Fortinet has announced it is integrating its Network Security Expert training and certification curriculum with IBM’s SkillsBuild, a digital platform for users to develop technology and professional skills, including cybersecurity. Fortinet and IBM will focus on creating new cybersecurity career pathways by training traditionally untapped candidates and connecting learners to employers. This collaboration underscores Fortinet’s Corporate Social Responsibility commitment to closing the cybersecurity skills gap through global collaborations and its Network Security Expert (NSE) Training Institute’s Security Academy Program.
Commenting on the development, Rajesh Maurya, Regional Vice President, India and SAARC at Fortinet, said, “To further address the cyber skills shortage, we’re excited to partner with IBM to integrate Fortinet’s Network Security Expert training and certification curriculum with IBM’s SkillsBuild digital platform. As both a technology company and learning organisation, Fortinet will work with IBM to make it easier for anyone to start a career in cybersecurity regardless of their background, previous access to education, or life experiences.”
Growing demand for cybersecurity professionals
Cybersecurity is a high growth area and the global pandemic has further boosted the industry’s demand. An (ISC)2 poll found that 81 per cent of respondents view security as an essential function as employees are working remotely due to COVID-19. As the demand for cybersecurity professionals continues to rise, so does the need to attract a broader more diverse workforce into the field. In fact, a recent Fortinet survey found that 68 per cent of organisations struggle to recruit, hire and retain cybersecurity talent. With the global pandemic, this challenge has significantly increased.
Fortinet and IBM Join Forces to Further Develop the Cybersecurity Workforce
Fortinet and IBM’s partnership will help address this issue through SkillsBuild, a digital platform that provides jobseekers, including those with long-term unemployment, refugees, asylum seekers, veterans and students, with career fit assessments, training, personalised coaching and the experiential learning they need to enter or re-enter the workforce. SkillsBuild will now include cybersecurity curriculum from Fortinet’s NSE Training Institute for jobseekers looking for a career in security.
Through SkillsBuild’s new curated cybersecurity content leveraging Fortinet’s NSE training and certification curriculum, Fortinet and IBM aim to:
- Provide cybersecurity training that develops skills, reskills and upskills: Now more than ever, there has been an increase in jobseekers, including those who are unemployed and impacted by the pandemic. SkillsBuild’s content based on Fortinet’s training curriculum can assist individuals looking to learn new skills or expand their current cybersecurity knowledge so they can enter the field or progress in their career growth.
- Help untapped candidates launch their careers: Fortinet and IBM are providing more learning opportunities to candidates who may typically be overlooked for a role in cybersecurity. These untapped candidates include those with long-term unemployment or underemployment, young adults without traditional degrees, refugees, migrants, asylum seekers, career changers, veterans and military spouses. Fortinet and IBM are both working with non-profits focused on the military community worldwide—including CASY, SaluteMyJob and Soldier On—to provide veterans and military spouses training and skills to enter the workforce.
- Connect learners to employers: Through Fortinet’s Security Academy Program and Veterans Program, Fortinet connects veterans and veteran spouses to its ecosystem of partners and customers. Many of them have secured employment in cybersecurity as a result. Now, Fortinet will work to extend its ecosystem of hiring partners and customers to learners on the SkillsBuild platform as well.
- Offer further recognition of skills: Through IBM’s SkillsBuild, learners can earn badges that offer tangible evidence to employers of their expertise, including a cybersecurity badge for the courses leveraging Fortinet’s curriculum. These badges prepare learners toward a path to receive technology-focused certifications, such as Fortinet’s eight-level Certification Program. Technology-focused certifications are highly valued by employees as seen with a recent Fortinet survey that found that 82 per cent of organizations prefer to hire candidates with certifications.
Fortinet’s Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives
One focus area of Fortinet’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives is addressing the cybersecurity skills gap by collaborating with other businesses, academic institutions through the Security Academy Program, and governments around the world. Fortinet partners with global leaders from various sectors to help shape the future of cybersecurity and to build new opportunities in the digital economy. In addition to its strategic partnership with IBM to further develop the cybersecurity talent pool, Fortinet is a founding member of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Centre for Cybersecurity and the Cyber Threat Alliance. Fortinet also has a partnership with the NATO Communications and Information Agency, and is a member of an expert working group within INTERPOL.
Additionally, Fortinet offers training and certifications through the NSE Training Institute to further develop skills and reskill or upskill IT professionals to fill the talent shortage. Fortinet recently made all of its NSE Training Institute’s self-paced security training courses available for free to help address the rapidly evolving needs of organizations securing highly distributed and remote workforces. These courses provide individuals the opportunity to gain new knowledge or upskill.
Further, Lisa Neddam, SkillsBuild Program Leader, IBM Corporate Social Responsibility, said, “Some of the toughest challenges businesses are facing today need skills that don’t require a traditional degree, such as cybersecurity experts, which is why there is a critical need to make sure everyone–from job seekers to professional transitioning to new careers–are gaining meaningful skills that align to industry needs. That’s why, regardless of background, education or life experience, SkillsBuild will equip learners with the professional skills and mentorship they need to be more employable and navigate jobs in the new digital economy.”