Tuesday, 24 November 2015

10 tips to pass Microsoft’s MCSA 70-410 exam

Microsoft’s 70-410 exam entitled, Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012, is exam one of three in the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 certification. It measures your skills in installing and configuring fundamentals within Windows Server 2012 including features like Hyper-V, core network services, Active Directory and Group Policy.

Passing this exam is a requirement to achieve your MCSA: Windows Server 2012, and proves you have the fundamental skills to configure a Windows Server 2012 environment. After learning these essentials, you’ll be able to move onto exam 70-411: Administering Windows Server 2012 and exam 70-412: Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services.

We’ve conducted some research into what guidance there is available to you when preparing for your exam. Below is the list we’ve compiled of the 10 most useful tips that will help you pass your Microsoft exam 70-410.

1. Use the Microsoft Virtual Academy

Microsoft’s Virtual Academy is a learning resource directly from Microsoft themselves. It’s dedicated to providing free online training and help to those interested in Microsoft technology. It contains a whole host of videos, presentations and other information on a huge number of Microsoft technologies. As well as providing you information about the course and what you’ll face in its exams, there are videos within many topics that are easy to absorb and re-watchable whenever you need.

For Windows Server 2012 and your 70-410 exam, there are plenty of articles that you can use to improve your knowledge. The Windows Server 2012 Essentials  and Installing an Configuring Windows Server 2012 video are particularly useful for the 70-410 exam.
The content in Microsoft Virtual Academy is brilliantly useful alongside revision or as a starting point for your learning.  

The content in Microsoft Virtual Academy is brilliantly useful alongside revision or as a starting point for your learning.  

2. Use a revision guide

Revision guides can help you structure your revision in a way that best suits your learning style. They point you to areas to focus on, as well as comprehensively covering the content that could come up in your exam. Use these to help reinforce your learning and cover areas you may have missed along the way. You can also study at your own pace, adjustable depending on when your exam date is.

Exam Ref 70-410: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012” by Craig Zacker is the official Microsoft study guide. It’s a fantastic resource to develop and hone existing skills, whilst looking at the different scenarios they can be applied to. It also organises content by exam objectives and covers each section of the exam thoroughly. You can learn how to apply Windows Server 2012 in your business. 

You can find it on Amazon here. The ISBN is 978-0735673168.
Another great book to use for revision is William Panek’s MCSA Windows Server 2012 R2 Complete Study Guide: Exams 70-410, 70-411, 70-412. Panek, one of Microsoft’s MVPs, writes about four exams in this guide, but starts with the 70-410 exam. It covers all exam objectives thoroughly and also has labs and online tools to accompany its explanations. It’s also useful when you move on to take the exam 70-411: Administering Windows Server 2012 and exam 70-412: Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services.

You can find it on Amazon here and the ISBN is 978-1118859919.

3. Join a forum

Joining a community to help prepare for an exam can be a great way to mix with like-minded people and share experiences. You can bounce ideas off others, gain insight from those who’ve passed the exam and share knowledge and resources to help studying.

The TechNet forums are useful for guidance and information whether you’re sitting an exam or just looking for help with a specific technical problem you’re having. There’s a broad range of topics too. It’s growing all the time and chances are, someone has already answered the question you’re about to ask.

For your 70-410 exam, there’re articles specifically created to help and articles on all aspects of Windows Server 2012 to give you information on an area you might be struggling with.
Here’s a link to the Windows Server 2012 section. It contains a thread on Windows Server 2012 essentials which is helpful for the fundamentals in the 70-410 exam and is a good place to start your exploration. Plus here’s a thread specifically on 70-410 exam preparation.

4. Take a practice test

Practice tests are great to get you used to the exam format, and prepare you for the sorts of questions and topics you’ll face in the real thing. It’s also a great way to benchmark your learning; identifying gaps in knowledge to work on.

Measure-up is a brilliant resource for practice tests helping you prepare for many exams. They are the provider of official Microsoft practice tests. This includes the 70-410 practice exam which offers 175 exam questions, thorough and enlightening explanations and exam answers. Not to mention up to date R2 material. Best of all, the 70-410 exam questions are aligned to the Microsoft Official Curriculum. You can download this here for £70 or get 30 day or 60 days access options, priced at £57 and £64 respectively.

Measure-up’s practice tests are well-respected and are a great option for some meaty and worthwhile revision.

