Wednesday, 26 April 2017

6 things you need to know about GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is set to come into effect from 25 May 2018. UK businesses need to be ready or face severe consequences.

In November 2016, Tesco Bank fell victim to a cyber attack in which £2.5 million was stolen from the current accounts of 20,000 customers. If the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) finds Tesco failed to comply with measures to keep people’s personal data secure, they could face a fine up to £500,000. Under the new regulations set out in the EU GDPR, the same fine could be set at £1.9 billion.

After May 2018, businesses failing this new strict data protection compliance regime will face severe penalties of up to 4% of worldwide turnover. The GDPR means significant changes for all businesses that use or store the personal data of EU citizens.  
“When it comes to data security, the silent spectre of EU General Data Protection Regulation is slowly kicking organisations into action, and incidents such as this will only accelerate this trend” - Nigel Hawthorn, the Chief European spokesperson at Skyhigh Networks.

In this blog we’ll look at 6 things you need to know about GDPR in order to prepare for its implementation in 2018. 

1.  Understand who GDPR applies to


Regardless of your business’s location, if you’re handling the data of European citizens then GDPR applies to you. Companies across the globe will be held to the exact same security standards.

This gives the European data protection authority the power to take action against any organisation breaching these regulations, regardless of geographic location.

Driven by the huge fines businesses face - if they fail to meet the protection requirements - 70% of businesses are now expected to increase spending to address data protection and sovereignty, according to Ovum

2.  Understand what counts as personal data


GDPR will widen the definition of what constitutes personal data. The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) failed to recognise genetic and biometric information as personal data, while the GDPR does.

Under the EU GDPR, personal data will be defined as:
“Data consisting of racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, or trade union membership, genetic data, biometric data, data concerning health or data concerning a natural person's sex life or sexual orientation”.

This broad definition means almost all customer information now falls under the category of ‘personal data’. Your business must comprehend the significant changes in the incoming regulation, securing any and all data to avoid severe punishment. 


3.  Review your business’s Terms & Conditions


The GDPR regulation introduces new guidelines stressing the need for explicit individual consent before using a citizen’s data. Businesses will need to use simpler language when asking for consent, be clear on how the data will be used and understand that inactivity does not constitute consent. Lengthy and complicated terms and conditions which lack clarity will no longer be tolerated.

EU citizens will also have greater influence over what happens to their data. Including data erasure (commonly known as ‘the right to be forgotten’) and data portability (transmitting data to another controller).

GDPR also introduces the data minimisation principle, requiring organisations not to hold data for any longer than absolutely necessary. This law also prevents businesses from changing the use of data from what it was originally collected for – unless they request permission. 

4.  You’ll need to conduct Privacy Impact Assessments


The GDPR introduces the need for Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs) for any project where privacy breach risks are high.

Your business can no longer begin projects involving personal information, unless a privacy risk assessment has been conducted first. Your business must also work closely with a Data Protection Officer to ensure compliance throughout all projects.

Your organisation must integrate security into the core of all projects, rather than it being a simple consideration.

5. You may need a Data Protection Officer


The EU GDPR removes the notion that regulations should relate to an organisation’s size or the number of employees. 

If your organisation fits any of the three scenarios below – outlined in article 37 -  it’s mandatory that you appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO). The core activities of the organisation involve:

  • the processing of personal data by a public authority
  • “regular and systematic monitoring of data subjects on a large scale”
  • large-scale processing of special data—for example, biometric, genetic, geo-location,

The role of the DPO is to monitor organisational compliance to the regulations and report all and any findings to the highest management level. A study by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) suggests that in 75,000 DPOs will have to be appointed globally in the next two years.

This same study shows that staffing requirements are likely to present a big challenge to organisations that don’t hire or develop the skills quickly.

Firebrand offer the Certified Data Protection Officer certification designed for those with at least two years of experience in data protection. Sitting this 3-day course will build the skills and knowledge required to fulfill the role of DPO to maintain compliance against the EU GDPR.    

6.  Reporting a breach – constant monitoring required


In addition to outlining how your businesses should secure their data, the GDPR also has strict regulations on how your business must respond in the event of a data breach.

This includes the common breach notification requirement, combining all breach notification laws across Europe under one definition, providing clarity on how your business reports a data breach. This notification law “requires organisations to notify the local data protection authority of a data breach within 72 hours of discovering it”.

Considering Yahoo stumbled across one of the largest security breaches in history two years after it occurred, this law forces even the largest organisations to be more proactive in identifying and reporting incidents.  If GDPR applies to your organisation, you’ll need to put in place tools and processes to monitor and create alerts in the event of an incident 24/7/365. 


