One of the challenges contributing to the increasing cybersecurity skills gap is accessibility to technical training. To help solve this problem for Fortinet customers and partners, the Fortinet Training Institute has developed a global network of accredited training centers. Fortinet Authorized Training Centers (ATCs) are located in over 130 countries and territories around the world, teaching cybersecurity courses in 26 languages. ATCs have Fortinet Certified Trainers delivering cybersecurity training using a curriculum developed by the Fortinet Training Institute and are helping to expand professionals’ knowledge about the evolving threat landscape and the technology and solutions needed to improve one’s security posture.
Through our awards, Fortinet recognizes our ATC partners who demonstrate their commitment to helping customers achieve success in a digital world and play a critical role in addressing the skills gap through certification training. We had the opportunity to talk with APAC’s 2022 ATC Award winner in the Regional Certified Trainer of the Year category, Ben Le Huray. He shared his experience becoming a certified trainer, key challenges and rewards throughout the process, as well as his recommendations for those looking to get certified through Fortinet’s Network Security Expert (NSE) Certification program.
Ben: From my perspective, not only as a trainer but because I work with distribution sales, I see that cybersecurity is more and more at the forefront of what customers are prioritizing. A few years ago, customers were asking whether they needed security products. Now, with the growing rise in the monetization of cybercrime, especially after the pandemic, more organizations are asking how they can protect themselves and what products they need to implement to meet their needs.
It's a very circular situation. As cybercriminals become more sophisticated, security professionals are having to become more sophisticated as well. If you add in the motivation that monetary gains give cybercriminals, you understand why they are always working on ways to improve their attacks and increase frequency. This then creates a different motivation for organizations to become even more knowledgeable and develop better skills to defend their networks. That is where cybersecurity training can help organizations looking to upskill their workforce and stay ahead of threats that are constantly evolving.
Ben: Over my time at Ingram, I've been a hiring manager for a variety of different roles, and I saw a growth in the number of people that were interested in cybersecurity positions but lacked the fundamentals for this field.
When I first started my career, I noticed there was very little cybersecurity or computer education available. When I went to college, they didn't have a dedicated computer science degree at the time, so I had to blend a bachelor of science degree with a subject such as information systems to gain the understanding I needed.
Today I see a lot more interest in cybersecurity. There are training and programs in place to educate people, but it’s critical that the people we bring on board have a complete understanding of not only what cybersecurity technology is, but why it’s needed, and how the network functions even without cybersecurity, to ultimately lead us to a greater understanding.
Ben: It was actually handed over to me by my boss. At the time, I was looking after vendor security products and was approached to take over the training program. I had about a year to get certified and get up to speed to become a trainer and maintain the program, but it has been something I have grown to love ever since. Just recently, I was presented with the ATC trainer of the year award, which I am very honored to receive as it was determined by feedback from my students.
Ben: I have an NSE 4 and 7. I achieved my NSE 4 certification about six years ago, and then as part of growing my skills, I jumped straight to NSE 7 the following year. More recently I've gone back and started on NSE 5, in preparation for expanding our training portfolio here at Ingram.
I am a big advocate of certifications. From my point of view, especially when I was a hiring manager, certifications were what helped me validate the experience of applicants and ultimately proved to me that they had some passion, knowledge, or willingness to understand and be invested in cybersecurity. From there, especially from a hiring perspective, you can be confident that the individual is willing to put in that extra knowledge to become educated in their job role and ultimately become the best they’re capable of being.
Ben: For me, the most challenging part about teaching is the constant evolution of products, knowledge, and capability and making sure that I keep pace so that I have the right knowledge to be able to train effectively. I’ve been a trainer since FortiOS 5.4, and now we're up to 7.2. So again, making sure that I’m able to keep abreast of those topics is important to ensure that I am presenting the most current information.
What I love about training is that the students are often either partners or end-users that we work with again and again. What’s most rewarding for me is being able to train these students, run into them, and hear about the ways in which my teaching has impacted their certification levels, as well as the progression of their careers.
I find this extremely fulfilling, because there’s a personal relationship and connection embedded in the training, and I have the ability to help these students in their organizations and overall career paths. I've had at least two or three people in the last year thank me for the training and have mentioned that it has helped them advance in their careers.
Ben: I really like the structure of the training because they provide some theory but then also let the students have independent, hands-on time, which provides a good balance. Personally, I learn by doing and believe it helps open their minds to any questions they may have.
Find out more about how Fortinet's Training Advancement Agenda (TAA) and Training Institute programs—including the NSE Certification program, Academic Partner program, and Education Outreach program—are helping to solve the cyber skills gap and prepare the cybersecurity workforce of tomorrow.