Monday, 13 April 2015

Crack the new CISSP CBK with these CISSP training resources


By Sarah Morgan


Your CISSP exam and curriculum is changing. With the release of a brand new exam blueprint and updated CISSP domains imminent, the material you're revising now will soon be out of date.

The switch will be made on April 16th 2015, when the ten CISSP CBK domains will be reduced to eight.


As a result of this refresh, the CISSP exam will be altered to reflect the new CBK changes (but will remain the same format). Any training or revision material you use must also be updated, or you’ll risk revising irrelevant content!

Don’t get caught out by the 2015 domain refresh. Take a look at these up-to-date revision resources, aligned to the 8 brand new CISSP domains.


1. Official (ISC)2 Guide to the CISSP CBK, Fourth Edition (ISC2 Press) Hardcover – 10 Apr 2015 
ISBN-13: 978-1482262759

Released last week, you don’t get any more up-to-date than (ISC)2’s Official Guide to the CISSP CBK.

This official guide, endorsed by (ISC)2 and edited by Adam Gordon, covers the refreshed technical content added to the CISSP CBK. The book provides a comprehensive guide to the eight CISSP domains and includes illustrated examples, practical exercises and real-life scenarios.

How to buy it:


And remember, if you’re an (ISC)2 member, you’ll get 50% off Official (ISC)2 textbooks!


2. The NEW 2015 CISSP Exam. Brace Yourself (and prepare yourself)! Webcast with Dave miller

Dave Miller has been an IT security specialist since 1980, is a published author and lecturer. So it’s no surprise he’s been following the new CISSP CBK with interest.

His comprehensive webcast, originally hosted March 17th 2015, is now available for free online at Oreily.com. The 93 minute webcast covers an abundance of CISSP topics including:

  • A review of the 2012 CISSP certification exam
  • The new CISSP 2015 examination
  • CISSP certification requirements
  • New test-worthy topics
  • How to prepare for the new CBK and CISSP exam
  • Conclusion: Q&A

To watch the webcast, sign up here.


3. (ISC)2 Overview & Key areas of knowledge in the 8 new CISSP domains

(ISC)2 has released a candidate information bulletin in line with the new CISSP exam blueprint. This massive document includes overviews of each of the 8 brand new CISSP domains alongside the key areas of knowledge you’ll need to understand to pass your exam.

This resource is excellent for any professional who needs a quick refresher on what’s contained in the new CISSP domains.

However, don’t treat the information found here as replacements for experience or knowledge - (ISC)2 state that, “[The candidate information bulletins] were developed to provide candidates with basic information…the outlines are not intended to be in-depth reviews of the examination.”

Access the document here.


4. (ISC)2 sample exam questions

Also included in the (ISC)2 CISSP candidate bulletin are sample questions, aligned to the new exam blueprint. We’ve included them below:


1. Which one of the following is the MOST important security consideration when selecting a new computer facility?

a. Local law enforcement response times
b. Adjacent to competitors’ facilities
c. Aircraft flight paths
d. Utility infrastructure

2. Which one of the following describes a SYN flood attack?

a. Rapid transmission of Internet Relay Chat (IRC) messages
b. Creating a high number of half-open connections
c. Disabling the Domain Name Service (DNS) server
d. Excessive list linking of users and files

3. Which one of the following is a limitation of fuzzing, as it relates to secure software development best practice?

a. Access to the source code is required
b. Not all discovered issues are exploitable
c. Issues must be accessible through an open interface
d. Is not suitable where code development is outsourced

Find the answers on Page 33 of the CISSP candidate bulletin.


Got a burning CISSP question?

If you’ve got more questions, take a look at our CISSP FAQ covering the new exam blueprint.

And if you need to get certified with accelerated CISSP training, good news – Firebrand are the only authorised (ISC)2 partner in the UK and will be teaching the latest 2015 CISSP material from the 20th April 2015.


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. 

Friday, 10 April 2015

Why Microsoft and The Government support IT apprenticeships


By Sarah Morgan


National Apprenticeship Week has been and gone, but many businesses still don’t realise that you can access £10,000s of training for your staff or that you can use apprenticeships to bring new talent and skills into your organisation.


Find out about the benefits of IT apprenticeships from employers and apprentices, and hear from Microsoft, The Government and BCS. That was the agenda of Firebrand’s NAW2015 event, but if you couldn’t make it - here are the highlights.


What’s in it for employers?

Government Apprenticeships Ambassador, Andrew Jones MP kicked off the event with some startling statistics. A record 2 million people from across the UK have become apprentices over the past five years but only 15% of companies have offered apprenticeships.

Andrew Jones MP takes the stage at our event


That is in some ways a bad figure, and in some ways a good figure. If we have made huge progress but only 15% of companies have been engaged - we have an enormous opportunity…we still therefore have to get the message across – ‘Why companies should engage.’” Andrews Jones MP

Andrew Jones is clear; we are succeeding in attracting young people to apprenticeships, but with only 15% of organisations engaged, there is a massive opportunity to get more business on-board.