Time is running out...

You have just 12 months to prepare for the incoming GDPR. As outlined above, there must be significant changes to the way your business collects, handles, secures and shares data in May 2018 and beyond. 

Once these regulations are introduced, your organisation won't get away with a minor fine for mishandling sensitive information. Failure to prepare will lead to severe - inf not business ending - financial consequences. Don't get caught out, start your GDPR readiness journey today.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Firebrand announce the fourth winner of Free Training For Life

Our fourth Free Training For Life competition has finally come to an end. Over 14,000 people entered from 104 countries for a chance to win free access to our entire portfolio of accelerated courses, for life.

We’re now pleased to announce the lucky winner of the 2016/17 Free Training For Life competition!


Say hello to the winner


Firebrand Training is pleased to announce that Jennifer Hamling-Hills, an experienced project coordinator based in the United Kingdom is this year’s Free Training For Life winner.

Jennifer has won this life changing award, gaining unrestricted access to accelerated, world-class training from the industry’s leading vendors including Microsoft, EC-Council, CompTIA, ISACA, Cisco, The Open Group, AXELOS and many more.

Jennifer had this to say about winning this prize worth over £1 million:

“Amazing, unbelievable, I’m still coming down! Learning I had been shortlisted while on holiday in Spain was a bit surreal. Being told the following day was just amazing. I felt completely lifted and excited. Still only just sinking in”.

Firebrand's Co-founder and Commercial Director Robert Chapman presents Jennifer Hamling-Hills with the Free Training For Life prize. 


“All of these skills will make both myself and my CV a more attractive package to prospective recruiters and could boost my earning potential for years to come. I’m 100% focused on my new learning journey”.

Where to begin?


Having worked in project management for over a decade Jennifer has always wanted to get the official credentials to go alongside her wealth of experience.

Jennifer has her target set on the accelerated PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner certification  as her first course. Here, she’ll learn to implement a scalable, process-based approach to project management.

After this Jennifer has expressed interest in the PRINCE2 Agile the BCS International Diploma in Business Analysis certifications. Her long-term aspirations also include gaining a professional Microsoft certification to prove her SharePoint and Office 365 skills.  

Jennifer went on to say: “This for me is the start of something big. I’m raring to go”.

Jennifer’s prize will allow her access to our growing list of 400+ accelerated courses and won’t have to pay a penny for training, exams, course books, food or accommodation. Not to mention, Jennifer can undertake her training in any of Firebrand’s purpose-built centres across Europe and the Middle East.

Join our previous winners

Jennifer joins previous winners Joseph Guthrie, Mario Henkel and Darren Edmondson as the fourth winner of this annual prize.

You can join our previous winners as we’ve just relaunched the Free Training For Life competition for the fifth time!

Enter this year’s FTFL draw here. And, share your referral URL with friends and family to increase your chances. 

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Firebrand Training launch Microsoft Software Tester Apprenticeship with Testhouse

The demand for software testers is increasing but businesses across the UK are failing to get the testing and DevOps skills they need because of a lack of qualified professionals.

In response to this demand, Testhouse, a Microsoft Gold ALM Partner, and Firebrand Training, leaders in accelerated learning, have launched the Microsoft Software Tester Apprenticeship.



The launch of this programme aligns with Microsoft’s National Empowerment activity, which sees over 4,500 young people start a Microsoft-backed apprenticeship across over 2,500 Microsoft Partners and customers this year. This apprenticeship will also be delivered in time for the imminent arrival of the Apprenticeship Levy.

The Microsoft Software Tester apprenticeship is designed to bring new software testers and DevOps specialists into IT, at a time when these professionals are more essential than ever.

Built around the National Apprenticeship Standard for Software Testers, this apprenticeship programme is designed by Firebrand -- a Microsoft Gold Partner -- to align directly with job role demands of employers.

“We can’t wait to get new software testers and DevOps specialists into the industry to fill the digital skills gap and contribute to Microsoft’s target of 30,000 new apprenticeships by 2020” says Stefano Capaldo, Firebrand’s Managing Director.

“Firebrand are already receiving interest from employers for this new apprenticeship. We’re excited to have our first Azure apprentices starting soon.”

Get Microsoft Software Testing skills in your organisation


As apprentices learn how to design and execute tests on business applications and services, students on this programme will develop into software testing and DevOps professionals.

The rapid increase in popularity for Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 has led to a lack of knowledge in the solution’s software testing tools. To meet this demand, apprentices will receive considerable training on this industry-standard platform.

