Friday, 31 October 2014

(ISC)2 CISSP – Official vs. Unofficial

Unofficial training can often seem like a more viable alternative to its official counterpart. It may often be cheaper, but it’s a false economy – you might not be aware of all the benefits of official training.


How much better really is it to get your CISSP with an official (ISC)2 provider?

Instructors


With an authorised (ISC)2 training provider, you’ll be learning from official CISSP instructors, vetted and trained by (ISC)2 themselves.

Conversely, unauthorised instructors are not taught or trained to deliver official (ISC)2 material.  There’s no vetting process for unauthorised instructors, so you’ll be relying on your training providers opinion and this might not align with (ISC)2’s strict guidelines.


Course material


When going official you’ll get the latest (ISC)2 training materials.  When considering that the CISSP exam questions are entirely rewritten roughly every two months, possessing this up-to-date material is crucial.

(ISC)2 make sure their exams continually evolve and stay current with information security trends and practices.  Every CISSP exam even features a set of secret ‘dummy questions’ (questions which won’t count towards your final score but are used by (ISC)2 to gauge the suitability of new exam questions).

(ISC)2 are clearly committed to staying up-to-date. To beat the CISSP exam, you’ll have to as well. This means getting access to official (ISC)2 course material.

Use unofficial course material and you run the risk of studying a dated curriculum and obsolete materials. This is because unofficial courses simply don’t have access to the official material.


Practice exam papers


We’ve all taken advantage of practice exam papers as a brilliant method of revision. Nothing can beat the realism that a practice paper provides; knowing exactly what you’re up against can often mean the difference between a pass and a fail.

Going into an exam without having seen a past paper can be a gruelling experience. Luckily, authorised (ISC)2 training providers have access to official past papers.

Unfortunately, unauthorised training providers just don’t have access to these infinitely useful revision tools. Worst case scenario you’ll be working on questions which just aren’t aligned to the exam your about to take.


Taking the exam


Official (ISC)2 training providers are able to provide your exams onsite. That means you won’t have to spend £498 on the exam voucher and get yourself down to an exam centre.

Instead, you’ll just be sitting your exam in the same facility that you’re already studying in. As you might imagine, unofficial providers can’t offer the exam – you’ll have to make your own arrangements.




Bonus: Get CISSP certified with the only official (ISC)2 provider in the UK

Firebrand are immensely proud to be the only official (ISC)2 training provider in the UK. This CISSP course just doesn't compare. Here’s just how different it is:


You’ll get certified in only 7 days and still get more hours of learning than anywhere else

Firebrand’s official (ICS)2 CISSP Boot Camp is just 7 days. This includes taking and passing your CISSP exam as well as receiving your instant exam results at the training facility on the last day of the course.

You’re learning day will last from 9:00am to 9:00pm – that’s 12 hours of actual training each day. With the best similar training providers you’ll only be learning from 9:00am – 5:00pm.

On day 6 of our 7 day course, you’ll get an entire 12 hour exam preparation day. During this day your (ISC)2 authorised instructor will explain the methods and techniques you need to know to pas your exam.

No distractions

You’ll be better prepared to achieve first-time success when you can focus entirely on achieving your CISSP for seven entire days. And once your exam is completed on your last day, your objective is complete, in no time at all.

You’ll essentially be putting a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign up on the door to your life. So far Firebrand has trained over 55,000 students in this total-immersion and distraction free environment.

And…

That’s not to mention that other training courses don’t provide accommodation, an exam voucher or even exam delivery.

Find out more about Firebrand’s unique CISSP course on the Firebrand website.

Related articles:

-          How to become a CISSP


What you need to know before taking on the Lean Six Sigma Black Belt


By 


Are you ready to take on the Black Belt?
freedigitalphotos.net / rawich
The Lean Six Sigma management philosophy can boost efficiency, save money and improve customer services within your organisation. It’s especially applicable if you need to generate business improvements in areas like: customer satisfaction, service delivery and cost control.

But it can only be effective when used properly and it takes a skilled professional to make the most out of Lean Six Sigma’s complex processes.

