Business & Technology

Fortinet Tackles the Cybersecurity Skills Gap through Strategic Partnerships and Training

By Rob Rashotte | September 08, 2021

The cybersecurity skills gap has remained a top concern for CISOs, contributing to security risks, overworked IT staff, and increasing the opportunities for bad actors to exploit expanded attack surface. At the same time, the constantly evolving threat landscape exacerbates the need for skilled professionals as the talent shortage affects more and more organizations each year and leaves them struggling to protect important assets amidst rapid digital innovation. 

Fortinet is working to close the skills gap with programs like the NSE Training Institute and its Training Advancement Agenda (TAA) initiative. To help build out a talent pipeline and bring more people into cybersecurity careers, the need for access to training, career pathways and connecting individuals to employers are essential. Fortinet creates opportunities for all, including women, students, veterans, minorities and more, through its training programs and partnerships and continues to make significant progress in working to close the skills gap. 

Advancements in the NSE Program Tackle the Cybersecurity Skills Gap

As part of the Fortinet NSE Training Institute, the Education Outreach Program collaborates with global leaders to foster a skilled, inclusive and diverse cyber workforce. Partnerships extend to various sectors, including academia, government and nonprofits, to ensure all populations – such as women, minorities and veterans – are provided with opportunities and resources for a career in cyber. 

Additionally, just as Fortinet continuously innovates its Security Fabric portfolio, it also grows its NSE programs with new courses and resources contributing to a consistent uptick in program participants. New NSE courses include The Evolution of Cybersecurity: SASE  as part of NSE 2FortiGate Security 7.0 as part of NSE 4 and FortiSOAR Design & Development 6.4 as part of NSE 7. The Information Security Awareness and Training Service originally released in 2020 also recently expanded to provide content in Spanish and Portuguese.

Building the Cyber Workforce of the Future to Close the Cybersecurity Skills Gap

Fortinet’s Security Academy Program expanded its global reach and welcomed more than 15 new institutions worldwide that are offering Fortinet’s NSE training to their students. The Security Academy Program bridges the gap between learning and careers through access to industry-recognized Fortinet NSE training and certification courses. Included among new Security Academies are: Alabama State University in the United States, Armada de Ecuador, CPE Lyon in France, Herzing College in Canada, Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan and Multimedia University in Malaysia. 

“A career in cybersecurity presents many opportunities for professional and career growth both in technical and nontechnical roles, shares Dr. Ramakanth Kumar P, Professor & Head, Department of CSE at R V College of Engineering. “At R V College of Engineering, we are providing our students with the industry recognized Fortinet NSE training and Certification Program to kick start their profession in cybersecurity and help our students stand out to employers. Students with NSE certifications provides them with the expertise and knowledge that organizations in public and private sectors are looking for when hiring. This is a significant advantage that Fortinet’s training offers our students”

Dr. Sasangan Ramanathan, Dean-Faculty of Engineering at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham University also shares, "At Amrita University, we help students identify career pathways and help them develop skills aligned to these pathways through training and education to better prepare them for future career opportunities in cybersecurity. By offering Fortinet's NSE Training Institute programs to our students, we are training future security professionals to fill the skill gap which amounts to more than 3 million unfilled positions globally. With the educational resources and skill-building opportunities available at our university, in large part provided through Fortinet's training curriculum, students can begin their career in cybersecurity and in the long-term advance into leadership roles."

In addition to more Security Academies joining the program, more Authorized Training Centers (ATCs) – a network of accredited corporate training organizations delivering cybersecurity training in local languages using curriculum developed for the Fortinet NSE Certification Program – also joined Fortinet’s training ecosystem. New ATCs include Fast Lane across the United States and Canada, Red Education in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka, NTC in Russia, Multicomputos in Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, Spectrum in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, among others. 

Diversifying the World of STEM

To help bring more talent into the cybersecurity industry and as part of the Education Outreach Program, Fortinet sponsored the University of California, Berkeley’s BUDS program focused on providing STEM education to youth. Berkeley Unboxing Data Science (BUDS) engages high schoolers to perform data analysis, learn to code and examine how data and technology impact their daily lives, developing STEM skills and knowledge from an early age. Additionally, Fortinet will begin participating alongside other business leaders in U.C. Berkeley’s research initiative focused on the privacy and security realities of the new hybrid work model.

Fortinet is also focused on supporting women in STEM. Fortinet helped raise funds for Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS) during its Operational Technology Symposium 2021 that took place in August. Fortinet matched the amount of funds raised which will be donated to WiCyS, a Fortinet partner through the NSE Education Outreach Program focused on closing the skills gap by supporting women looking to start a career in cyber or already working in the industry.

Accolades of the Fortinet’s NSE Program

Fortinet’s NSE program has received continuous industry validation and recognition. 

The NSE Training Institute was awarded with Gold for Best Cybersecurity Education Provider from the 2021 Cyber Security Excellence Awards, Gold for Best Cybersecurity Training from the 2021 Cyber Security Excellence Awards, Gold for Best Security Training and Educational Programs from the Globee 2021 Cyber Security Global Excellence Awards®, and Silver for Best Security Training Marketing Program from the Globee 2021 Cyber Security Global Excellence Awards®. Most recently, Fortinet’s NSE Training Institute was recognized as the 2021 Global InfoSec Award Winner for Next-Gen in Cybersecurity Training by Cyber Defense Magazine, adding to its arsenal of awards.

Advancing Fortinet’s Partner Skills

Fortinet brings together its partners during its various global XPERTS Summits for hands-on technical training tailored for these highly-skilled engineers. During these summits, the Ultimate Fabric Challenge takes place where NSE 4-certified and above participants compete to build the most secure network in a capture-the-flag-type challenge for a chance to win the coveted gold medal. Regional winners of the challenges will now be offered the chance to face off in a global competition in 2022 for a chance to win the grand prize.

Bridging the Cybersecurity Skills Gap Through Parnerships and Training

The cybersecurity skills gap is an issue that has plagued the industry for years and can affect how successful cyber criminals are when teams are strained and don’t have the right talent. More and more organizations are also understanding the importance of employee training to secure the network internally in addition to integrated security solutions. Fortinet’s NSE Training Institute helps equip the cybersecurity workforce with the training and certifications needed to remain ahead of cybercriminals and support digital innovation initiatives for their organizations. 

Find out more about how Fortinet’s Training Advancement Agenda (TAA) and NSE Training Institute programs, including the Certification ProgramSecurity Academy Program and Veterans Program, are helping to solve the cyber skills gap and prepare the cybersecurity workforce of tomorrow.