Jim Cowdery, Head of Business Development at Testhouse, says:

“We are very proud to work with both Firebrand and Microsoft to provide much needed skills in the marketplace and offer businesses affordable testing solutions.”

Built by Testhouse and Firebrand, the programme also includes £10,000s worth of government-funded software testing training, including:


Firebrand’s Microsoft Software Tester programme is also fully customisable, so you can tailor it to suit you as an employer.

Plus, apprenticeships are not only for new staff. Savvy organisations can put existing employees on this Microsoft Software Tester Apprenticeship, boosting their testing skills with government-funded training.

Who is Firebrand Training?


Firebrand Training is the fastest way to learn. Firebrand’s apprentices train at twice the speed, getting industry-recognised certifications at an all-inclusive residential training centre. For more information on Firebrand’s unique accelerated learning take a look at the video below:


Since launching in 2001, Firebrand has trained more than 62,000 students and saved a total of 1 million hours. Firebrand Training is also a Microsoft Gold Training Partner and has provided accelerated apprenticeships since 2012.



Get more information on the new Microsoft Software Tester Apprenticeship, including how to access £10,000s of government-funded accelerated training. Or learn more about the Apprenticeship Levy with this this guide.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Firebrand launch new Microsoft Azure Apprenticeship programmes

The use of cloud technology is rapidly increasing but businesses across the UK are failing to progress their cloud projects because of a lack of skilled Azure professionals.

“Today 80% of our customers have already deployed or fully embraced the cloud – by 2020 the idea that a company has ‘no cloud’ would be as rare as a ‘no internet’ policy is today” says Gavriella Schuster, Corporate VP of Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Group.

But despite the rapid uptake of cloud technology, the industry is experiencing a massive skills shortage. Azure skills were the hardest to source, according to a 2016 study of Microsoft Partners from Curotalent.

Microsoft is committed to closing the skills gap with their pledge to create 30,000 new digital apprenticeship roles by 2020. As part of this, and in time for the imminent arrival of the Apprenticeship Levy, Firebrand have launched four new accelerated Azure apprenticeships.

“We’ve developed these accelerated Azure apprenticeships to reflect the knowledge and skills demanded by UK businesses.

“We’re excited to see these apprenticeships shape and develop Azure skills for the next generation of IT professionals" says Stefano Capaldo, Firebrand’s Managing Director.








Built by Firebrand -- in partnership with Microsoft – these new Azure apprenticeships are the first of their kind to align to existing National Apprenticeship standards. Each apprenticeship also includes £10,000s of accelerated Microsoft Azure training and certification.

How to get new Azure skills in your organisation, fast


Four new Azure programmes, built around in-demand job roles and designed by industry trailblazers, are now available to employers and apprentices.


Azure Infrastructure Technician

Azure Infrastructure Technicians learn to support internal and external customers by resolving virtual and on-premise queries. Apprentices will also study virtual machine (VM) administration.

Accelerated training includes:
Apprentices on this programme will develop into your next helpdesk technician, infrastructure technician or Azure network support professional.


Azure Software Developer

Azure Software Developers learn to design, build and test Azure solutions and applications. These apprentices will also learn how to build and host application infrastructure in Azure.

As well as official Microsoft Azure courses, accelerated training includes:
This programme will teach apprentices how to become an Azure mobile/application/systems/web developer.


Azure Cyber Security Technologist

Azure Cyber Security Technologists will use their specialist cloud knowledge to identify cyber threats and risks to organisations and people. Azure Cyber Security Technologists will also specialise in cloud platform and infrastructure security.

As well as official Microsoft Azure courses, accelerated training includes:
Typical job roles for apprentices on this programme include: cloud security architect, cyber operations manager, penetration tester and security engineer.


Azure Network Engineer

Azure Network Engineers focus on virtual networks whilst learning how to design, install and support communications within an organisation. Azure Network Engineers will become experts in network configuration and administration.

As well as official Microsoft Azure courses, accelerated training includes:
Apprentices on this programme will develop into network technicians, network administrators and systems engineers.


Are you planning for the Apprenticeship Levy yet?


With the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in April 2017, all businesses in the UK are now hugely incentivised to hire apprentices.

The Levy will change the way apprenticeships are funded. Here are three things employers need to know:
  1. Employers with a UK wage bill of over £3 million will pay the monthly levy
  2. Levy payments will be 0.5% of their annual pay bill
  3. Employers will control payments in a digital account where funds can be spent on apprenticeship training
  4. Non-levied employers will only pay 10% of the cost of apprenticeships, government will pay the remainder
Use your Levy on Azure apprenticeships, close your cloud skills gap, and move ahead with your Azure projects. Find out how you can hire and train Azure apprentices at little-to-no-cost right now.