Here’s why employers should get involved:
  • 88% of businesses report increased employee satisfaction
  • 5 million consumers more likely to make a purchase from an apprentice employer
  • 80% of companies who have taken on an apprentice report a lower staff turnover
  • Reduced recruitment costs
  • Employers benefit by £6000 after the first year of the apprenticeship program
  • 75% of business report gaining highly committed new staff (Microsoft)

And that’s without considering IT apprenticeship funding worth up to £27,000.


What is Microsoft doing for apprenticeships?

Microsoft’s 30,000 partners have faced challenges in hiring new staff, especially without paying £10,000’s in recruitment fees, states Dominic Gill, Microsoft Apprenticeship Lead. ‘Existing routes weren’t working,’ and businesses need to look for alternative options to bring in new talent.

There has been a significant decline in computer science graduates since 2006 – the UK suffering most with a 63% reduction in graduates. Dominic Gill knows apprenticeships are integral in solving the skills shortage, and Microsoft’s Get On initiative is evidence of their commitment.

The success of Microsoft Apprenticeships is astonishing with over 7000 young people starting their careers with apprenticeships since 2010.

And that’s not all. As Dominic concludes – “[Microsoft] are actually looking to start 3,500 new apprenticeships this year.”


Hear from the employers & apprentices themselves

Attendees got the opportunity to learn about IT apprenticeships from the apprentices and employers themselves. Microsoft Apprenticeships Lead Dominic Gill chaired a panel discussion with guests including:

  • Brett Raynes – founder of Cloud Direct and Firebrand apprentice employer
  • Simon Wade – HR manager at 5G communications and Firebrand apprentice employer
  • Richard Smith – apprentice at 5G communications and Firebrand apprentice
  • Kimberley Bolton – Pythagoras Communication and First female Apprentice of the Year Winner, Microsoft Apprentice Ambassador and Firebrand Apprentice


Dom Gill: What made you first start recruiting an apprentice rather than a graduate?


Brett Raynes: I think fundamentally we realised that success was not about whether you had a degree or not it was all about talent and attitude - the usual stuff that would make a success of any recruit you would bring into the company.


Dom Gill: What role did the training provider initially play in the decision process?

Brett Raynes – Firebrand were the inspiration to do it; they helped with the selection…and support for the apprentices when they joined the company…they were absolutely critical to the whole process.


Simon Wade – [Our Technical Manager] was at Firebrand on a training course and he saw all these people scribbling away in a room doing lots and lots of work…and this was about half past six/ seven o clock at night…and he said to someone, ‘who are they?’ and they said, ‘they’re apprentices.’ He came back to work and he said, ‘We’re getting some apprentices.’


Dom Gill: [Towards the apprentices] What do you do day-to-day?


Richard Smith: Myself and the other apprentice sit down and build the solutions for the field engineers…then once we’ve built the solution, the kits brought in and we then program-up the kit for the customers’ requirements...we test in house and we then ship it out to the customer…that’s what we do on a daily basis.


Dom Gill: What would you say would be the most interesting project you’ve worked on?


Kimberley Bolton: Being an Apprenticeships Ambassador with Microsoft…my main thing is trying to get more women into IT…so a chance to be here and be able to speak out and say it can be done, that to me is my best project.

Kimberley Bolton talks IT apprenticeshipsduring the panel discussion



Dom Gill: Any thoughts on how we could attract more women in IT?


Kimberley Bolton: Personally I think it’s about publicity…I don’t think the problem is with the companies, because when I’m at these events and I talk to the companies they want females - It’s not about them worrying that ‘[Women] aren’t going to be as good.’


Meet the apprentices themselves, including Firebrand Apprentice Kimberley Bolton, in the video below:



Keep a look out for the next event!

Make sure to follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ and don’t miss the next employer-focused apprenticeships event!

Employer? Apprentice? Find out more about Firebrand’s IT apprenticeships now.


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, 2 April 2015

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 training now available from Firebrand


By Sarah Morgan


Update your knowledge with the newest version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 and master new features like targeted marketing campaigns, voice control and a dashboard to monitor social media.

Firebrand has built four new accelerated courses, aligned to the recently released Microsoft Dynamics 2015:


This is your fastest way to learn and master Microsoft Dynamics 2015. Firebrand is a Microsoft Gold Learning Partner - you’ll study Microsoft Official Curriculum and sit your exams onsite on these accelerated courses.

What’s new in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015?

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 was released December 1st 2014 in 130 markets and 44 languages. Get trained and you’ll get to grips with these new features:

  • 'Sales Collaboration Panel'
  • Social Listening 
  • Voice Control
  • Better sales campaigns

Social Listening

Use your social media dashboard to scan and look for words, phrases, and group discussions. You can even use Dynamics 2015 to listen for positive, negative or neutral words and phrases.

Dynamics CRM 2015 also provides an enhanced overview map showing your social media streams by country – an especially useful feature for any organisation operating across multiple markets, countries or regions.

To find out more about the advanced Social Listening features in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 – take a look at Firebrand’s accelerated Microsoft Dynamics Marketing 2015 course.


Voice control in CRM

Microsoft has integrated Cortana, their virtual voice-controlled assistant, in Dynamics CRM 2015.