5. Take a course

There is no substitute to immersing yourself in a training course and learning from experts. You sit in a classroom free from distraction, with others who are focused on passing the same exam. You benefit from hands-on experience with insight and supervision from instructors.

Firebrand offer a 9 day accelerated Microsoft MCSA: Windows Server 2012 R2 course. This covers all three exams.

Combine a course with some of the other revision resources and tips to improve your chances of passing Microsoft’s 70-410 exam and getting MCSA: Windows Sever 2012 R2 certified.

6. Avoid brain dumps

You should avoid brain dumps at all cost. These are illegal in the context of taking exams. Not to mention any 70-410 brain dumps will be ineffective at giving you the skills and knowledge you need to pass your exam and to use Microsoft Windows Server 2012 in real-world situations. If you’re found to be using one when studying for, or sitting the 70-410 exam, you will be immediately disqualified.

7. Download a trial version of the software

A great way to prepare for the exam is to get hands-on with the software. You can download a trial version of the Windows Server 2012 R2 here. You’ll have 180 days to learn the ins and outs of the software, getting invaluable experience of all the features. Tailor this experience around the 70-410 exam and you’ll be able to learn and revise practically, gaining experience for when you’re certified and using the software for real.

To help your revision, use the exam objectives as a guide for your practical learning.

8. Join a study group

Joining a study group is another great way to connect with like-minded people who are focusing on the same goal as you. Study groups are designed to help you and others share study tips and experiences about your exam. It’s also a great way to stay motivated.

Born to Learn is a training and certification community that share and discuss certification news and articles.

Under the “Wiki” tab of this site, you can find a comprehensive list of resources for 70-410, breaking down every topic the exam covers. The site also contains a specific study group for the Microsoft exam 70-410 with many questions others have had about parts of the exam, and a forum for discussion.

Accompany this with a detailed revision guide and you’ve got almost everything you need to know about what you’ll face in the 70-410 exam and how best to attack it.

9. Do some practice labs

Practice labs are another great way to get hands on with Windows Server 2012 in a safe environment using guided learning. So, if you’re less experienced at using the software, you can gain hands-on experience without causing any issues that you’re not yet experienced enough to fix!

Building on Measure-up’s practice tests, there are a series of practice labs for Windows Server 2012 aligned to the 70-410 exam. The best part, it’ll lead you through tasks aligned to the 70-410 exam objectives. You’ll get great practical experience that is relevant to the real world and will help you pass the exam. You can find the Measure-up practice lab here.

It's also worth heading over to the TechNet virtual labs, the site packs in 31 different labs aligned to Windows Server 2012. There is a virtual lab specifically dedicated to  Configuring and Managing Servers, best of all, they are all free.

Check out VLabs

10. Download a study app

There are plenty of apps out there that can help you study for exams. Whilst these should not be solely relied upon when revising, they can be useful tools to suit a specific need and are helpful for studying on the go. Below are some of the best, along with their best features.

  • Transcender
    • On this, you’re able to customise your experience and practice questions in a way that is most helpful, or you can choose a pre-set that mimics the 70-410 exam.
  • uCertify
    • It contains a huge range of practice questions and also includes a chapter by chapter study guide to use as you go.
  • Pass-Guranteed
    • It has a vast amount of customisation options meaning you can change the types of questions and how they are arranged and displayed, so you’re not facing the same questions each time you practice.
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. 

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Firebrand awarded Gold Accredited Learning Provider status by Learning & Performance Institute

 By Sarah Morgan

We are delighted to announce that Firebrand has been awarded the status of Gold Accredited Learning Provider by the Learning & Performance Institute. This is the 11th year running that Firebrand has achieved the Gold level accreditation.

Accreditation from the Learning & Performance Institute is seen as the leading standard to recognise outstanding organisations within the training and learning industry. Firebrand were awarded this accreditation for continued commitment to high quality and process improvement in the provision of learning, development and training services to clients.

The assessment criteria for accreditation measures an organisation’s performance in the areas of:

Business integrity
Learning and development performance
Learning and development staff
Pre-learning activities and outputs
The blend of learning
Post intervention and ongoing learning support

Achieving the gold standard overall, recognises Firebrand at the elite level across the board in these areas. With this, Firebrand remains in an exclusive list of just 89 providers accredited by the Learning & Performance Institute.

Firebrand Training’s UK Managing Director, Emma Seaman said:

“The LPI accreditation is particularly rewarding for Firebrand because it is vendor neutral and because of the continuous improvement LPI demands of accreditation candidates. It is another fantastic reward and achievement for all the hard work maintaining the highest standard of training that Firebrand’s delegates deserve. We’re extremely proud of everyone for keeping up the fantastic work.”