Friday, 10 February 2017

EC-Council launch Certified Hacking Forensics Investigator (CHFI) v9 Update

As businesses wake up to the growing and imminent threat of cyber crime, cyber security is a top priority, now more than ever.

In 2004, the global cyber security market was worth just $3.5 billion. But, by 2020 it will be worth a staggering $120 billion according to Wired.

Because of the new and innovative ways businesses are experiencing hack attacks, it’s important that both security and response measures remain up-to-date.

EC-Council’s recent update to the Certified Hacking Forensics Investigator (CHFI) is a prime example of the security industry looking to keep your knowledge current and up-to-date on the latest techniques.

What to do after the worst happened?


The CHFI certification validates your skills in conducting a digital forensics investigation. From understanding which scripts to run in the all important moments following a breach to piecing together clues to catch a trespasser, digital forensics is your first response. 

Digital forensics detectives draw on a wide range of investigation and analysis techniques to identify an intruder's virtual footprints, in the hope of gathering potential legal evidence. 

Put into context, CHFIs are effectively virtual detectives. Just like you’d want an investigator on the case if jewellery was stolen from your home, you’ll want a CHFI if you’re the victim of a cyber breach.  The only difference is, even the most expensive pieces of jewellery can’t compare to the millions it can cost if you’re hacked.

The CHFI course covers major forensic investigation scenarios and presents a methodological approach to forensics. You'll cover searching and seizing, chain-of-custody, acquisition, preservation and analysis and reporting of digital evidence. 
   
There’s always an opportunity for a hacker to penetrate your system. When your organisation is hit by a cyber breach, the real issue is how you respond to the attack.

What are the new updates?


The new CHFI version 9 update has a number of key changes.

Firstly, this update introduces new content. You’ll dive into the latest forensics examination techniques, with new operating systems including Linux and MAC Forensics. In the previous version (v8), only Windows forensics was addressed. 

Furthermore, a host of new modules have been added to this course to reflect industry developments. The three modules added are database, cloud and malware forensics. With UK businesses at a cloud adoption rate of 84% and with 54% being hit by ransomware attacks, it's easy to see why these modules have been added.  

EC-Council have also added more than 40% new, hands-on labs to the program. These descriptive and analytical labs are well tested and results oriented. Even with these new labs however, EC-Council have in fact reduced the total number of labs and modules. From 22 modules, 42 labs and 2400 slides, they've now got 14 modules, 39 labs and only 1222 slidesThis change seeks to make the information more concise and digestible, whilst still covering all of the key areas in the same depth. 

 

Why is it essential to your cyber security in 2017?


In a world where 90% of all criminal cases have at least one form of electronic evidence (The Guardian), the importance of being able to conduct a digital forensics investigation is growing rapidly.

Furthermore, the digital forensics market is expected to grow around 15% globally from 2015 to 2020 as businesses quickly realise the importance of cyber forensics. 

Learn how to protect against a cyber attack, fast


Achieve the CHFI certification in just 5 days with Firebrand Training, or check out the extensive cyber security portfolio we have to offer. 

Here's what others thought about the CHFI course: 




   

Monday, 16 January 2017

The 5 cyber security statistics you need to know in 2017

‘Cybercrime is the greatest threat to every company in the world’ says IBM’s CEO, Ginni Rometty. If you’re already working on boosting your security – or haven’t started yet – now’s the time. Here’s five reasons why…


1. Cybercrime cost to hit £2.41 trillion a year - Juniper Research


Cybercrime is expensive. Get hit and you’ll feel it in your profits. For example, a successful DDoS attack will force your systems offline and can cost you upwards of £100,000 every hour. 2016 reported a 22% increase in cybercrime and it certainly didn’t go unnoticed in the media. Big names like Yahoo, TalkTalk, Tesco, Netflix, Sony and even the presidential election were victim to cyber-attacks.

Get EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker certification to help defend against attacks.


2. Cyber security spending to exceed £815 billion by 2021 - CSO Online


Businesses continue to realise the need to spend more on cyber security products, like software and training. In 2016, over £6.5bn was spent worldwide on information security (Gartner).

Despite this growing demand for training, a 2016 government report highlights that there’s still much to be done for businesses. With just under a fifth of businesses ensuring their staff take part in cyber security training in 2016, staff and the general public are still too unaware of their responsibilities in this regard.  