Luckily, there’s a range of certifications available to improve and validate your Lean Six Sigma knowledge. From the entry-level Yellow Belt, to the Master Black Belt, whatever your familiarity, there’s a cert for you.

- Lean Six Sigma Green Belt

A Green Belt certification identifies you as a trained professional in Six Sigma’s Lean methodology and tools. You’ll be able to work on small scope business improvement projects as part of your job role and will be an effective team member on any Black Belt team. 

Your training will also help you to promote a common set of behaviours and practices which drive acceptance and familiarity of Lean and Sigma concepts inside your organisation. 

There are no prerequisites for the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification. And because of this, it can sometimes be difficult to know when you’re ready to take on the more advanced Black Belt. 

- Lean Six Sigma Black Belt

With a Black Belt, you’ll be qualified to lead Six Sigma projects and enterprises as well as executing and completing crucial business improvement projects.

Your enhanced Lean Six Sigma knowledge will make you ideal for providing expert opinions and thought leadership around Six Sigma and Lean. 

As leaders, Black belts will often find themselves in the role of educator. You’ll be teaching team members about Lean Six Sigma methodology and tools as well as coaching Green Belts in your organisation.


Think you’re ready?

If you’re considering taking on the Black Belt, here’s what to look out for:


The Black Belt is a lot more statistics heavy

The Lean Six Sigma Black Belt has the ability to surprise candidates with its larger focus on statistics. 

It is advised that anybody with a desire to achieve the Black belt is quantitatively oriented with a good brain for numbers.

Definitely maths.
morguefile / cohdra


You’ll be expected to use data to convert broad generalisations into clear and actionable goals. You should also be proficient in determining statistical significance and possess good skills in quantitative analysis of data.

Most Lean Six Sigma courses even feature additional training in the use of statistical processing software. These handy pieces of software enhance a Black Belts ability to investigate and analyse complex data. Think of them as a more specialised version of Microsoft’s Excel. 

Try out Minitab, our preferred statistical analysis tool of choice.


Expect a massively increased scope

But it isn’t only about statistics; the Six Sigma Black Belt is bigger in almost every respect. You can expect a bigger curriculum and a greater emphasis on large case studies which can often span your entire certification course.

You might be familiar with studying several ‘mini-case’ studies during your Lean Six Sigma Green Belt course. The small size of these case studies reduces the depth of analysis and enabled a focus on the ‘end outcome.’

However, when studying for the Black Belt, you’ll likely focus on just one large case study. And as a result, you’ll be going into far more depth than you might have been prepared for during your Green Belt.


Not all Lean Six Sigma training is created equally

It’s important to note that there isn’t just one Lean Six Sigma vendor. Because of this, not all Lean Six Sigma training, courses and certifications are created equally. 

Lean Six Sigma training can vary depending on the provider. Some training providers will focus on aspects of the Black Belt that others might mention only in passing.

As a result, it’s advised that if possible, when you undergo your Black Belt, you stick with the same Lean Six Sigma certification provider that you gained your Green Belt with. 

If you have to make the change, be sure you double check the curriculum and speak to the providers to ensure that you’re not revising the wrong material. You don’t want to attend a training course only to find that you have been studying a slightly different curriculum. It’s true, you’ll possess more knowledge, but it won’t help you pass the exam.


Assess your company’s requirements

If you’re taking the Black Belt to help improve the organisation you work for, it would be an oversight not to confirm their requirements.

As we’ve mentioned, Lean Six Sigma courses can vary in terms of curriculum and the content that they cover. It’s important that you’re on a course that teaches skills and techniques applicable to your organisation. It wouldn’t reflect well if you returned to work without this crucial knowledge.

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Firebrand win big at EC-Council Global Awards 2014

 By 




View EC-Council Instructor Awards 2013ATC of the Year EC-Council 2012

We're delighted to announce that Firebrand Training picked up two accolades at the EC-Council Global Awards 2014Firebrand has been named EC-Council Accredited Training Centre of the Year - for a record breaking sixth year in a row!

