Fortinet CEO Ken Xie has described Fortinet as a “learning organisation.”

To solve the global cybersecurity skills shortage requires all industry hands on deck

A 2019 Gartner survey shows the global talent shortage is now the top emerging risk facing organisations. The expansion of the digital marketplace has generated more jobs than the current supply of security professionals can meet. A problem of scale, there is currently not an efficient way to create skilled security practitioners at the same rate. A recent workforce development survey by Frost & Sullivan reveals that 59% of organisations have unfilled cybersecurity positions and forecasts a shortfall of 1.5 million by 2020. 

Fortinet, one of the biggest global cybersecurity vendors, is doing its part to close this gap and has rolled out a range of expanded training and education initiatives.

Recent additions to the company’s education and training programming include additional Fortinet Network Security Expert (NSE) Institute cloud certifications and a roll-out of its cybersecurity awareness training –at no cost – for individuals or organisations seeking to deploy a cybersecurity awareness training program.

Fortinet CEO Ken Xie has described Fortinet as a “Learning Organisation.” This description highlights the fact that learning is one of Fortinet’s core values and is not only an essential part of its marketing strategy but also integral to Fortinet’s company culture, said Rob Rashotte, VP global training & technical field enablement at Fortinet. This is demonstrated through the significant investments in the various Fortinet NSE Academy programs and the internal employee programs around the world, he added.

Education is very crucial to the success of organisations in today’s global cybersecurity threat landscape. Creating and executing a strategy with a wide scope can be a daunting task, a process the Fortinet NSE Institute seeks to smoothen.

Training needs to be a top priority in the cybersecurity strategy of any organisation, said Rashotte. “As the threat landscape becomes more complex, it is important to ensure that the skills of cybersecurity professionals are kept up to date.”

“Just as important is the need to ensure that all employees in an organisation have developed an appropriate level of cybersecurity awareness. As such, a general cybersecurity awareness training program should be an integral part of any cybersecurity strategy,” he added.  

The Fortinet NSE Institute seeks to provide broad-based training that arms participants with a foundational understanding of the threat landscape, as well as the cybersecurity fundamentals and skills to implement strategies and technical concepts that are in high demand.

Rashotte clarifies that two of the levels of this program are vendor neutral and can be used as part of any cybersecurity awareness training program.

Fortinet Network Security Academy

While the Institute’s flagship NSE Training and Certification program has issued nearly 200,000 certifications, it is equally focused on education programs such as the Fortinet Network Security Academy program for high schools, colleges and universities, as well as free publicly available awareness training that can be accessed by any company wishing to deploy an internal cybersecurity awareness program for employees.

“While much of our training is focused on IT professionals, two levels of our training program are relevant to all workers who need to have a general cybersecurity awareness training,” said Rashotte.

“We also have training designed specifically for professionals who are tasked with selecting and recommending cybersecurity solutions. Fortinet also works very closely with industry organisations to help define cybersecurity skills requirements for critical job roles,” he added.

Training and education milestones

There are now over 140 NSE academies in more than 50 different countries.  In the Middle East, there are eight Authorized Training Centres (ATCs) and five Fortinet Networks Security Academies (FNSAs). ATCs are commercial training partners while FNSAs are academic institutions, Rashotte explained.

Fortinet has provided nearly 200,000 NSE certifications, building a growing skilled workforce of security professionalsFortinet has provided nearly 200,000 NSE certifications, building a growing skilled workforce of security professionals

Fortinet has provided nearly 200,000 NSE certifications, building a growing skilled workforce of security professionals. The company recently made public cybersecurity awareness trainings NSE 1 and 2, whereby these free offerings are now available to the public at large. For example, any Security Operations (SecOps) team seeking to deploy a cybersecurity awareness training program now has an easy and no-cost path to get started.

Fortinet has also introduced the NSE 7 Cloud certification, consisting of two training courses, “Public Cloud Security” and “Private Cloud Security,” and were both offered as part of the training schedule at this year’s Fortinet Accelerate conference, held in Orlando from April 8 – 11, 2019. 

During the past year, the number of NSE8 certifications awarded has doubled, a certification designation that identifies a candidate’s knowledge of network security design, configuration, and troubleshooting for complex networks. There has been an average of 300 – 600 student sessions around the world per week, based on recent company data.

“The overall objective of the Fortinet NSE Institute in all regions is to ‘Help Close the Cybersecurity Skills Gap.’ This is done through a combination of technical training, awareness training, assistance programs and strategic partnerships,” Rashotte concluded.

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