3. Unfilled cyber security jobs to reach 1.5 million by 2020 - (ISC)² 


There’s a severe shortage of qualified cyber security professionals. What’s more, the average salary for a CISSP certified professional is now £62,500.

The effect of this shortage means businesses are struggling to implement the security measures needed. A recent study by Cybersecurity Ventures of over 1,000 IT Professionals globally found that IT security managers reported significant obstacles in implementing desired security projects due to lack of expertise (34.5%) and inadequate staffing (26.4%).


4. Four billion people online by 2020 (Microsoft)


Double the current number of people will be online by 2020. As 91% of attacks begin with email phishing (Mimecast), the potential exploitation for hackers here is massive. Avoid social engineering attacks by educating your employees on information security.

More worrying statistics concerning the growing number of employees online and with access to sensitive data, came from AXELOS. They found that 75% of large organisations and nearly a third of small organisations suffered staff-related security breaches in 2015 and 50% of the worst breaches of the same year were caused by human error.   

A simple and cost-effective way to test your employees cyber security knowledge is through EC-Council’s Certified Secure Computer User (CSCU) test. This will help benchmark the cyber security awareness and competence of your workforce.


5. 200 billion IoT devices will need securing by 2020 (Intel)


More internet connected devices – from thermostats to fridges - in the hands of the public means more opportunities for hackers to infiltrate home networks.

Take a look at the recent hack of the DNS provider Dyn, which brought down major organisations, as a result of an army of 100,000 IoT devices being hacked. Dyn Vice President Scott Hilton stated that the compromised devices had been hit with the notorious Mirai malware that scans for IoT devices that are still using their default passwords. It then enslaves those devices to a botnet army, which was used to force Dyn offline.

As technology develops and individuals and businesses increasingly adopt these novel technologies, the phrase, “with great power, comes great responsibility” has never rung truer. 

Are you prepared for the next cyber-attack?  

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

24 Microsoft exams retiring in 2017

It's been a busy 2016 for Microsoft, a major certification restructure was announced in September, which will see the retirement of all 13 existing MCSD and MCSE certifications on March 31st 2017.

These were replaced with a streamlined set of 5 certifications aligned to the latest job roles and the removal of recertification. Despite this huge shake up, built on by a new technology launch across every core Microsoft platform, the number of exam retirements is surprisingly light.

The reason, exams and curriculum aligned to the retiring MCSE and MCSD certifications are simply being reshuffled under the new certifications as electives. With that in mind, let's take a look at the changes.


Dynamics

With the launch of Dynamics 365, combining the existing CRM and ERP platforms, it is unsurprising that we see a range of retirements affecting CRM 2013 and AX 2012.

Retired on December 31, 2016
MB2-700: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Applications
MB2-701: Extending Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013
MB2-702: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Deployment
MB2-703: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Customization and Configuration
MB5-705: Managing Microsoft Dynamics Implementations
MB6-700: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 Project
MB6-702: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Financials
MB6-703: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Trade and Logistics
MB6-704: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 CU8 Development Introduction
MB6-884: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Lean Manufacturing
MB6-885: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Public Sector
MB6-886: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Process Manufacturing Production and Logistics
MB6-889: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Service Management

Retiring on March 31, 2017         
MB6-701: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Retail
MB6-705: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 CU8 Installation and Configuration


SharePoint

Despite the launch of SharePoint Server 2016, there are currently no plans to retire exams aligned to SharePoint 2013. The only retirements associated with platform are in the form of recertification exams for the MCSE and MCSD certifications, which are no longer a requirement.

Retiring on March 31, 2017
70-383: Recertification for MCSE: SharePoint
70-384: Recertification for MCSE: Communication
70-385: Recertification for MCSE: Messaging
70-517: Recertification for MCSD: SharePoint Applications


SQL Server

As with SharePoint, we see only the planned retirement of recertification exams. Despite the existence of SQL Server 2014 and the arrival of SQL Server 2016, there are still no plans to retire exams aligned to SQL Server 2012 and the associated MCSA.

Retiring on March 31, 2017
70-469: Recertification for MCSE: Data Platform
70-470: Recertification for MCSE: Business Intelligence


Visual Studio and .NET

The most interesting exam retirements planned for Visual Studio are 70-354 and 70-355, which align to the Universal Windows Platform. These will coincide with the retirement of the MCSD: Universal Windows Platform.

In place of these exams comes 70-357: Developing Mobile Apps, which forms the second requirement for the new MCSA: Universal Windows Platform.