Firebrand Instructor, Richard Millet, was also honored claiming the impressive Instructor of the Year Award. This is the second time Richard picked up an EC-Council Global Award being named in Instructor Circle of Excellence category back in 2011.

Jay Bavisi, President of EC-Council, said this of the awards:

We have some of the best training organizations representing EC-Council across the globe and they have again demonstrated the commitment to high quality training, winning them awards again this year

Picking up the Auhtorized Training Centre of the Year (Europe) and Instructor of the Year (Europe), Firebrand was selected from EC-Council's extensive Training Partner network which spans the globe with over 700 training centers across 107 countries, and a vast pool of Certified EC-Council Instructors. After meeting the extensive and stringent criteria set by the EC-Council Awards Committee, Firebrand was chosen as the best in both categories for Europe.

The Authroized Training Centre of the Year award recognizes the training centers most successful in providing top-level information security training programs, whilst the Instructor of the Year, honors the instructors who guide students to deeper understanding and enhanced skills.

Here's what President of EC-Council, Jay Bavisi had to say about Firebrand Training when we caught up with him at Hacker Halted 2012:


Author

As part of Firebrand's global marketing team, Edward actively works to serve the IT community with news, reviews and technical how to guides. Working in the Industry for almost 3 years years, Edward has a wide variety of experience with Microsoft Technologies including SharePoint and Windows Server and Exchange Server. Edward is an active member of the IT community contributing to a variety of tech publications including Microsoft TechNet, Channel Pro and PC Advisor among others.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Ask an Instructor

 By 

Do you have an IT or project management issue you just can’t fix? Google can’t answer everything, and you can never be sure of the expertise of respondents from IT forums.

At times like this you need a professional you can trust, who really knows their stuff. This is the core principle behind Firebrand's new Beta, the "Ask an Instructor" project


Ask the professionals 

Today we have added the Ask an Instructor section to the Learn platform and throughout November you can pose your questions to Firebrand instructors. In return you’ll get in-depth responses and opinions from professionals that understand their subject inside-out. 



Learn from professional consultants with decades of experience
freedigitalphotos.net / Stuart Miles


Our Firebrand instructors are cross-certified professionals with years of experience. They range from renowned authors to senior information technology consultants, with extensive real-world knowledge.  

How will the Beta work?

To ask a question, here is what you need to do:

  • See if your certification is included in the Beta by checking the list below. Check back during November as the list could change
  • If your certification is included, send your questions to: ask-an-instructor@firebrandtraining.co.uk
  • Your question will be answered within the time-frame specified in the list below. Questions will not be answered before or after this date
  • Answers will be emailed to you and will also be published on the website. We will maintain your anonymity should your Q&A be published.
  • Instructors WILL NOT answer actual exam questions.

Upcoming Schedule

  • 03/11/2014 to 08/11/2014 - Microsoft MCSE: Messaging (Exchange 2013)
  • 05/11/2014 to 07/11/2014 - APMG PRINCE2® Foundation & Practitioner
  • 10/11/2014 to 13/11/2014 - PMI PMP® Certification
  • 10/11/2014 to 15/11/2014 - Cisco CCNA (Routing & Switching)
  • 10/11/2014 to 18/11/2014 - Microsoft MCSD: Web Applications
  • 15/11/2014 to 23/11/2014 - Microsoft MCSA: Windows Server 2012 R2
  • 15/11/2014 to 23/11/2014 - Microsoft MCSA: SQL Server
  • 24/11/2014 to 26/11/2014 - ISACA CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor)
  • 24/11/2014 to 29/11/2014 - Microsoft MCSE: SharePoint 2013


About the Author

As part of Firebrand's global marketing team, Edward actively works to serve the IT community with news, reviews and technical how to guides. Working in the Industry for almost 3 years years, Edward has a wide variety of experience with Microsoft Technologies including SharePoint and Windows Server and Exchange Server. Edward is an active member of the IT community contributing to a variety of tech publications including Microsoft TechNet, Channel Pro and PC Advisor among others.

