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From Certification Training to Cyber Workforce Intelligence: Fostering Continuous Growth with a Fortune 100 Retail Giant

This is the transformative story of our relationship with a Fortune 100 multinational retail corporation. What began as a single, transactional training purchase in 2018 evolved into a holistic workforce development approach utilizing N2K’s full suite of Strategic Cyber Workforce Intelligence capabilities.


In 2018, the Director of Global Cybersecurity Operations at the retail corporation–which operates a chain of membership-based warehouse clubs–partnered with CyberVista, now N2K, to efficiently manage its training budget for its Security Operations (SOC) team.

Before working with N2K, the organization invested in boot camp training for a select group of top-performing team members. Extending this training to all 50 SOC practitioners at the time was cost-prohibitive given course fees, travel expenses, and lost productivity, which added up to over $8,000 per employee per year.

To get a better understanding of current skills gaps and potential training needs, N2K conducted a comprehensive skills assessment of the entire SOC team. The assessment results informed a learning pathway that featured Security+ exam training so the team could build critical skills and pursue the certification. 

N2K was able to configure its Security+ certification training course to meet the needs of all learners, featuring both live online sessions and on-site review sessions. The 24-person cohort saw a 92% first-time pass rate. Satisfied with the results and quality of training, the Director incorporated additional services over the next three years, including certifications such as CISSP and CISM, Cloud role-based training, and Cyber Risk Tabletop Exercises for executives.


The partnership expanded and, by 2022, included over 150 employees spanning across various teams. 

These additional team members leveraged customized training programs that addressed skills gaps and gave employees clear, concrete steps to advance their cyber careers. Indeed many current Team Leads and Managers started as interns or junior staff who went through the initial Security+ training course. This reinforced the strong emphasis on rapid internal growth and development and highlights the Customer’s commitment to retaining and nurturing its employees.

These employees, as they progressed in their careers, utilized N2K’s role-based training, featuring content focusing on Cyber Threat Intel, Vulnerability Management, Incident Response, Application Security, Identity Access Management, and Security Engineering.  

Case Study Timeline (3)

As the cyber organization grew to 400 professionals, the Customer sought guidance to facilitate strategic decisions around recruiting, hiring, retaining, and organizing their talent. Consulting with the N2K team, the Director incorporated N2K’s strategic workforce planning solution, Cyber Talent Insights. Services included:

      • Job description analysis
      • Standardization of job role competency and proficiency expectations
      • Job role alignment to the NIST-NICE Framework
      • Continuous skill diagnostic assessments
      • Role mapping for vertical and lateral career development
      • Data-based training recommendations for upskilling and cross-skilling
      • General workforce recommendations, such as how to create team and job-level hierarchies

Having these insights benefited the Customer's leadership team at a crucial growth stage. CyberVista also expanded during this time, merging with The CyberWire, the leading daily cybersecurity podcast network, to form N2K. This new entity presented a unique opportunity to deliver a trifecta of data-driven insights solutions that span the entire news-to-knowledge spectrum, benefitting individuals of all levels within the cybersecurity ecosystem by helping managers gain insight into their team while helping team members keep up to date on the latest skills, knowledge, and news.


The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a widely used metric that measures customer loyalty and satisfaction. It is commonly used by businesses and organizations to assess the likelihood that customers would recommend their products or services to others. This Customer gave us a Net Promoter Score of 85! This includes customer satisfaction, engagement scores, and any student/manager feedback that's been received following each engagement.

For education and training providers, an NPS above 50 is considered to be excellent, as it signifies a high level of customer loyalty and a strong likelihood that customers would recommend the services to others. Education providers who achieve NPS scores above the industry average tend to showcase effective and engaging training programs, responsive customer support, and positive overall experiences for their clients.


Having the measurable data from the initial Talent Insights project made a positive impact on employee engagement and investment prioritization. The Customer was able to easily optimize spending for training, leveraging N2K’s complete training portfolio and N2K’s Talent Insights team to provide data-driven recommendations for more specialized supplemental training where appropriate. 

N2K continued collaborating with the Customer to create a comprehensive cyber workforce strategy that provides flexibility and continuous intelligence for the entire workforce management lifecycle. This project evolved into an all-inclusive Cyber Workforce Intelligence subscription, enabling customization of training pathways based on their organizational requirements on an ongoing basis.

This comprehensive package includes a yearly subscription to Cyber Talent Insights, Talent Development, and Industry Insights, offering workforce alignment, career mapping, role-based training, practice tests, tabletop exercises, daily industry news, OSINT briefings, and recruiting ads on the N2K Cyber Network.

The relationship spanning the past six years has been mutually beneficial, growing from a single diagnostic assessment deployment to a holistic cyber workforce intelligence for multiple teams. N2K is excited to continue this collaborative journey, providing essential insights and training for the Customer’s evolving information security workforce.

"Over the past six years, our partnership with CyberVista, now N2K has been nothing short of exceptional. Their workforce development and training services have not only elevated our cybersecurity operations but have consistently exceeded expectations. The positive evolution of our relationship and the trust established speaks volumes about the commitment and expertise they bring to the table. We continuously turn to N2K for additional training and workforce development services because their offerings are not just useful; they're transformative. The cyber workforce data they provide is invaluable, guiding our strategic decisions, and the customized training offerings are not only helpful but remarkably easy to implement. N2K is an indispensable asset to our journey of growing and developing our cybersecurity department.” 

- Director of Global Cybersecurity Operations

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