As a result, you’ll now be able to schedule meetings and search contacts, accounts and activities with voice activated instructions. Cortana will also fix customer lists and create new customers. Plus, manage it all from your smartphone or tablet.


Better integration

Dynamics CRM 2015 extends Outlook integration, allowing you to you synchronize tasks and other data faster.

Lync integration is also included with an improved the 'click to call' feature and the ability to hold webinars.

Microsoft has also released a video describing the miscellaneous new features they’ve added to Dynamics:




180+ courses and counting

Firebrand’s portfolio now exceeds 180 accelerated courses from vendors like Microsoft, Cisco, (ISC)2 and CompTIA.

We’re committed to developing new accelerated courses. To stay up to date with our newest and most cutting edge training follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ and LinkedIn.

Find out how you can get certified at twice the speed and take a look at our full range of accelerated training.


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. 

Friday, 27 March 2015

Better Business Cases, VMware VCP6-DT & more – Firebrand’s new courses


By Sarah Morgan


We are excited to announce the addition of five new accelerated courses to the Firebrand portfolio.

You can now experience Firebrand’s accelerated and distraction free, all-inclusive training on these brand new courses:


VMware® Mirage [V5.0] and Horizon with View [V6.0]: Fast Track - Only 5 Days

Get the latest version of the massively popular VCP5-DT on this five day course you’ll get your VMware Certified Professional 6 – Desktop (VCP6-DT) certification. Learn how to install, configure and manage VMware Horizon and get access to 24-hour labs and the same hardware you’d find in a real data centre.

Find out how to get VCP6-DT certified in just five days on this official all-inclusive VMware course.


Microsoft MCSE: Enterprise Devices and Apps - Only 6 Days

This brand new accelerated six day course is 50% faster than traditional training! Get MCSE: Enterprise Devices and Apps certified and you’ll learn the skills you need to manage devices in a modern bring-your-own-device BYOD enterprise.

Firebrand is also a Microsoft Gold Learning Partner - that means you'll get access to Microsoft Official Curriculum. Find out why this Microsoft MCSE: Enterprise Devices and Apps course is 50% faster than traditional training now.


Better Business Cases: Foundation and Practitioner - Only 3 Days

Learn how to use The Five Case Model, the UK Government’s best practice approach to planning public sector spending proposals. This model is recommended by the HM Treasury for use in Government departments and Government bodies.

Production of business cases is a mandatory part of planning a public sector spending proposal. If you’re responsible for spending public money, this certification that cannot be overlooked.

Learn how to develop an effective business case on this accelerated 3 day course.


Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Trade & Logistics / Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Financials

Get training in line with the newest version of Microsoft’s Dynamics AX 2012 R3 on these courses:


On these accelerated Microsoft Dynamics AX courses, you’ll study the Microsoft Official Curriculum (MOC) and get access to exclusive Firebrand R3 material. You'll also sit your exam onsite at the end of your course.


Over 180 courses and counting

Firebrand is committed to developing accelerated courses in line with new technology. To keep up to date with our newest and most cutting edge accelerated courses, you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ and LinkedIn.

Firebrand’s portfolio now exceeds 180 accelerated courses from vendors like Microsoft, Cisco, (ISC)2 and CompTIA.

Find out how you can get certified at twice the speed and take a look at our full range of accelerated training.


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. 

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Pass the Professional Scrum Master Certification exam with these 5 tips


By Sarah Morgan


Get on track for a career as a Certified Scrum Master where average advertised salaries range from £42,000 to £70,000.

But first you’ll need to pass the Professional Scrum Master Certification exam (PSM I). And before you hand over the £100 ($150) exam fee, you need a comprehensive base of Scrum knowledge to stand any chance of passing.

To become a Certified Scrum Master you’ll need to answer 68 of the 80 questions correctly in 60 minutes. That’s a passing score of 85% or more.

So, to pass the Professional Scrum Master Certification exam first time – take a look at these 5 tips:


1. Read "Software in 30 Days: How Agile Managers Beat the Odds, Delight Their Customers, and Leave Competitors in the Dust"

Written by two of the biggest names in the industry - Ken Schwaber (founder of Scrum.org and Scrum co-creator) and Jeff Sutherland (Scrum co-creator) – this book is a concise and authoritative introduction to Agile and Scrum software development. It’s rated highly too – with 4.5 of 5 stars (28 Amazon Reviews) on Amazon.com

Managers and senior management short on time will find this an especially rewarding read due to its minimalistic and to-the-point style.

It’s also ideal for beginners as terminology is clearly defined and numerous examples are provided detailing how companies have used Scrum to cut software development overrun.

In fact we like this book so much at Firebrand we included it for free on our 2 day Scrum Master course!

Software in 30 Days: How Agile Managers Beat the Odds, Delight Their Customers, and Leave Competitors in the Dust Paperback – 27 Apr 2012 - ISBN - 9781118206669


For even more reading, take a look at the Official Scrum Guide (another great free resource from Ken Scwaber and Jeff Sutherland).


2. Make the most of the Scrum Open assessment

You’ll find an incredibly useful testing resource on Scrum.org entitled the – “Scrum Open assessment”.