Friday, 24 October 2014

How to become a CISSP


By 


CISSP is a global standard, widely recognized as the information and cybersecurity benchmark certification.

It’s an advanced cert that demonstrates a wealth of IT security knowledge and experience. If you want to ascend the ranks of information security, a CISSP can be an incredibly valuable asset.

The CISSP is a demonstration of your information security acumen and fundamental step for the senior role of Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). With the CISSP, you’ll have a common baseline and standardisation of knowledge, a proven record of ethics and a solid reputation of professional conduct (crucial for a business leader and any striving for senior level positions).

How to become a CISSP

The journey to becoming a CISSP takes hard work and dedication. If it didn’t, this certification wouldn’t be so valuable.

There are five steps to becoming (and maintaining a) CISSP:
  1. Meet the experience requirements
  2. Pass the exam 
  3. Obtain an Endorsement
  4. Prepare for an Audit
  5. Recertification

Don't let the bad guys in.
morguefile / larryfarr

1. Meet the experience requirements 

In order to even register for your CISSP exam, you’ll need to prove you possess five (or more) years of professional experience in information security. 

Plus, you’re history of professional experience must have involved at least two of the following 10 domains present in the CISSP Common Body of Knowledge (CBK):

  1. Access Control
  2. Telecommunications and Network Security
  3. Information Security Governance and Risk Management
  4. Software Development Security
  5. Cryptography
  6. Security Architecture and Design
  7. Operations Security
  8. Business continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning
  9. Legal, Regulations, Investigations and Compliance
  10. Physical (Environmental) Security 

(ISC)2 provide one-year reductions in professional experience if you possess on of the following:

  • A four-year college degree
  • You hold a credential from (ISC)2’s approved list. Examples include: MCSE, MCSA, MCITP CompTIA Security+, the CISA / CISM and the CCNP (to name just a few)
  • An advanced degree in information security from the U.S. National Centre of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (CAE/IAE)

It’s worth noting that you cannot combine these qualifications, regardless of how many you possess, you can only receive a maximum reduction of one year.


2. Pass the exam

So you’ve accumulated 5 years of information security experience (or 4 years with the 1 year waiver) and your work embraces two of the 10 CISSP CBK domains.

But before you can even sit the exam you’ll also have to complete the Candidate agreement, confirming your aforementioned experience, and legally committing to the Code of Ethics. You’ll then be required to successfully answer four questions regarding your criminal history and related background.

Now you just need to pass the exam, right? Well, as you can imagine, passing the CISSP exam is going to take some serious preparation.

In fact, in the words of (ISC)2 – ‘The vast breadth of knowledge and experience required to pass the CISSP is what sets it apart.’

The CISSP exam will test your knowledge of the 10 CISSP domains. Achieving the standard of knowledge you need to pass the exam takes time and dedication.

Many CISSP holders recommend taking up to 15 days off work, just to round off your 4 month revision journey. If you can’t afford to take this much time off work, there are always more efficient ways to achieve your CISSP, like training courses or varying speeds.

Now, book the exam – do it early and you’ll save money. But, please note: some training providers do include the exam cost in their training package.

Either way, it’s time for your exam. Be ready for a test of endurance – you’ll have 6 hours to answer as many of the 250 multiple choice questions as you can. 
 

3. Obtain an Endorsement 

Congratulations, you passed your exam! But you’re not done yet. You’ll now have to proposition an active (ISC)2 credential holder to attest to your industry experience.
They’ll have to fill out an endorsement form for you. Once (ISC)2 receives and approves the endorsement, you can finally take up the mantle of a fully-qualified CISSP.


4. Prepare for an audit

(ISC)2 randomly submits some of its CISSP professionals to audits. It’s never a good idea to skew the facts on your application, especially so if you’re singled out for an audit.

If you are found to have incorrect or falsified data on your application, you’re going to lose your CISSP. Honesty really is the best policy.