Retiring on March 31, 2017
70-354: Universal Windows Platform – App Architecture and UX/UI
70-355: Universal Windows Platform – App Data, Services, and Coding Patterns
70-490: Recertification for MCSD: Windows Store Apps Using HTML5
70-491: Recertification for MCSD: Windows Store Apps Using C#
70-494: Recertification for MCSD: Web Applications
70-499: Recertification for MCSD: Application Lifecycle Management

Retiring on July 31, 2017
70-488: Developing SharePoint Server 2013 Core Solutions
70-489: Developing SharePoint Server 2013 Advanced Solutions


Windows

With a rather quiet exit, the MCSA: Windows 8.1 retired on December 31, with the removal of exams 70-687 and 70-688.

Retired on December 31, 2016
70-687: Configuring Windows 8.1
70-688: Supporting Windows 8.1
70-689: Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows 8
70-692: Upgrading Your Windows XP Skills to MCSA Windows 8


Windows Server

Despite being almost 8 years old, numerous planned and failed retirements, MCSA: Windows Server 2008 is finally set for legacy status. The retirement of aligned exams 70-640, 70-642 and 70-646 is scheduled for July 31, 2017.

Retiring on March 31, 2017
70-980: Recertification for MCSE: Server Infrastructure
70-981: Recertification for MCSE: Private Cloud

Retiring on July 31, 2017
70-640: TS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring
70-642: TS: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure, Configuring
70-646: Pro: Windows Server 2008, Server Administrator


Other

Retiring on January 31, 2017
74-697: OEM Preinstallation

Retiring on March 31, 2017
70-673: TS: Designing, Assessing, and Optimizing Software Asset Management (SAM)

Retiring on July 31, 2017
70-243: Administering and Deploying System Center 2012 Configuration Manager

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Top 10 IT Certifications of 2017


With 2017 fast approaching we've listed our Top 10 certifications that we believe will best equip you in the new year. We've included certifications that range across various technologies and develop different skills such as security, networking, project management and cloud. Let us know in the comments what you think of our list. 

1. (ISC)2 CISSP

A recent report from recruitment firm Robert Half found that 77% of UK Chief Information Officers (CIO) believe that “they will face more security threats in the next five years because of a shortage of IT security talent”.

(ISC)2’s CISSP certification is a gold standard for IT professionals in high managerial and technical security roles. This certification proves deep competence, skills, experience and credibility to design, engineer, implement and manage their overall information security program.

The Information Commissioner’s Office recently identified that cyber security breaches increased 88% since the beginning of 2015. So, it’s unsurprising businesses are looking to bolster their security policies and defence by employing those certified at the highest level. As a result, we’re positive that CISSP will continue to be an excellent route to reach the top security roles in this industry.




2. EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)


EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker
certification prepares you to identify weaknesses or vulnerabilities within a business’ network. The difference is that rather than exploit these security gaps, you use these skills to protect a business and patch any potential exposures.

EC-Council have dedicated thousands of man hours into researching the latest trends and uncovering the covert techniques used by the underground community to come up with the latest Version 9 exam and curriculum.

It’s no doubt this certification will continue to gain popularity in the IT industry, and recent large scale hacks with the likes of Yahoo, Tesco, Netflix, Reddit and TalkTalk proves the need for increased cyber security skills.

3. Cisco CCNA (Routing and Switching)

Cisco’s CCNA (Routing and Switching) certification teaches you the skills for network support positions and is the starting point for many successful careers in networking.

The skills shortage the UK are currently in the midst of means that demand for professionals with a certification in networking will continue to grow. A Cisco report found that in 2015 there was shortage of 1.2 million professionals skilled in IP networking – with the number expected to grow in the coming years.

This certification acts as a solid foundation to any networking career, so it’s certainly one to target in 2017!

4. The Open Group TOGAF 9.1 Certification

Thousands of companies now use The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) and as a result the demand for those certified and familiar with the TOGAF framework has continued to grow throughout 2016.

This certification dives into four Enterprise Architecture areas:
  • Business – processes, design and optimisation
  • Applications - creating strategic architectures
  • Infrastructure - networks, hardware, security, server locations, operating systems and capacity
  • Data – placement, requirements, maintenance and reporting

The trend of more businesses adopting Enterprise Architecture skills like those in TOGAF mean this certification can propel almost any career in the IT industry. Skills and knowledge in the Architecture Development Method (ADM), The Enterprise Continuum and the TOGAF Resource Base can help you get a better return from your IT operations, helping things run faster, cheaper and reducing risk. 

