Professional development

The future of education is online, says Infosec Skills instructor Robert McMillen

December 19, 2019 by Jeff Peters

Infosec Skills instructor Robert McMillen worked in IT for several years before starting his own computer consulting, service and repair company. It was 2001, and one of the first calls he received was from a company hired to help with the Enron investigation.

“They asked me to restore all the emails for the main people that ended up in jail,” Robert said. “They gave me 10 giant boxes of backup tapes and said, here, restore Kenneth Lay’s email, restore Andrew Fastow’s email. So I got to see inside Enron the last week before its stock went from $60 a share down to about two cents.”

After that, Robert said his phone was ringing off the hook. 

Now he’s using his decades of experience to help inspire the next generation of IT and security professionals as an educator, including his new Infosec Skills learning path, Windows 10 Host Security.

Online education is here to stay

Robert said he never set out to become a teacher, but it’s not a surprising career path.

“I come from a family of teachers,” Robert said. “Both my parents were teachers. My daughter’s now a teacher. It was just in my blood that I was going to become a teacher.”

He started teaching students about Windows servers in 2011, and over the past eight years he’s been on the front lines of the shift towards online education.

“The world is moving from on campus to online,” Robert said, adding the percent of his online students has grown from 40% in 2011 to 80% today. “So I’ve been using new teaching technology to incorporate videos and labs with the homework to accommodate these students.”

That approach made him a natural fit for Infosec Skills subscription learning platform.

“I teach classes at college pretty much the same way I teach at Infosec,” Robert said. “It’s very focused. When I tell you I’m going to teach you this thing, I just teach you that one thing. It’s one of the things people really appreciate about my videos: they’re to the point, there’s not a lot of fluff and they do what they say they’re going to do.”

Learning Windows 10 Host Security

Robert said his Windows 10 Host Security learning path is meant for everyone from CIS and IT administrators to individuals who want to learn how to keep their personal computers safe.

“Windows has so many built-in tools people don’t even realize are there,” Robert said. “They’re not well-marketed by Microsoft, and you could easily protect your entire Windows 10 infrastructure just using the built-in tools.”

Robert’s learning path includes 13 courses and a hands-on project designed to teach you about topics such as:

Infosec Skills Windows 10 Host Security learning path

  • Evolving Windows security features
  • Passwords, biometrics, PINs and other authentication methods
  • Protecting Windows 10 using advanced firewall rules
  • Implementing VPN, wireless and Bluetooth security
  • Creating certificates and backups
  • Using logs to determine what’s happening on your computer

“You have to look at Windows 10 security holistically,” Robert said.

“I’m going to use app blocker to block certain applications. I’m going to use the anti-ransomware button to block people from encrypting my files. I’m going to use SmartScreen, so I don’t end up going to websites that may be infected. I’m going to use email spam filtering in order to keep viruses from entering my mailbox. All these different things work together.”

Inspiring future IT and security professionals

Robert said he’s passionate about being a mentor and helping professionals gain confidence in their abilities.

“I love when I hear back from my students and they say, ‘Wow, you really helped me. I didn’t know that existed. I didn’t know that could do that,’” Robert said.

“That’s the most satisfying part of teaching.”

Learn more about Robert McMillen’s Infosec Skills courses:

See Robert's courses

About Robert McMillen
Robert McMillen started his career as an IT administrator for a manufacturing company after earning his CompTIA A+. He quickly learned how to fix and troubleshoot desktops and laptops, but his real passions were networking and server administration. Shortly after, he earned his first MCSE and Cisco CCNA and has continued with various certifications over the years (now over 50). He earned a Microsoft Certified Trainer certification and seven MCSEs. 

He started a successful consulting company in 2001 and eventually sold it in 2017 to focus on teaching networking and security in college and being a video and book author. Some interesting jobs he’s performed include restoring the Enron emails for the Justice Department, training troops headed to Iraq on network security, and managing a billion dollar merger of Cisco network and Microsoft technologies.

Posted: December 19, 2019
Articles Author
Jeff Peters
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Jeff Peters is a communications professional with eight years of experience creating cybersecurity-related content. As the Director of Content Marketing at Infosec, he focuses on developing materials to help cybersecurity professionals improve their skills and advance their careers. He oversees the Infosec Resources website, the Cyber Work series (Cyber Work Podcast, Cyber Work Applied and Cyber Work Live) and a variety of other Infosec content.