The Scrum open assessment is an official Scrum.org tool for validating your knowledge (before you commit to the real exam). This practice assessment consists of 30 questions, randomly selected from a larger pool, in which you have an hour to complete.

Before you take the Professional Scrum Master Certification exam, we recommend you repeat the open assessment until you feel comfortable completing it in under twenty minutes.

Remember – the real PSM I assessment has 80 questions, and only 60 minutes in which to answer them. Don’t attempt the PSM I exam just because you can pass the Open assessment, you’ll still need to do your background reading.

Several Scrum professionals even note that some questions found on the open assessment actually appear within the PSM I exam.

The Scrum open assessment completely free but you’ll need to register on Scrum.org first.


3. Did you forget about burndown charts?

Burndown charts display the remaining effort for a given period of time and are used in Scrum to track product development.

But it can be all too easy to neglect burndown charts as they no longer appear on the official Scrum Guide. Despite this, those taking the Professional Scrum Master Certification still report encountering questions related to this elusive subject.

Neglect this topic at your own risk - you could still find questions relating to it on your Professional Scrum Master exam.

For a comprehensive introduction to Scrum burndown charts, take a look at this article.


4. You can use Google in the exam, but it would be a mistake

Use a search engine during this online exam at your own peril. If you find yourself searching for answers online whilst you’re taking your Scrum Master Certification exam you clearly haven’t revised enough!

It’s also highly unlikely you’ll find answers to your questions, let alone reliable ones. Plus, with only 45 seconds to answer each of the 80 questions in the PSM I exam, you just don’t have the time to waste.



You need the knowledge to be able to answer the questions quickly, without stalling and especially without trawling the internet for clues to the correct answer.


5. Participate in the Scrum.org forums

The Scrum.org forums are great to browse over a cup of coffee or on a break from your Scrum revision. You’ll find hundreds of fellow Scrum students and certified professionals alike discussing Scrum and agile methodologies.

Forums are a great way to ask questions too specific for Google (but remember to validate the information you get!) and a brilliant place to network for both certified and uncertified Scrum Masters.

You don’t need to sign up to read the forums, but to participate you’ll need to create a free account. Get on the forums now!

The Scrum.org forums




Self-study not working for you?

Effective self-study doesn’t work for everyone. If you’re one of the professionals that needs the Scrum Master Certification quickly, without the commitment to self-study, take a look at Firebrand’s 2 day accelerated Professional Scrum Master (Agile) course.


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. 

Monday, 23 March 2015

Win Free Training for Life with Firebrand


 Free Training for Life

Firebrand is again giving one person free accelerated training for the rest of their life. This time it could be you.

The prize is worth more than £1million - considering the value of our all-inclusive courses and your potential future earnings.


Which courses are covered?


Join previous winners Mario Henkel and Joseph Guthrie who can now take every Firebrand course for free. You’ll get all of our Microsoft courses; from MCSA to MCSE, and Windows Server to Dynamics and SQL. Our other partners, including Cisco, Oracle and CompTIA, are covered too.

Project manager? PRINCE2 and PMP could be yours for free. Or if you're responsible for IT security, you could take any of our EC-Council and (ISC)2 courses.


How to win Free Training For Life


The competition is a raffle. One person will be picked at random, and they'll win Free Training For Life. It takes just two seconds to enter online.


 Win Free Training for Life

Increase your chance of winning. After entering you'll get a unique URL, which you can share with your colleagues and anyone else who’d be interested in Free Training For Life. Each extra entry via your unique URL counts as another 10 for you in the draw.

What it's like to win Free Training for Life


Listen to Joseph Guthrie, as he talks about what it was like to win Free Training for Life and his future aspirations.




Full terms and conditions can be found at: www.firebrandtraining.co.uk/ftfl

Author Profile

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, Edward has a wide variety of experience with Microsoft Technologies including SharePoint, 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.


Friday, 20 March 2015

Top 10 PMP resources 2015


By Sarah Morgan


Get ready to take on your PMP exam with these top PMP resources 2015. It’s a waste of your time and money to attempt an exam you’re not prepared for. Instead, get ready to pass first time by studying the best material available.

These top PMP resources range from study guides to practice exam simulators and even interactive games.

1. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK 5 Guide)

This is an essential resource for PMP students and a crucial revision tool. Every PMP aspirant should study this official guide as it covers the most recent PMBOK in its entirety and provides the international standard upon which PMP is based.

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMB Guide) - 5th Edition

Amazon.co.uk

2. Head First PMP Paperback – December 29, 2013

Learn the latest objectives and topics in the PMBOK5 with this bestselling PMP guide (with over 100 reviews and a four star average on Amazon.com). This intelligent book covers PMP’s underlying concepts as well as a thorough exam preparation guide with hundreds of practice questions and strategies.

Head First PMP Paperback – 29 Dec 2013

Amazon.co.uk


3. How to Manage a Camel

Take some time out of your revision to browse Arras People’s ‘How to Manage a Camel.’ This great project management blog covers all aspects of project management, including PMP and PRINCE2.

You’ll get a better appreciation of project management as a career and a more comprehensive base of knowledge. Plus, there are some great PMP specific articles to read as part of your revision process.