This is the third achievement in as many months for Firebrand, having won the Accredited Training Centre of the Year award at the EC-Council global awards and Firebrand Training Nordics was named Microsoft Learning Partner of the Year

This award endorses the high standard in which Firebrand’s vast portfolio of 200+ accelerated courses are delivered. This includes courses from Microsoft, Cisco, CompTIA and Linux, as well as security courses from (ISC)2 and EC-Council and project management courses from APMG and PMI.

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 November 2015

Firebrand Training Nordics named Microsoft Learning Partner of the Year 2015

We are delighted to announce the Nordic division of Firebrand Training has been named Microsoft Learning Partner of the Year for the fifth time.

Criteria for the award includes customer satisfaction, growth and skills development. This award is testament to the continued commitment and success of Firebrand Training Nordics and reflects a company ethos for advancement through education. 

Firebrand continues to provide new and innovative products including the Firebrand Academy and our expanded Microsoft cloud portfolio that includes Office365 and Azure.

Frank Højgaard, CEO of Firebrand Training Nordics, said of the award:

"I'm very proud and happy to receive the award on behalf of our great team at Firebrand Training. I am very proud of our employees who have provided the best and most innovative training and certification products on the market. We are also very happy to receive recognition of the Firebrand Academy, which we launched last year and has already made a real difference by adding new and skilled employees needed in the IT industry."

Firebrand Training Nordics CEO, Frank Højgaard (left) with
our Global Head of Sales, Jacob Davidsen (right)
Through the Firebrand Academy, we have created a solution to recruit and qualify young academics for IT careers using our unique accelerated learning concept. Since the launch of Firebrand Academy in the Nordics a year ago, we have made a difference to a wide range of partners such as EG:

Tina Bodin - EG A / S says: 

"When we combine teams of young people with our skilled senior consultants, we see new knowledge arise. Together, the two profiles create something unique and therefore sees senior consultants gain an advantage by working with the young graduates on projects. In order to create profitable growth and deliver excellence to our customers, we as a company need both profiles. "

Discover our 200+ accelerated courses and certifications or find out more about Firebrand Academy via the website.  

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 5 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.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

The 5 hottest IT jobs and how to get them with Free Training For Life

 By Sarah Morgan

Firebrand’s Free Training For Life competition offers you the chance to win accelerated training completely free, for the rest of your life. There are no restrictions. This means you can choose from Firebrand’s portfolio of 200+ accelerated courses, which includes names like Microsoft, Cisco, CompTIA and (ISC)2.

Winning Free Training For Life has the potential to help you get your dream job, so we’ve mapped out the five hottest jobs right now and selected the certifications you need to secure them.

1. Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)

Security is one of the hottest topics out there at the moment, partly due to the staggering amount of high-profile cyber-attacks that have cost names like, EBay, Sony and most recently TalkTalk, millions. Chief Information Security Officer is one of the top jobs in the field. The average advertised salary is £110,000 according to itjobswatch.co.uk and they are now in high demand. CISOs are responsible for developing and implementing security policies and the company’s security architecture.

To get on the path to becoming a Chief Information Security Officer, you could start with the CompTIA A+ or Network+. The A+ and Network+ will teach you the fundamentals in PC hardware, security and networking that will be highly useful in the future.

(ISC)2’s SSCP is also a great value certification that you can do after a year’s IT security experience. This will begin to teach you advanced skills like cryptography, risk, response and recovery, and dealing with malicious code. This will put you in a great position to become a CISO in the future.

3-5 years into your career, ISACA’s CISA would be perfect to give you IS audit and control skills to ensure the business’s security procedures can protect its information assets. You could follow up with the CISM to get skills like risk and incident management and program development. This will help you move into information security management, and eventually the CISO role.

Many see (ISC)2’s CISSP as the best IT security certification you can aim for, and it will certainly help you get into a CISO role. The CISSP will help you master both the management and technical aspects of the field, giving you security engineering, communication and network security skills. There are also extensions to the CISSP that offer in-depth skills if you have a specific need for them. The CISSP-ISSAP includes further detail in areas like access control systems and security architecture analysis. Also, the CISSP-ISSEP can teach you further skills in technical management and risk management. These can help you master your CISO role.