5. Microsoft MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure

One of Microsoft’s latest certification additions is this MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, which develops your expertise in Microsoft’s cloud-related technologies and managing a modern data centre.

With a wide range of electives to choose from to get this certification, it’s one that will unquestionably be held by a knowledgeable, expert group of professionals.
Microsoft’s recent drive in Azure computing, with an investment of $3 billion in Europe data centres, means the Azure route will likely be one that experiences high levels of interest. Similarly, the need to offer greater security to business networks means the Securing Windows Server route may be equally popular in 2017.

Microsoft recently streamlined their technical certifications, so if you aren’t already familiar with the changes, check them out here



6. EC-Council's Certified Network Defender

Launched this year, the Certified Network Defender certification is expected to follow the CEH in becoming one of EC-Council’s most demanded products.

Developing skills in network security controls, protocols and devices, risk and vulnerability assessments and choosing appropriate firewall solutions, you’ll act as the first responder to any network security incidents.

As business environments increasingly adopt Cloud technologies and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) becomes commonplace, businesses need to improve their network security. First responders are crucial in this respect and have the potential to significantly mitigate damages following a security breach.

This certification comfortably makes the Top 10 list and should definitely be a cert you keep your eyes on!  

7. Microsoft MCSA: Windows Server 2016

Another one of Microsoft’s new certifications is the MCSA: Windows Server 2016, which develops the fundamental skills needed to develop and manage your Windows Server environment.

Windows Server is a robust technology that consistently experiences steady demand and is highly valued within the IT industry.  

This certification is an excellent place to learn the skills to install, upgrade and migrate servers, configure Nano Servers and manage advanced AD DS infrastructure.

This certification is also a stepping stone to the MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, which this certification acts as a prerequisite for. 

8. AXELOS PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner 

The PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner certification is one that covers the basic methodology and terminology of PRINCE2. 2016 saw an increased demand in project managers due to the growing scale and complexity of projects being undertaken today. Demand is so large that it’s expected 15.7 million new project managers will be needed across the globe by 2020.

The skills you’ll learn ensure projects have a common and consistent approach, regular reviews or progress against plans and the assurance that projects must have a business justification.  

This certification is also increasingly demanded because of its relevance across industries. Unlike many technical certifications it can be applied across the board, and therefore makes those who hold it, that much more employable.

Firebrand is the only provider to offer both the foundation and practitioner course in just three days and we’ve currently certified over 1,500 students. 

9. Microsoft MCSD: App Builder

Learn to create and implement modern web applications as well as develop the skills to build a modern mobile and web applications service with the new MCSD: App Builder certification.

A study by Gartner found that the market demand for mobile app development will grow at least five times faster than internal IT organisations’ capacity to deliver them.

The MCSD: App Builder is the top certification in developing the skills to design and implement application architecture, security and user experience, and we’re confident it will skyrocket in 2017. 

10. CompTIA Security+

CompTIA’s Security+ certification develops the skills to troubleshoot security events and incidents and operate within applicable policies, laws and regulations.

This certification is vendor-neutral and is developed with the input from industry, government, academia and front-line practitioners. This means you can be sure it’s content reflects the current needs of the industry and it's also largely why this certification will almost certainly continue to perform outstandingly in 2017.

Some of the key topics covered include network security, threats and vulnerabilities and application, data and host security.

Firebrand is a CompTIA platinum partner so you’ll benefit from the highest level instructors and the most up-to-date curriculum. 




Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Get the New Microsoft Certifications for 2017

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Microsoft recently announced significant changes to their technical certifications. In short, Microsoft streamlined certification pathways, launched a range of new Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) and Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) certifications, retired 13 existing certifications and restructured the way you certify and re-earn certifications.

In a recent blog post we outlined these changes, covering what’s new, what’s retiring, how you can achieve these new certifications and the process of re-earning your certs.

Today, we’re excited to announce your fastest route to earning these new MCSE and MCSD certifications, whilst helping you master the latest Microsoft technologies ready for 2017. Read on to discover the accelerated route that’s right for you.

Your fastest route to new Microsoft Certifications


MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure

MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure This certification validates the skills necessary to run a highly efficient and modern data centre.

You have two distinctly different accelerated pathways to earn your MCSE Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification. 


Azure Cloud Platform - On this route you will master Azure across infrastructure and development. You’ll also learn to architect Azure solutions for the modern Enterprise organisation.

This course is 50% faster than traditional training and you will leave both MCSA: Cloud Platform and MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certified in just 7 days. 

 Windows Server 2016- this pathway will focus you on learning the skills aligned to the Installation, Storage, Compute, Networking and Identity in Windows Server 2016. You will then focus on developing the skills to Secure Windows Server 2016, critical in a world full of cyber threats. 