5. Maintaining your certification 

To remain a member of the (ISC)2, and to keep your CISSP certification, you must:

  • Abide by the (ISC)2 Code of Ethics
  • Obtain and submit the required Continuing Professional Education credits (CPEs)
  • Submit Annual Maintenance Fees (AMFs) upon receipt of annual invoices

The information security landscape is constantly in flux, perhaps no more so than information security. As a result, your CISSP must be maintained with CPEs – a minimum of 20 CPEs every year for the first two years of the three-year cycle.

Even if you satisfy the CPE requirements of your first or second year, your tally must still equal 120 by the end of the third year.

CPE’s can be gained through live educational events and online seminars (available to (ISC)2 members only).

If your certification is terminated, you’ll need to retake the examination before you can return to being CISSP certified. You’ll also be charged a $35 reinstatement fee upon recertification (though this pales in comparison to working through the 6 hour exam once more).



Got what it takes?

If you’ve got the experience, determination and drive to crush the CISSP but don’t want to take several weeks off work – try an accelerated course. You could be certified in only 5 working days.

Related articles:


About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Get 65 Free Microsoft E-books, no strings attached


By 


Eric Ligman, Senior Sales Excellence Manager at Microsoft has uploaded a massive treasure trove of free Microsoft eBooks. Christmas has definitely arrived early.

And it’s not the first time Mr Lingman has done this. Last summer he uploaded a small collection of free Microsoft eBooks and was overwhelmed by the phenomenal response. Now he’s back, with a lot more.

These eBooks are completely free and, as Eric puts it – ‘are not time-bombed; there is no catch.’

Almost every eBook is available in EPUB, DOC and MOBI formats. From Kindle to Kobo, you’ll get complete E-reader compatibility.

Over 3.5million eBooks have been downloaded so far from Eric’s personal blog.

Here’s the full list of free eBooks with download links:



Office & Office 365

image
Microsoft Office 365 for professionals and small businesses: Help and How To
EPUB
MOBI
PDF



SharePoint
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Explore SharePoint 2013
EPUB
MOBI
PDF
image
Deployment guide for SharePoint 2013
EPUB 
MOBI 
PDF
image
Test Lab Guide: eBook for SharePoint Server 2013 Intranet and Team Sites
EPUB
MOBI
PDF
DOC
image
Create a Balanced Scorecard (SharePoint Server 2010)

EPUB
MOBI
PDF
image
SharePoint Server for Business Intelligence
EPUB
MOBI
PDF



SQL Server
image
5 Tips for a Smooth SSIS Upgrade to SQL Server 2012
EPUB 
MOBI 
PDF
image
A Hitchiker's Guide to Microsoft StreamInsight Queries 

EPUB
MOBI 
PDF
image
Data Mining Extensions (DMX) Reference

EPUB 
MOBI
PDF
image
Data Quality Services  

EPUB
MOBI
PDF
image
High Availability Solutions 

EPUB
MOBI 
DF
image
Master Data Services

EPUB 
MOBI
PDF
image
Monitor and Tune for Performance

EPUB 
MOBI 
PDF
image
Multidimensional Expressions (MDX) Reference

EPUB 
MOBI
PDF
image
SQL Server Distributed Replay

EPUB
MOBI
PDF
image
Transact-SQL Data Definition Language (DDL) Reference

EPUB
MOBI 
PDF
image
XQuery Language Reference 

EPUB 
MOBI
PDF
image
Extracting and Loading SharePoint Data in SQL Server Integration Services 

EPUB 
MOBI
PDF
image
Integration Services: Extending Packages with Scripting 

EPUB 
MOBI
PDF
image
Multidimensional Model Programming
EPUB 
MOBI
PDF
image
Optimized Bulk Loading of Data into Oracle

EPUB
MOBI
PDF
image
Planning Disaster Recovery for Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services in SharePoint Integrated Mode
EPUB
MOBI 
PDF
image
SQL Server 2012 Tutorials: Reporting Services

EPUB 
MOBI
PDF
image
SQL Server 2012 Tutorials: Writing Transact-SQL Statements

EPUB
MOBI 
PDF
image
SQL Server Community FAQs Manual

EPUB
MOBI 
PDF



System Center
image
Cmdlet Reference for App Controller in System Center 2012 SP
1
EPUB
MOBI
PDF
image
Technical Documentation for System Center 2012 - Virtual Machine Manager