2. Cloud Infrastructure Architect

The cloud technology market is growing rapidly. Because of this, demand for IT professionals with cloud skills has never been higher. Cloud Infrastructure Architect is one of the most sought after positions. The role involves migrating and integrating applications to the cloud, and managing cloud servers. The average advertised salary according to itjobswatch.co.uk is £70,000.

Typically, a business will use one established cloud provider which could restrict the training you’ll need. The restriction-less Free Training For Life however, would give you access to the wide range of cloud certifications, like the following, that teach you the skills to become a Cloud Infrastructure Architect.

The Microsoft Specialist: Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions certification would give you the skills to migrate existing on-premises infrastructure to Azure. You’d also learn to manage the systems in the future.

The Microsoft MCSA: Windows Server 2012 R2 certification will give you the skills to manage and deploy Windows Server 2012 and components like active directory domain services and AD FS. It also offers cloud skills that will help you become a Cloud Infrastructure Architect. This is because the system includes cloud technology and is so widely used.

The Microsoft MCSE: Private Cloud will teach you how to build your Microsoft private cloud, very useful in a Cloud Infrastructure Architect role. It covers skills like deploying private cloud services, problem management, optimising a cloud infrastructure and configuring a self-service and multi-tenant private cloud.

Another option is VMware’s vSphere [V6] certification which includes elements of cloud technology. This will teach you skills in virtual machine management, configuring and managing virtual storage and networks, and installing and maintaining vSphere.

3. Certified Ethical Hacker

Certified Ethical Hackers are those who are able to counteract and prevent the threat that malicious hackers pose to businesses. The increasing danger that these malicious hackers are posing, is making the demand for Certified Ethical Hackers soar. According to itjobswatch.co.uk the average advertised salary for an ethical hacker is £55,000.

To begin on the path to a Certified Ethical Hacker role, you need systems and networking foundations. The Microsoft MTA Networking, Security & Windows Server Administration, CompTIA A+ or Network+ would all be great certifications to get those skills. The MTA does not cover the same hardware topics as the A+ or Network+, but does offer more content about server administration and will lean towards Microsoft technology.

Following on, the Security+ can give you more detailed security skills, covering topics like compliance and operational security, access control and identity management, and cryptography. Similarly, Cisco’s CCNA will boost your skills in the networking area. This will teach you skills in areas like LAN switching technologies, IP addressing and routing technologies, and network device security.

After two years’ IT experience, you should be ready to sit your Certified Ethical Hacker course. This will give you the knowledge to fill an ethical hacking role. You’ll learn advanced skills in areas like Trojans and backdoors, viruses and worms, session hijacking and SQL interjection. These are necessary and vital skills in the arsenal of an ethical hacker, so you can comprehensively check the security of a business and cover gaps that could be maliciously exploited.

The Computer Hacking Forensics Investigator is a further certification that can boost your skills in the forensics process, improving your skills in responding to an attack. This could really make you stand out in the ethical hacking field.

4. Web Developer

Every modern business needs a website, meaning web developers with skills to create and maintain them, are in high demand. According to itjobswatch.co.uk, the average salary for a Web Developer is £37,500.

To give yourself the fundamental web development skills, an MTA in Software Development Fundamentals or HTML5 App Development Fundamentals would be suitable. You’ll learn core programming and general software development skills that’ll be useful in any web development role.

To get the high level skills you need to become a web developer, you could sit the Microsoft MCSD: Web Applications. This will teach you how to create and deploy modern web applications, whilst giving you an introduction to coding languages like HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. It also teaches you basic programming skills like program logic, developing user interfaces and storing data.

5. Project Manager

Free Training For Life has the potential to take your career into project management. The skills in this field are versatile and useful in many areas of business. According to itjobswatch.co.uk, Project Managers have an average salary of £52,500.

You should begin with the PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner. It provides a framework for managing projects that is the most popular of its kind in UK. It teaches you how to structure and manage your projects, including planning and organisation techniques. It also covers potential changes and risks to your projects.

Once you meet the prerequisites, you can progress onto PMI’s PMP. This covers more detailed planning and tight regulation of your projects, helping you improve the success rate of your projects. You’ll learn to regulate budgets, communications, quality management and more.

Learning to apply the agile methodology will also help you become a more successful project manager. The PRINCE2 Agile will teach you to combine PRINCE2 and agile in your projects. You’ll learn agile fundamentals and how to tailor the management process around those fundamentals. This will help you react more effectively to unpredictable changes. 

