Logging and Monitoring
    • Secure Coding
    • MSSP and Third Parties
  • Identify and define the different methods of basic offensive and defensive operations.

    • Reconnaissance
    • Scanning and Enumeration
    • Exploitation and Post Exploitation
    • Threat and Risk Identification and Classification
    • Vulnerability Management
    • System Hardening
    • Triage and Incident Response
This course includes:
  • 55 On-Demand Training Videos (26hrs)
  • 5 Lab Walk-Through Videos
  • 36 Question Diagnostic Exam
  • 36 Question Final Exam
  • 400+ Knowledge Check Questions
  • 26 Cloud-Based Labs
  • Performance Tracker
  • Unit Summary Notes
  • Lab Manuals
  • (Optional) Live Online Sessions

“N2K has been an excellent education partner. In this case, the term ‘partner’ is meaningful and not an alternative for ‘vendor.’”

Chris Bridge, Palo Alto Networks


Why N2K?

We know that you and your organization have several options to choose from when it comes to workforce development. This is what separates N2K from the pack.


Measure improvements with robust performance analytics


Build the right knowledge and skills specific to roles


Foster long-term retention without wasting time on cramming


Total costs average 50% less per person compared to the leading bootcamp

Request Pricing

Critical Knowledge FAQs

  • Developed by NIST, the NICE Framework includes seven categories of cybersecurity-related competencies. The Critical Knowledge curriculum was developed by Cybervista based on the NICE Framework in addition to proprietary research in collaboration with multiple organizations. The curriculum is structured to best facilitate learning for people who have various backgrounds in cybersecurity. The result is a detailed taxonomy outlining key knowledge, skills, abilities, and tasks (KSATs) and a clear training methodology for actual cybersecurity job roles.

  • Completing the entire Critical Knowledge program gives learners a more holistic view of the cybersecurity ecosystem that is beneficial to any role regardless of experience. Critical Knowledge can be condensed into select units to fit the unique roles or requirements of an organization. Consult with N2K Account Executive to learn more about our Professional Services.

  • While course units and subject matter may align with the objectives of select industry certifications, Critical Knowledge is not intended for exam preparation. However, after completing Critical Knowledge, participants have the baseline knowledge necessary to prepare for a number of certifications based on their background and interests. Click here to learn more about N2K’s Certify course options.

  • We understand each organization has unique requirements and business goals. N2K’s robust cybersecurity curriculum for each course is modular in design to make training relevant and easily configurable to suit various workforce needs. Consult with a N2K Account Executive to learn more about our Professional Services.

  • Yes! Participants receive a digital badge once they have successfully completed the course. This badge can be displayed on social profiles or email signatures. Click here to learn more about N2K’s digital badging.