Fortinet has announced upcoming updates to its flagship Network Security Expert (NSE) Certification program to further help advance cybersecurity skill sets and address the talent shortage.
These updates, going into effect later this year, will help upskill security professionals –including customers, partners and employees – and reskill anyone interested in entering the field by more closely aligning the training curriculum to various cyber career pathways. Other Fortinet certification updates include new naming designations based on proficiency progression and more flexibility for individuals to craft their NSE training journey.
One of the top challenges CISOs are facing is the lack of cybersecurity talent to fill the critical roles needed to effectively protect their organizations. Fortinet’s 2023 Global Cybersecurity Skills Gap Report found that as a result of unfilled IT positions due to the cyber skills shortage, 68% of organizations indicate they face additional cyber risks.
To help tackle this challenge, Fortinet established the NSE Certification program in 2015 as part of its longstanding dedication to address the cybersecurity skills gap. In addition to the company’s commitment to technology innovation, this focus transpires into continuously innovating Fortinet’s training curriculum content and how it is delivered. As part of this, the NSE Certification program will now focus on more role-based training aligned to in-demand careers, such as Cloud Security Specialists and Security Operations (SOC) Analysts, which a recent Fortinet report found were the two most sought-after roles.
These changes will further enable security professionals to sharpen their skill sets to stay ahead of new threat methods and learn about the latest security technology to help strengthen their organization’s security posture. At higher levels, there are multiple certification options to better drill down into areas of expertise. The new NSE Certification designations include:
· Fortinet Certified Expert (FCX): The most elite designation and what has been known as NSE 8 is evolving into Fortinet Certified Expert (FCX). The FCX certification identifies the highest proficiency in comprehensive and expert knowledge of network security design, configuration, and troubleshooting for complex networks.
· Fortinet Certified Engineer (FCE): These certifications further enable learners to specialize in cybersecurity solutions and gain advanced skills that map to the following key areas: Zero Trust Access, Network Security, Public Cloud Security, Security Operations, and OT Security.
· Fortinet Certified Professional (FCP): The professional level of certification does a deep dive into role-based training with the ability to certify in the following three areas: Network Security, Public Cloud Security, Security Operations.
· Fortinet Certified Associate (FCA): This certification centers around cybersecurity technology with a focus on network security and the technical aspects of the next-generation firewall.
· Fortinet Certified Fundamentals (FCF): This certification will focus on the foundational knowledge and skills that are required to learn how to operate cybersecurity products and solutions. This curriculum also offers courses that cover today's threat landscape and the fundamentals of cybersecurity.
Existing NSE Certification holders with an NSE level 1-8 designation, including Fortinet’s partner community, can expect a smooth transition from their existing achievements to the revamped certification program with required exams clearly mapped out for each proficiency level. These enhancements will begin rolling out gradually with finalized transition expected in the fall of 2023.
Fostering Cyber Skills through the Fortinet Training Institute
As the cornerstone of the Fortinet Training Institute – also comprised of the Education Outreach program, Academic Partner program, Authorized Training Center program, and more – the expansion of Fortinet’s certifications will also benefit participants of these programs, including veterans, students and under-represented groups. Some key highlights of advancements across these programs in helping address the skills gap and pledge to train 1 million people by 2026 include:
Increasing training through new public and private sector collaborations: Fortinet has partnered with the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and EduSkills Foundation to offer 100,000 virtual internships in the field of cybersecurity across India. Through these kind of cross sector public and private collaborations, Fortinet is helping bring more talent into the field.
· Continuing to build the workforce of the future with new academic partnerships: The Academic Partner program provides academic institutions with Fortinet’s training curriculum to integrate into their students’ learning. Fortinet has surpassed 500 academic partners globally, including the addition of Ecole 2600 based in France that will use Fortinet’s training in its Hybrid Lab providing hands-on learning.
· Developing OT security skills: Fortinet is partnering with Purdue University to increase awareness of OT cybersecurity career pathways and foster the development of OT security talent at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Purdue Polytechnic’s newly constructed Smart Manufacturing laboratories and research testbeds in the new Dudley and Lambertus Halls (Gateway Complex) utilize hardware and software donated by Fortinet to monitor and manage operations, support research, and provide real-world laboratory experiences in their courses. Additionally, Purdue leverages Fortinet training materials to support the laboratory curriculum.
· Instilling fundamental cyber awareness through free offering global expansion: Building on the success and demand seen in the U.S. after making the company’s customized version of its Security Awareness and Training service available for free to educators tied to the 2022 White House National Cyber Workforce and Education Summit, Fortinet is expanding the offering across the United Kingdom. The service is now available to more than 1 million education staff in nearly 30,000 schools across the U.K.
· Increasing access to technical training for security professionals: Fortinet is increasing access for security professionals to upskill through its Authorized Training Center (ATC) program, with new partners including Computer Gross in Italy and DNS based in the Czech Republic.
“Just as the threat landscape is constantly evolving, the same must happen with security teams’ skillsets to stay ahead and eliminate cyber risks. The significant updates we’re making to our flagship NSE Certification program will provide security professionals, including customers and partners, with more flexibility to acquire the skills needed for growth in their ever-evolving job roles. Fortinet is helping close the skills gap by enhancing our award-winning training curriculum that benefits both individuals and the organizations that need skilled talent,” said Vishak Raman, Vice President of Sales, India, SAARC & Southeast Asia - Fortinet.
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