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Published on: Nov. 3, 2020, 8:49 a.m.
Fortinet helps hone cyber skills
  • Computer training course being conducted at Bengaluru’s RV College of Engineering

By Sarosh Bana. Executive Editor, Business India

An out-of-job IT professional from Mumbai was recently cheated of Rs2 lakh by a work-from-home job racket. Soon after he had uploaded his résumé on a job search portal, he got a call from someone offering him a work-from-home assignment for a firm in another city. Once he agreed, he was sent a website hyperlink, a consumer ID and a password to undertake the required online data entry work for the corporate. Within days, however, he received messages purportedly from firm officers, who claimed he had submitted misleading entries into their system, and his errors had caused monetary losses to the company.

Though he denied their charge and requested them to re-check his work, he received further calls from a man claiming to be the company lawyer. The man threatened legal action unless he paid a hefty fine. Terrified of being trapped in legal problems, he paid up, but when he received further calls demanding additional fines, he approached the police.

With employers, employees, students and others working increasingly online from home, this quick change in the corporate and academic environment, and the inconstant security that many people have in their homes are creating new opportunities for cyber criminals.

This development is raising demands for cyber-security professionals at a time there are not enough skilled candidates for crucial security roles. Security teams are understaffed and strained for time, rendering online operations vulnerable and opening avenues for cybercriminals. Many intrusions or breaches that are now occurring can be partially attributed to a gap in cybersecurity skills. 

 Enhancing cyber-security

Such a cyber skills gap affects organisations worldwide and, ultimately, the digital economy. Sunnyvale-headquartered cyber-security major, Fortinet, is positioning itself to address this dearth. Both a technology company and a learning organisation, Fortinet ships the maximum security appliances worldwide, to more than 465,000 customers, and its Network Security Expert (NSE) Training Institute runs one of the largest cyber-security training programmes in the industry. 

The institute reaches out to job seekers and career changers seeking to skill, reskill or upskill to transition into a career in cyber-security. Through its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, Fortinet is seeking to enhance cybersecurity career pathways by opening up its NSE self-paced security training courses for free to anyone who is interested, including the Fortinet Security Academy Programme (FSAP).

The 2019 ISC² (International Information System Security Certification Consortium) Cyber Security Workforce Study points out that while there are 2.8 million professionals working in cyber-security globally, there is need for an additional four million trained workers to close the skills gap and properly defend organisations. A Forbes Insights survey commissioned by Fortinet finds that Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) are looking for more talent and better training for employees.

  • By supporting these leading universities in India, we are arming the next generation of security leaders with the skill-set and knowledge the industry so desperately needs

FSAP focuses on creating a diverse pipeline of security professionals, by partnering academic institutions and non-profits worldwide. These comprise over 300 Authorised Security Academies in over 80 countries.

In India, Fortinet has its Innovation Centre in Bengaluru, which is the company’s largest R&D facility outside North America. As part of its CSR initiative, it is offering its four-level FSAP courses free to enrolled academies, which, in turn, are offering this certification programme free to their students. These institutions include 19 new universities, such as RV College of Engineering, Annasaheb Dange College of Engineering & Technology, Bennett University, SASTRA Deemed University, Seacom Skills University, St Xavier Catholic College of Engineering, and Sri SaiRam Institute of Technology.

“For years, Fortinet has been committed to closing the cyber-security skills gap through our NSE Training Institute programmes,” remarks Rajesh Maurya, Fortinet’s Regional Vice President for India & SAARC. “By supporting these leading universities in India, we are arming the next generation of security leaders with the skill-set and knowledge the industry so desperately needs.” He says that the 19 universities will now be able to prepare students for career success in network security.

“Knowledge in cyber-security is a skill that is sought out by many employers in India and around the world,” observes V.S. Shankar Sriram, Associate Dean, Computer Science and Engineering & in-charge, IT Services, SASTRA Deemed University. He indicates that SASTRA consistently provides the IT market with quality technology professionals, and Fortinet’s programme helps it further its mission by introducing this globally recognised certification.

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