I set up a Patreon account some time ago as a means of support of the DFIR Training website. In exchange of DFIRs supporting the website through Patreon, I create content as rewards as part of their subscriptions. This worked well (for the most part).
There have been quite a few complaints about Patreon from my supporters, which I have addressed via email and in-person to Patreon (at their event in Seattle last year). Some of the complaints were:
- The Patreon platform itself is unbearably difficult to find content.
- Charges not going through or being double charged.
- Accounts losing access to content.
- The site itself undergoing maintenance often and being inaccessible.
- Non-USA users not being able to subscribe.
- Billing cycle not being a full month unless subscribing on the first of the month.
- Communications being difficult to find and use.
- No annual subscription options.
With the Patreon website, there is practically no customization available. It is what it is, much like a free blog where the only thing you can change is the color scheme.I have emails from Patreon that this will be improved, but these emails are over a year old with no substantial improvements.
I have also had my Patreon account suspended three times without warning or notice. Each suspension was because I either said a word that I can't say (ie: giveaway, contest), or by some unknown (accidental?) error. Contacting Patreon to un-suspend my account has not been the most pleasant experience.
With all of that, I still maintained the Patreon page for simplicity sake for me at the expense of all the above for subscribers.
Here come the lawsuits…
Every content creator and subscriber on Patreon should be aware of current and future lawsuits that may cause Patreon to shut down.The short story is that Patreon canceled and banned some of their content subscribers, resulting in arbitrations and lawsuits.
There are quite a few articles about the lawsuits, but the one that really catches my eye is that Patreon sued the subscribers of a content creator . Regardless of the purpose of banning an account, suing the subscribers of an account as a way to attack the content creator crosses the line. Fortunately, the court ruled against Patreon with these lawsuits.
From what I have read, I personally do not see Patreon coming out of litigation with enough capital to continue. I would not be surprised to see the entire platform turn off overnight, without warning, and abandoning their content creators.
The harder way is probably the better way
For those who have taken any of my online courses in the past, you probably have seen "Skilljar" as the platform provider. I've not seen anything comparable to Skilljar for online training insofar as managing training, providing certificates, and course support.Plus, they don't ban anyone for saying "giveaway"…
I am one student short of 5,300 students that have been through at least one of my courses on Skilljar. As far as a solid platform for online courses, Skilljar is solid.I tried putting courses on Patreon and it was an instant failure, so I stuck with Skilljar as the course platform.
Skilljar is easy for hosting courses, but I want to give more to supporters and be more intimate with subscribers (which Skilljar does not provide), and which is why I initially choose Patreon as a platform.It certainly was not intimate. So now I am bringing everything to the DFIR Training website for intimacy with supporters.
DON'T WORRY!DFIR.TRAINING IS STILLFREELYACCESSIBLE!
Everything that has been freely accessible on dfir.training will remain freely available. Forensic tools, training listings, resources, directories, and everything-DFIR will still be there for public access.
The only addition is that supporting DFIR Training will be done directly on the dfir.training website with subscriptions. The courseware will remain on Skilljar, but you will have better contact with other subscribers, I will have better contact with you, and all of us will be more accessible than it has been with Patreon.
For subscribers, I will occasionally place Easter eggs on the DFIR Training website that will only be visible when you are logged in. Nothing major, but something to be on the lookout for because you might win something if you are the first to find the Easter egg. I'll give ample notice of new Easter eggs to subscribers..
About those courses
Most of the content that I have put up so far will now be revised for 2021 with updated content, plus a few new courses that I have not yet published. Subscribers can access all these courses, OnDemand, for as many times as they want while being an active subscriber.
The current courses are:
X-Ways Forensics Practitioner's Guide 1E
101+ Tips and Tricks for X-Ways Forensics
Placing the Suspect Behind the Keyboard
Forensic Operating Systems
Windows Forensic Environment (WinFE)
DFIR Case Studies
Exploiting FTK Imager
The upcoming courses include Train-The-Trainer courses (DFIR topics) and updated courses. I have a few other topics to be announced when I get to them, but the goal is to constantly publish new courses and update courses when there is enough new content to update.
My philosophy about online training
I feel that classroom training is probably best for the majority of students to learn and easiest to teach, because you are face-to-face.The Internet can't replace the intimacy of a classroom.
However, the benefits of online training can outweigh the classroom for the mere fact of negating the need for travel and travel-related expenses.A classroom requires leaving home and traveling to the classroom, which can be in another city, state, or country. Buses, taxis, and planes take time. Online (ondemand) training is practically instant, on your schedule. Live online is a bit different because there is a specific time to attend, but with ondemand, you make the time on your schedule.
Of course, the health benefits are being at home or the office to learn online beats the risks of getting sick from crowds of people in airports, on planes, at hotels, or in classrooms.
My philosophy about online training is that the training must be (1) documented and (2) formalized in order to claim proof training. These are the two primary factors in every online course that I create.Having been on the stand defending training that I received, I understand the importance of having proof of training versus "I saw a video on YouTube" or "so-and-so told me".
Not to say that you can't learn from YouTube (because you can, and I do!), but you can't print out a proof of training from a YouTube video.
Be a supporter!
If you haven't subscribed to DFIR Training as a supporter, give it a shot! Try it out for a month and see if it is something that you can get a benefit from doing. No matter how long you subscribe, you will be directly supporting DFIR Training and I will continue giving courses and content in appreciation of your support.