The 2022 (ISC)² Cybersecurity Workforce Study found that 3.4 million people are needed to fill the global cybersecurity workforce gap. The report also found that despite adding more than 464,000 security workers in the past year, the cybersecurity workforce gap has grown more than twice as much as the workforce. While some progress is being made to expand the cyber workforce, the gap is still significant.
The Fortinet Training Institute programs are addressing the cybersecurity skills gap through its industry-recognized training for security professionals, as well as underserved populations, women, veterans, students, and anyone interested in a career in cybersecurity. By upskilling and reskilling individuals, Fortinet is committed to training 1 million people in cybersecurity by 2026. To help reach this goal, Fortinet is collaborating with various partners, ranging from nonprofits, academic institutions, and channel and training partners to help deliver and provide the Fortinet Training Institute curriculum to these organizations.
Fortinet recently spoke with Jeff Bottom from channel partner Dynamic Worldwide Training Consultants (DWWTC) and winner of the Fortinet 2022 Authorized Training Center Partner of the Year in North America. As an Authorized Training Center (ATC), DWWTC has Fortinet Certified Trainers (FCT) delivering the Fortinet Training Institute curriculum. Jeff shared more about his experience as a FCT and the value he sees in training others.
Jeff Bottom: Dynamic Worldwide was founded in 2003 and currently provides training solutions to organizations from local, privately owned companies to global Fortune 500 corporations. We've been providing Fortinet training for the past seven years as an ATC. Our founder and CEO, David Warren, is our main Fortinet instructor who is passionate about the security side of things and a great trainer, which is apparent when he is delivering Fortinet’s curriculum.
JB: In cybersecurity, we're seeing changes daily. Worldwide threats are affecting everyone and every type of business—small, medium, and large, as well as individuals. You see it on the news every day that somebody has been hacked. Attackers have gotten in and taken information. We all need to be concerned about that because it can affect us in countless ways. We're seeing companies trying to find ways to battle it. The more security professionals you have certified and the more cyber aware your employees are, the better-positioned individuals and organizations are to combat threats.
JB: Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to stay ahead of threats. A big reason our industry isn’t outpacing attacks is because of the severity of the cyber skills gap. Companies still look at cyberattacks as if they will happen, instead of when they will happen. And until that mindset with executives changes, we're going to continue to have this problem.
Unfortunately, in most companies when budgets get squeezed, the first thing that gets cut is training. They expect everyone to go online and find a YouTube video and learn how to use a product. But you're not getting everything you need out of a product that way. That’s what the training is for: knowing all the ins and outs of a solution. And this level of knowledge is the value Fortinet’s training provides organizations. The Network Security Expert (NSE) training and certifications provide a range of levels from technical to advanced to expert.
JB: Training teaches best practices and skill sets that are critical for not falling victim to threats. We’re teaching training participants the role of system administrators as well as the product. This is where companies will really see the advantage of certification training.
Threat adversaries are getting more and more sophisticated. They're finding more and more ways in. That’s why all users need to be trained and cyber-aware so they know what to avoid. One of the great things about training is that it fosters open discussions where students are sharing their own experiences. These situations may be new to others, so students are not only learning the course curriculum but from real-world examples brought in by their peers. What’s really exciting is that, in these situations, instructors can lead the discussion and engage in real-time problem-solving with the class.
JB: Instructor-led courses have a lot of benefits. An instructor is able to give you insights from things that they've learned from all the other students and courses they've taught in the past. It gets students up to speed a lot faster on topics because of the discussion that takes place and the interaction they have with other students who may have questions they didn’t think to ask.
JB: The most common feedback we get is how much more confident a student gets in preparing to take a certification exam. Another valuable area is that students learn to utilize the products to their full capability. That's probably the biggest one we get and also how knowledgeable the instructors are. “Instructor was great.” That's typically what we hear when we get feedback from students.
A good instructor is going to keep the training very interactive, especially when everything's delivered virtually. On Zoom, you see the instructor, you see other students, and you can communicate with them. It's not like just sitting alone.
We've always run hybrid classes. Many companies don't have travel budgets to send someone to a weeklong training. So, it's saving money in IT budgets. That's where they can save and still get the instructor experience.
JB: I would tell someone to just go for it. Having a new certification will strengthen their resume with proof of knowledge. If you're looking for a job, and there's a company that's looking for experience, certification is a true measure and validation. You can say, “Hey, I got this. I’ve passed these exams, so I know how to use this product.” Also, if you're looking to get promoted or move to different positions but you’re worried about the cost—in the long run, you'll have a better chance at a higher-paying job with a certification than without one.
Cybersecurity is the fastest-growing segment within the IT world. So, if you're looking to break into the industry, you have to start with the basics of networking, and then get into the security side of things. It's those certifications that will get you in the door.
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.