Fortinet has completely revamped its Network Security Expert (NSE) certification program in a bid to foster more cyber skills within the market.
Kicking in from 1 October, the program had been redesigned from the ground up and aims to be closely aligned with cyber career pathways, according to Fortinet channel director Tim Fitzgerald.
The NSE Certification program was established in 2015 and 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.
“The previous program was about 10 years old and needed a refresh,” he said. “We wanted to align the program more to career paths and outcomes.”
The new program features five pathways including Fundamentals, Associate, Professional, Solution Specialist and Expert.
“Underpinning are themes that align to our go-to-market such as network security, cloud security, security operations, and so on,” Fitzgerald said.
“We’re really doubling down on this training and enablement space at the moment. We’re establishing some better career paths for people that want to get into cyber or even advance their careers.”
Specifically, Fundamentals will focus on the foundational knowledge and skills that are required to learn how to operate cybersecurity products and solutions; Associate will cover network security and the technical aspects of the next-generation firewall; Professional will take a deep-dive into role-based training and certifications in areas such as network security, public cloud and security operations.
The Solution Specialist level will focus on specialising in cyber solutions and gaining advanced skills in key areas such as zero trust access, network and public cloud security, security operations and operational technology security.
The most elite designation, Expert (previously known as NSE 8) identifies the highest proficiency in comprehensive and expert knowledge of network security design, configuration, and troubleshooting for complex networks.
Existing NSE Certification holders with an NSE level 1-8 designation, including Fortinet’s partner community, will transition from their existing achievements to the revamped certification program with required exams clearly mapped out for each level.
Fitzgerald said it has more than 1500 partners in A/NZ and in regards to the program, it has more than 1000 individuals certified. He added that his goal in the next two years is to get to 3000.
Service provider hot spot
Fortinet vice president of sales for India, SAARC, SEAHK and A/NZ Vishak Raman said service provider relationships were critical for Fortinet due to the amount of digital acceleration in the market, which in-turn is creating a very sophisticated attack landscape.
Raman cited its recent threat landscape report for the second quarter of 2023, which indicated there were about 37 billion global attacks detected within the service provider landscape. The APAC region made up 22 per cent of those attacks.
“We saw a huge amount of drive-by downloads, active scans and some of the popular ones like DoublePulsar, Sunburst and even MIRAI - IoT threat vectors, being very prevalent in the telco space,” Raman said.
“Telcos are very pivotal. Not only are they the landing points for cyber criminals, they need to safeguard themselves, and by safeguarding themselves, what are the levels of services they need to offer back to the service providers? That’s the challenge is of what service providers go through.”