This 15 day route is 25% faster than traditional training, during which you will work to achieve both the MCSA: Windows Server 2016 and MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure. 


MCSE: ProductivityThis credential validates your skills to move your company to the cloud, increase user productivity and flexibility, reduce data loss, and improve data security for your organisation.

You’ll quickly learn the skills to transition your businesses’ communications to the cloud. First you'll master Office 365 and earn the corresponding MCSA , before tailoring your route to the MCSE: Productivity certification, choosing to develop skills aligned to one of the following three technology platforms:

Exchange Server 2016 - on this 11 day route, you’ll learn the skills to design and implement an Exchange Server 2016 messaging environment – 45% faster than traditional training. In working with the technology, you’ll touch on key proficiencies, including how to design and configure advanced components in an Exchange Server 2016 deployment. You'll cover advanced topics covering compliance, archiving, advanced security and discovery solutions. 

SharePoint Server 2016 - this 11 day accelerated route focuses on developing your skills in designing SharePoint infrastructure as well as planning authentication and security, managing search capabilities and monitoring and optimising a SharePoint Server 2016 environment. 

Skype for Business 2015 - here, you have the choice to focus on Deploying Enterprise Voice with Skype for Business 2015 or Core Solutions of Microsoft Skype for Business 2015. Both offer a 9 day route to MCSE Productivity which is 50% faster than traditional training.




MCSE: MobilityEarning this credential demonstrates you have the skills needed to manage devices in today’s bring-your-own-device (BYOD) enterprise. 

First, you'll unlock the skills aligned to the MCSA Windows 10 platform and accelerate your 9 day path to achieving the MCSE: Mobility certification. Choose to develop your skills for Enterprise scale businesses across device management, deployment or administration.

Deploying Windows Desktops and Enterprise Applications - on this route you’ll develop the skills to assess operating system and applicant deployment options, determine the most appropriate deployment strategy and implement a deployment solution for Windows devices and apps that meet your environment's needs.

System Center Configuration Manager and Intune - here you will learn the skills to configure and manage clients and devices by using Microsoft System Center v1511 Configuration Manager, Microsoft Intune and their associated site systems.

 Planning for and Managing Devices in the Enterprise - learn the skills to use Enteprise Mobility Suite to manage Windows 10 devices, users and data. You will expand your knowledge and skills helping you to plan, deploy, and manage devices and applications in medium to large organisations.

Whichever route you choose, you’ll achieve your MCSA Office 365 and MCSE Mobility certification 50% faster with Firebrand, qualifying you for roles including cloud administrator, cloud architect, computer support specialist and information security analyst.


MCSE: Data Management and AnalyticsThe MCSA DMA certification will validate your broad skill sets in SQL administration, building enterprise-scale data solutions, and leveraging business intelligence data—both on-premises and in cloud environments.

Choose your fastest way to master the new SQL Server 2016 platform and tailor your route to MCSE with a choice of developing skills across Business Intelligence, Database Development or Database Administration.

Depending on the MCSE elective you’ve chosen you can further advance your skills in your chosen area in just 8 days. 



MCSD: App BuilderEarning the MCSD App Builder validates that you have the skills needed to build modern mobile and/or web applications and services.

With Firebrand, you'll learn to create and implement web applications that scale using the Azure cloud platform to achieve the MCSA: Web Applications certification and MCSD: App Builder.

Your chosen elective will be Developing Windows Azure and Web Services. You’ll learn how to design and develop services that access local and remote data from various sources. You’ll also get an insight into developing and deploying services to hybrid environments, including on-premises services and Windows Azure. 

This 9 day track is the fastest and most popular route to achieving the MCSD App Builder credential.

Why get Certified with Firebrand Training?


As Microsoft Gold Learning Partners and leaders in accelerated training, we not only offer you the fastest route to your MCSE and MCSD certifications, but we can ensure you’ll have the latest Microsoft Official Curriculum (MOC) and receive excellent training from our experienced Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCT).

Our unique Lecture | Lab | Review technique combines both theoretical and practical exercises to accelerate your learning and develop the hands-on skills required for when you return to work.

You’ll also take all of your exams on-site during the course, which will be covered by your Certification Guarantee.

If you have any other questions about the new streamlined certification paths, you may want to check out this Microsoft blog with the top 12 questions about the new cert changes. Or, if you’re more of a visual learner, the video below discusses the new changes and why they were made with the Director of Microsoft Learning, Shelby Grieve.