4. PMP ITTO Mind Map

This is a great PMP revision tool for visual learners. Developed by Kim Synder and based on the PMBOK Guide 5th Edition, this mind map visualises 10 project management knowledge areas found in PMP.

Get the pdf here.

One page in the comprehensive 10 page mind map






5. PM Zilla forum

PM Zilla is one of the most popular PMP specific forums. There are over 10,000 threads covering topics from PMP exam questions to applying PMP in real world situations. Got a tricky PMP question that Google can’t answer? Ask in the forum

Forums are a great way to learn regardless of which certification you are studying for. Interacting with other students, discussing the curriculum and asking questions is one of the best ways of both learning and putting your knowledge into practice. However, make sure you verify your information, as there’s no real way of gauging it’s quality otherwise (it could be incorrect!).

And don’t forget – forums are participatory and at their most rewarding when you aren’t just asking questions, but answering them too.


6. Techexams.net PMP Forum

One forum is never enough – here’s a second great project management forum from techexams.net. You’ll find some great user-created revision guides and active threads. As always – make sure to double (and triple) check the information you read.

Bear in mind, though most posts relate to PMP, this forum is dedicated to project management certifications as a whole.


7. Rita’s process game

One skilled PMP student has even developed a game to help others understand the correct sequence of all project management processes and planning processes.

Find it here.


8. Firebrand Learn

Firebrand Learn is a free platform for self study. We’ve added a massive amount of PMP content to it - you’ll get:
  • Course material taught on Firebrand’s official PMP course
  • Exercises
  • Free practice test questions and answers 
  • A collection of third party resources

Combine A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK 5 Guide) with the resources on Firebrand Learn and you’ll be well on your way to passing the PMP exam.


Firebrand Learn's of practice exam questions


We’ve had some great feedback about Firebrand Learn. Take a look at what Michael Greer of bestfreetraining.net said about it:



Start revising PMP right now on Firebrand Learn– you won’t need to pay or register.


9. PMP Exam Self-Assessment Test - Oliver Lehmann

From this site you’ll get access to 75 free sample questions with a simulated 90 minute time to mimic the exam. Click ‘Solve Sample Test’ once you’re done to see an instant percentage score.

You’ll also get access to an additional 175 PMP sample questions in pdf form. Unlike the interactive online questions, this document is intended to be printed and completed by hand.

Don’t be discouraged if you’re score is lower than you expected, as Cornelius Fitchner of The Project Management Podcast states, “Hands down, this web site has the toughest questions around. If you are able to answer more than 50% correctly, then hats off to you.”


10. PM Exam Simulator

As the name suggests, this tool simulates the PMP exam and provides 175 free sample questions. You’ll answer questions of the same style and difficulty that you can expect to find on the real exam and will get access to three different modes of:

  • Real exam mode: a simulation of the real PMP exam experience
  • Timed mode: you’ll receive hints and answers but will still be timed
  • Learning mode: get hints and answers with no time limit.

Unfortunately, you’ll only get the above for three days with the free trial account. The full service will set you back $99.


How to know if you’re ready for the PMP exam

We recommend you read, re-read and read again to absorb the knowledge you need. Next, tackle the PMP mock exams and sample questions until you can consistently score 75% or above. Once you can do this – you should be ready.

However, if you don’t have the time available to dedicate to self-study – there are others ways to get certified, take a look at our official accelerated four day PMP course.


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. 

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

How to test your Azure Traffic Manager settings

   By Debra Littlejohn Shinder



The more traffic you have, the more important traffic management becomes. When motor vehicles first appeared on the roads, they were few and far between and little management was necessary. Yet today traffic control devices are essential to prevent accidents and traffic jams. Likewise, today’s oft-overburdened networks carry data packets from hundreds or thousands of endpoints across routers and switches and through gateways, making traffic management a necessity to ensure performance and reliability.

Microsoft Azure Traffic Manager is a tool designed to work with Microsoft’s cloud operating system to enable you to control the way traffic is distributed to Azure cloud services, web sites and other endpoints that you specify by applying policies to DNS queries. This can result in significant improvement to availability, performance and responsiveness – all of which can be concerns when working with cloud services over an Internet connection, especially for those who are used to the high speed of today’s local networks.

Traffic Manager is deployed in association with an Azure subscription, after which you can add your endpoints, select a monitoring configuration and load balancing method, then create a profile and configure the settings. You can configure Traffic Manager settings in the Management Portal, by using REST APIs or using PowerShell. You can also create nested profiles, which refers to a setup where you have another Traffic Manager profile as an endpoint.

For more information about how to control network traffic distribution with Azure Traffic Manager, be sure to check out Richard Hicks’ article over on CloudComputingAdmin.com.

Before you get that far, though, you might want to test your Traffic Manager settings after configuring them. To do that, first make sure that you set DNS TTL to a low value, such as 30 seconds, so that the changes you make will be quickly propagated and you won’t have to wait to see the results.

