Reports show that there are hundreds of thousands of unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the United States alone, with one report forecasting that, by 2021, the cybersecurity skills gap will grow to 3.5 million globally. As we continue to see a decline in cybersecurity skills, the gap remains one of the top cybersecurity risks for many organizations today. In fact, a recent Gartner survey found that the global talent shortage is now the top emerging risk-facing organizations.
Closing the cybersecurity skills gap is critical, but it is a feat that is much too big for one sector or organization to take on alone. Beyond providing training on their products and solutions, cybersecurity vendors have an obligation to close the cybersecurity skills gap at large.
For these reasons, Fortinet is more than a technology company; it is also a learning organization and, as such, is able to apply a holistic approach to training and education initiatives. The company recognized there was not an efficient way to create skilled security practitioners at the same rate that jobs are being created. Its multiple training and education programs are intended to help solve this critical issue.
Below are highlights of several cybersecurity training and education programs from Fortinet:
— The Fortinet Network Security Expert (NSE) Institute is focused on education programs such as the Fortinet Network Security Academy program for high schools, colleges and universities. Fortinet has 140 Network Security Academies in more than 50 different countries. It collaborates with schools, nonprofit agencies and veterans' programs to provide a framework for students who are interested in a career in network security.
— The FortiVets program facilitates the shift of military veterans into the cybersecurity industry by providing professional networking, training and mentoring.
— The Fortinet Fast Track Program now has more than 12,000 participating partners. Fast-track workshops provide hands-on experience focused on a specific Fortinet technology. Each workshop is tailored to a certain business or technology use case and provides participants with an understanding of the Fortinet solution.
The Fortinet NSE Institute was created to provide broad-based training that arms participants with a foundational understanding of the threat landscape, as well as the cyber security fundamentals and skills to implement strategies and technical concepts that are in high demand. The eight-level NSE certification program includes a wide range of self-paced and instructor-led courses, as well as practical, experiential hands-on labs that demonstrate mastery of complex network security concepts.
NSE Levels 1 (The Threat Landscape) and 2 (The Evolution of Cybersecurity) are free, publicly available awareness training modules that can be accessed by any company seeking to deploy an internal cyber security awareness program for employees. This means that any Security Operations (SecOps) team wishing to deploy a cybersecurity awareness training program can do so at no cost and with little effort.
Subsequent levels build on this foundation:
NSE 3: Develop the knowledge to describe how the features of key Fortinet products are used to create the solutions discussed in NSE 2.
NSE 4: Develop the skills to manage the day-to-day configuration, monitoring and operation of FortiGate devices to support corporate network security policies.
NSE 5: Develop a detailed understanding of how to implement network security management and analytics.
NSE 6: Develop an understanding of the fabric products that augment FortiGate to provide deeper and more comprehensive network security.
NSE 7: Develop the knowledge to integrate Fortinet products to deploy and administer network security solutions.
NSE 8: Demonstrate the ability to design, configure, install and troubleshoot a comprehensive network security solution in a live environment. NSE 8 is a certification designation that identifies a candidate's comprehensive knowledge of network security design, configuration and troubleshooting for complex networks.
To date, Fortinet has provided nearly 200,000 NSE certifications, building a skilled workforce that will be recognized in the industry as an elite group of security professionals.
Closing the Gap
The Network Security Expert Program has evolved from an eight-level technical certification program to an institute that is democratizing access of educational resources to not only technology professionals but also to veterans, students of all ages and people looking to get a better understanding of the cybersecurity landscape. Fortinet runs the NSE Institute and all of its educational programs in recognition of the fact that cybersecurity providers have a responsibility and a privilege to help close the talent gap and inspire new generations of security professionals.