EPUB 
MOBI
PDF



Visual Studio
image
Better Unit Testing with Microsoft Fakes
EPUB 
MOBI
PDF
image
Dependency Injection with Unity 

PDF
image
Developer's Guide to Microsoft Enterprise Library (Second Edition)

PDF
image
Testing for Continuous Delivery with Visual Studio 2012 

PDF
image
Upgrade Team Foundation Server 2012: the ultimate upgrade guide

EPUB 
MOBI
PDF



Web Development
image
ASP.NET Multi-Tier Windows Azure Application Using Storage Tables, Queues, and Blobs

EPUB 
MOBI 
PDF
image
ASP.NET Web Deployment using Visual Studio 

EPUB
MOBI 
PDF
image
Developing Modern Mobile Web Apps 

EPUB
MOBI
PDF
image
The Entity Framework 4.0 and ASP.NET Web Forms – Getting Started
EPUB
MOBI
PDF
image
Getting Started with the Entity Framework 4.1 using ASP.NET MVC

EPUB 
MOBI
PDF
image
Project Silk: Client-Side Web Development for Modern Browsers
PDF



Windows
image
Administrator's Guide for Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) 5.0

EPUB
MOBI 
PDF
image
Administrator’s Guide for Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring 1.0

EPUB
MOBI 
PDF
image
Administrator’s Guide for Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT) 7

EPUB
MOBI 
PDF
image
Administrator’s Guide for Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT) 8.0
EPUB 
MOBI 
PDF
image
Administrator’s Guide for Microsoft User Experience Virtualization (UE-V) 1.0

EPUB 
MOBI
PDF
image
Developing an end-to-end Windows Store app using C++ and XAML: Hilo


PDF
image
Developing an end-to-end Windows Store app using JavaScript: Hilo
PDF
image
Prism for the Windows Runtime: Developing a 

Windows Store business app using C#, XAML, and Prism 

PDF
image
Programming Windows 8 Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
EPUB
MOBI
PDF



Windows Azure
image
Autoscaling Application Block and Transient Fault Handling Application Block Reference 

EPUB
MOBI 
PDF
image
Create Your First Application: Node.js and Windows Azure
EPUB 
MOBI 
PDF
image
Developing Multi-tenant Applications for the Cloud on Windows Azure (3rd Edition) 

PDF
image
Drupal on Windows Azure
EPUB 
MOBI 
PDF
image
Exploring CQRS and Event Sourcing: A journey into high scalability, availability, and maintainability with Windows Azure 

PDF
image
Migrating Data-Centric Applications to Windows Azure
EPUB 
MOBI
PDF
image
Moving Applications to the Cloud on Windows Azure (3rd Edition)

PDF
image
Using Windows Azure Mobile Services to Cloud-Enable your iOS Apps
EPUB 
MOBI
PDF
image
Using Windows Azure Mobile Services to Cloud-Enable Your Windows Phone 8 Apps
EPUB
MOBI 
PDF
image
Using Windows Azure Mobile Services to Cloud-Enable your Windows Store Apps in C#
EPUB 
MOBI 
PDF
image
Using Windows Azure Mobile Services to Cloud-Enable Your Windows Store Apps in JavaScript

EPUB 
MOBI
PDF
image
Windows Azure and SQL Database Tutorials 

EPUB
MOBI
PDF



Windows Server
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A Guide to Claims-Based Identity and Access Control, Second Edition
PDF
image
Introducing Windows Server 2012

EPUB 
MOBI 
PDF
image
TCP/IP Fundamentals for Microsoft Windows 

PDF




Alternatively, you can navigate to Eric’s blog to find the same content.

If you know anybody who would find these resources helpful, direct them towards this amazing Microsoft treasure trove.

And, if you yourself found these resources useful, make sure to say ‘Cheers!’ to Eric Ligman. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and of course, his blog.


About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.