You can check your Traffic Manager profile using the common nslookup utility:

  1. Open an administrative command prompt window.
  2. Enter ipconfig /flushdns to flush the DNS resolver cache.
  3. Enter nslookup <Traffic Manager domain name>

Examine the results returned from this command. This should show the DNS name and IP address of the DNS server that you’re using to resolve the domain name. It will also show the Traffic Manager domain along with the IP address to which it resolves. The second IP address shown should be a public virtual IP (VIP) address that is assigned to one of the cloud services or web sites you’ve configured as an endpoint in Traffic Manager.

Now, to test your failover load balancing method, follow these steps:

  1. With the endpoints up, using a single client, use the nslookup tool to request DNS name resolution of your company domain name. The resolved endpoint should be for your primary endpoint.
  2. Either take down your primary endpoint or remove the monitoring file (this will make it appear to be down to Traffic Manager).
  3. Wait now for the DNS TTL plus two minutes to pass.
  4. Now flush the DNS client cache as described above.
  5. Request DNS resolution again. This time the IP address returned should be for your secondary endpoint.
  6. Take down the secondary endpoint and repeat the process for each of the endpoints. The key here is to be sure that the DNS resolution request comes back each time with the IP address of the next endpoint on your list.

If you’re using the round robin load balancing method, the steps to test are a little different. The first step is the same, but the endpoints won’t be in order. Make sure you get back the IP address of one of the endpoints on your list, then flush the DNS cache and repeat to get a different address from your list, and so forth, until the IP addresses for all of your endpoints have been returned.


Author Profile

Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MCSE, MVP (Security) is a technology consultant, trainer and writer who has authored a number of books on computer operating systems, networking, and security.

She is also a tech editor, developmental editor and contributor to over 20 additional books. Her articles are regularly published on TechRepublic's TechProGuild Web site and WindowSecurity.com, and has appeared in print magazines such as Windows IT Pro (formerly Windows & .NET) Magazine.


Thursday, 12 March 2015

Top 5 stories of National Apprenticeship Week 2015 so far


By Sarah Morgan


National Apprenticeship Week is upon us and there’s never been a better time to discover the benefits of IT apprenticeships for you and your business.

Firebrand has been following this week closely – here are the top 5 stories so far:


1. Government unveils cyber security initiatives for National Apprenticeship Week

Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, today unveiled a selection of initiatives to encourage young people to pursue a career in cyber security.

The Government’s National Cyber Security Programme will be offering IT apprenticeships to boost the number of civil service cyber specialists. Cyber security training in further and higher education will also be provided.

Cyber Specialist apprenticeships from The Tech Partnership will train young people to become professional Cyber Intrusion analysts to work in Security Operations Centres.

Plus, from September 2016, cyber security will now feature in all computing and digital further education at level three and four. This means all 16-19 year olds will receive an introduction to cyber security if they choose these subjects.

Find out more about the Government’s new cyber security IT apprenticeships here.



2. UK businesses could get £18bn additional revenue from apprenticeships

A report from the Centre of Economics and Business Research reveals that consumers prefer to buy from businesses employing apprentices.

Marking the start of National Apprenticeship Week 2015, the report explained how UK businesses could be missing out on £18billion a year in consumer spending.

“One in four consumers say they would go as far as even paying more for goods and services offered by companies that employ apprentices”

The Benefits of Apprenticeships to Businesses study also found that businesses offering apprenticeships were perceived by 66% of the public as contributing to society, with five million consumers more likely to make a purchase from an apprentice employer.

Read more about the Benefits of Apprenticeships study here.


3. The average apprentice delivers £10,000 in productivity gains every year

The same study also found that the average apprentice can deliver up to £13,824 per annum for your business.

The research demonstrates that even before an apprentice is fully qualified, many businesses will experience the economic benefits of offering apprenticeships. Find out more here.


4. Nick Clegg’s apprenticeship message

Nick Clegg marked National Apprenticeship Week with a video message. The Deputy Prime Minister called on more young people to boost their skills and get involved in apprenticeship schemes across all industries.

“Whatever your sector, there’s a hard-working, dedicated apprentice out there ready to help your organisation thrive… So, if you want a good career or a boost to your businesses’ bottom line – get an apprenticeship.”

He also spoke about research showing that “gaining a higher-level apprenticeship can boost your lifetime earnings by £150,000.”

Watch Nick Clegg’s message yourself below. Or visit the Government website.


5. BT plans to create 1,000 new apprenticeship and graduate jobs

BT recently announced a major job-creation scheme to launch 700 new apprenticeships, and 300 graduate positions, across the UK.

The 700 new apprentices will work in IT, software development and a variety of other roles across BT’s UK organisation.

“The UK’s future as a technology leader hinges on young people getting the skills, support and training they need to create successful careers in science, engineering and IT,” BT’s chief executive Gavin Patterson stated.

Read BT’s press release here.


Get involved in National Apprenticeship Week

To stay up to date, follow #NAW2015 on Twitter, or for key facts, resources tools and templates – take a look at the National Apprenticeship Week website.

Sign up now and find out how apprenticeships will grow your business.


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. 

Friday, 6 March 2015

Frequently Asked Questions about EC-Council’s CEH certification


By Sarah Morgan


With the recent spate of high profile hacks targeting the biggest and wealthiest, you might not be surprised to learn that EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker cert is experiencing a boost in popularity.

As malicious hacking and cybertheft become increasingly prevalent in our lives, the CEH will continue to gain in importance. A lack of information security knowledge and investment is often to blame for data and system breaches – it’s clear that organisations need professionals with advanced security skills.

In response to this growing need, more and more professionals are looking to the CEH as a way of gaining new security skills and securing a rewarding career as an Ethical Hacker.

There’s a lot to learn about this popular cert - let’s take a look at the most frequently asked questions about EC-Council’s CEH certification.


Q. What actually is an Ethical Hacker?

A. Ethical hackers attempt to penetrate a computer system or network with the aim of finding security vulnerabilities that could otherwise remain undetected. However, unlike malicious hackers, ethical hackers are given permission to undertake these controlled attacks.

Without these harmless penetration tests, security holes could remain unseen, leaving the organisation in a position that a malicious hacker could exploit.

pat138241 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Become an Ethical Hacker and you’ll learn to use the same techniques and tools as a cybercriminal. However, instead of exploiting these vulnerabilities, as an Ethical Hacker you’ll document security holes and provide actionable advice on how they can be fixed.


Q. How much does an ethical hacker earn?

Ethical hackers earn an average advertised salary of £55,000 according to data from ITJobsWatch.


Q. Why should I get the CEH cert?

A. The CEH is a brilliant introduction into the world of Ethical Hacking. You’ll finish your certification with an in demand set of skills covering Intrusion Detection, Social Engineering, DDoS Attacks, Buffer Overflows and Virus Creation.

Plus, if you need to break into the field of ethical hacking or penetration testing, the CEH will put you ahead of other uncertified job applicants (assuming you similar experience).

It’s a benchmark certification for ethical hackers - “CEH is the original standard,” says Albert Whale, president and chief security officer at IT Security, Inc.


Q. Is the CEH necessary to get a job in Ethical Hacking?

A. The CEH is the most well-known certification in Ethical Hacking, but it’s not an absolute requirement. At their most basic, certifications are simply a supplement to real-world experience - without this you will only get so far.

This certification will help you break into the Ethical Hacking profession, but you’re not guaranteed a career. You’ll get great skills and a renowned certification, but you’ll still need experience to back it all up.


Q. What prerequisites do I need to take an EC-Council course?

A. This cert sits in the sweet spot between entry level qualifications like CompTIA’s Security+ and advanced certs like the CISSP.

Before attending a CEH training course you should ideally possess at least two years IT experience, a good knowledge of TCP/IP, Windows Server and a basic familiarity with Linux and/or Unix.


Q. Will I be taught by a real hacker?

A. At EC-Council’s accredited training centres you’ll be trained by experienced security professionals. You won’t be taught by a 17-year-old reformed hacker – EC-Council adheres to a strict code of ethics and employs experienced instructors with a clean reputation.


Q. Isn’t it irresponsible to teach people how to hack?

A. The more we know about how the ‘bad guys’ operate, the more secure our systems, data and networks will be. Whilst the knowledge you’ll gain on a CEH course has the potential to be misused, many would argue this far outweighs the benefits of teaching thousands of IT professionals how to better protect their businesses.

To help highlight responsibility, EC-Council requires all of their students to sign an agreement, agreeing to respect the knowledge and not misuse it. You’ll also be required to agree to abide by all legal laws of the land in the use of your new knowledge and skills.


Q. How is the exam structured?

A. To achieve your CEH v8 certification you’ll need to pass exam 315-50 at a Prometric or Pearson VUE test centre. This exam is a 125 question, multiple choice paper covering the 19 CEH domains. To gain your CEH cert, you’ll need to score at least 70%.

Take a look at EC-Council’s site for more information on your CEH exam.


Q. What is the current version of the CEH certification?

A. Released in 2013, CEH v8 is the current version of the certification and introduced new modules in Social engineering and IPv6. CEH v7 retired on October 31st 2013 – you will no longer be able to take this exam.


Q. Do I have to recertify my CEH?

A. As of January 1st 2009, all EC-Council certifications will be valid for three years. However, to maintain your certification you will be required to achieve 120 credits (per certification) during the three years after you certify.

These credits can be gained in the following ways:

  • Attending conferences
  • Writing research papers
  • Reading material on realated subjects
  • Attending webinars

Qualifying activities must have been completed during the three year window after you achieve your certification.

More information on EC-Council’s recertification policy can be found here.


Q. What is EC-Council Aspen?

A. Aspen is a gateway to portals, products and services provided by EC-Council for its registered members.

As a member you’ll be able to place orders on products and courseware, view your certification(s) continuing education scheme and maintain your certs with EC-Council.

Access Aspen here.

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, 5 March 2015

5 PRINCE2 myths you might still believe


By Sarah Morgan


PRINCE2 is the most popular project management certification in the world, but it’s not immune to misconceptions and myths. It’s crucial that you know the facts – believe the myths and you might miss out on the career boost you need.

How much do you really know about PRINCE2? Here are our top 5 PRINCE2 myths you might still believe:


Myth #1 - You have to write an essay for the PRINCE2 Foundation exam

Timed essays can be a nerve-wracking experience - often feeling like a test of endurance rather than knowledge.

You might be relieved to learn that several years ago the PRINCE2 Foundation dropped its essay style examination in favour of a multiple-choice test. Plus, even if you originally passed the essay style Foundation exam and are attempting a recertification, you will instead take the multiple choice examination.

However, it’s worth noting that the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam is not multiple-choice and instead consists of eight 10 mark questions.

The current PRINCE2 certification exams are structured as follows:

PRINCE2 2009 Foundation Exam
Multiple choice format
60 minutes duration
75 questions
5 trial questions not counted in score
35 of 70 (50%) marks required to pass

PRINCE2 2009 Practitioner Exam
Open-book examination
8 x 10 mark questions
44 of 80 (55%) marks required to pass
2.5 hours


Myth #2 - PRINCE2 is only for professionals in the IT industry

PRINCE2 is not just applicable to the IT industry. The opposite is true: PRINCE2 is a generic project management methodology that can be applied to any project across any industry.

In fact, this adaptable and flexible approach is a major contributor to PRINCE2’s global popularity. With over 1 million exams taken in over 150 countries, a huge number of industries are clearly taking advantage of the PRINCE2 methodology.

The myth that PRINCE2 only applies to IT likely originates from the first use of the methodology. Originally developed as ‘PRINCE’ in the 1980’s to support the UK Government’s IT projects, its potential was soon realised. As a result, in 1996, the generic and adaptable PRINCE2 we know today was introduced.


Myth #3 - PRINCE2 is only useful for project managers looking for a job

You’ll find a large number of project manager job adverts specifying the need for candidates to possess the PRINCE2. The notion that the PRINCE2 certification is just a means of finding employment is held by some of the more cynical.


Yoel / morgueFile

While it is true that the PRINCE2 will help qualify you for project management jobs, this is by no means the only benefit of the certification. The skills you learn from PRINCE2 will improve your projects, save your organisation money and cut project overrun.

Find out about the benefits of PRINCE2 (and how to convince your manager to pay for it!) in this blog post.


Myth #4 - You need a lifetime of project management experience to take a PRINCE2 course

There are no solid prerequisites to attend a course and pass the PRINCE2 Foundation exam. This certification is open to everyone and you don’t need any prior qualifications or real world experience.

Whether you’re a project management professional, or are looking for a change of career, there’s nothing stopping you from getting the PRINCE2 Foundation certification. Though, as you might expect, you must have passed the PRINCE2 Foundation exam to take on the Practitioner.

There’s nothing stopping you from getting both PRINCE2 certifications, but to make the most of your new certs, you’re going to also need some solid project management experience. The PRINCE2 teaches you a method but it doesn’t cover the real world skills you’ll need to become a successful project manager. The best way to get these skills is through experience.


Myth #5 - PRINCE2 takes too much time

PRINCE2 Foundation & Practitioner courses are generally short (4-5 days) and well worth the investment.

However, for some a five day course is simply too much commitment; you might not be in a position to sacrifice an entire working week (and your manager might not appreciate it either!)

There are even faster routes to getting your PRINCE2 certification. With accelerated learning, you could be both Foundation and Practitioner PRINCE2 certified in only three days. Or attend a weekend course and you’ll only be away from the office for one day.


For more information on PRINCE2 take a look at the Axelos website. Or to get PRINCE2 Foundation & Practitioner certified in just three days, visit our site.


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. 

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Sitting a Microsoft exam this year? These changes affect you


By Sarah Morgan


Whether you’re preparing or planning to take a Microsoft exam this year, you need to be aware of these widespread changes.

New exam times

Microsoft is now standardising exam times based on the “type” of exam with the aim of making it easier for students to plan how much time they will need to sit their exam.
The new exam and seat times are below:


Exam time*
Seat time*
MTA exams delivered by Certiport
45 minutes
50 minutes
MTA exams delivered by Pearson VUE
45 minutes
75 minutes
MBS/Dynamics exams
90 minutes
120 minutes
MCSA exams and exams not specified elsewhere
120 minutes
150 minutes
MCSE exams, exams with case studies and upgrade exams
150 minutes
180 minutes
Recertification exams
140 minutes
170 minutes


*Exam time: the amount of time you have to sit the exam

*Seat time: the total amount of time you should allocate for the exam sitting. This includes the time needed to review your instructions, read and sign the NDA, complete the exam questions and provide comments after completion (if you choose to do so).

Big changes for upgrade exams

Across all upgrade exams you will now be able to spend as much time as you want on each component exam, and no time will be lost once a component is completed.

Upgrade exams are formed of several component exams. Before this update, students were given a set amount of time to complete each component. Microsoft initially introduced this to help direct students to spend an equal amount of time on each component. 

For example, the Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows Server 2012 exam is composed of three component exams (70-410, 70-411 and 70-412) and must be completed in 150 minutes. Previously candidates were given a non-negotiable 50 minutes to complete each section and nothing would be gained by finishing one component early.

Candidates are now allowed to use the total 150 minutes as they wish. They could, for example, spend 60 minutes on 70-410, 20 minutes on 70-411 and 60 minutes on 70-412.  

Watch Microsoft’s ACE NewsByte for more information on these changes or take a look at Microsoft’s Born to Learn 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.