Free Training For Life has no restrictions, meaning you can take your career in any direction you choose. For the rest of your life, stay at the cutting edge in your career by gaining high-quality skills and certifications that can open doors to places you’ve never considered.

You can sit courses from vendors such as (ISC)2, APMG, AXELOS, CISCO, CompTIA, EC-Council, ISACA, Linux, Microsoft, The Open Group and many more. Free Training For Life lets you dream big and accelerate your career with any course you choose. 

You can enter Free Training For Life here and see Firebrand’s full portfolio of accelerated courses here.

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, 22 October 2015

Firebrand wins two EC-Council Global Awards 2015

 By Sarah Morgan

We are delighted to announce that Firebrand Training has won two honours at the EC-Council Global Awards 2015. Firebrand has been named EC-Council Accredited Training Centre of the Year. This extends a record-breaking run of successive awards to seven years. This is an achievement matched by no other training centre, bolstering Firebrand’s reputation as the elite EC-Council training centre.

Firebrand instructor, Richard Millett, has also been named in the Instructor Circle of Excellence for the second time. This is the third EC-Council award he’s won, after being named Instructor of the Year in 2014 and in the Instructor Circle of Excellence in 2011.


Firebrand Training’s UK Managing Director, Emma Seaman said:

“We’re thrilled to hear of both Firebrand’s and Richard’s achievements at the EC-Council Global Awards 2015. We’re extremely proud of everyone’s hard work at the training centre to make it the very best in Europe. We’re especially proud of Richard’s commitment to his students and to improving their knowledge and skills on his EC-Council courses.”

Jay Bavisi, President of EC-Council, gave his opinion on the awards:

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

How the awards were won

Firebrand picked up both the Authorized Training Centre of the Year (Europe) award and Instructor Circle of Excellence (Europe) award after being chosen from over 700 training centres, 107 countries and a huge group of EC-Council certified instructors, worldwide. EC-Council give their partners an extensive and rigorous set of criteria. After meeting these, Firebrand and Richard Millett were selected as the best in Europe in the two categories.

The Authorized Training Centre of the Year award recognises the training centres that provide the highest level of information security training. Courses include EC-Council’s flagship Certified Ethical Hacker, the Computer Hacking Forensics Investigator, the Network Security Administrator and the ECSA

The Instructor of the Year award highlights the instructors who’re best at giving their students a greater level of understanding and ability, enhancing their skills the most.
Here's what President of EC-Council, Jay Bavisi had to say about Firebrand Training when we caught up with him at EC-Council’s Hacker Halted event:  

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, 16 October 2015

Top 5 FAQs about CEH v 9

 By Sarah Morgan

EC-Council recently launched version 9 of their flagship Certified Ethical Hacker certification. This course contains the latest content in the field of ethical hacking and IT security. It will continue to develop the skills of IT professionals to protect businesses, reacting to and preventing cyber-attacks. But what’s different? What do you need to know about it? Here are the top 5 FAQs to explain all you need to know about CEH v9.

Q: How has the CEH v9 curriculum changed?

A: Largely, the structure of the course has remained the same. There are now 18 modules rather than 20. The two modules “Trojans and Backdoors”, and “Viruses and Worms” have been condensed into one module known as “Malware Threats”. Also, the modules “Buffer Overflows” and “Penetration Testing” have been removed. However, the majority of the content has been relocated to other areas of the course including the “System Hacking” and “Hacking Mobile Devices” modules.

There has also been changes to some of the content itself. Most notably, the inclusion of a Cloud Computing module. It applies general areas of security like service hijacking and penetration testing and covers cloud specific security and tools like CloudPassage Halo. This is a great addition as it reflects the current trend, with cloud technology now crucial to many businesses.

Q: Can I apply CEH v9 content to my business and my role? 

A: The skills you’ll learn will be the very latest available. The principle of the CEH course is to improve your skills and abilities in a practical environment and will prove its value most, in real-world situations in your workplace. However, it’s almost impossible to stay in front of hackers or predict what they’ll do next. But, you’ll have the most current skills in the industry, which’ll be invaluable when facing new types of cyber-attacks. 

If you’re not yet an ethical hacker, but looking to make the step forward in your career, having these up-to-date skills, and the certification to demonstrate it, will put you in the best possible position to boost your career.

Image courtesy of EC-Council

Q: Isn’t this knowledge harmful? Why make it so readily available?

A: EC-Council ensure that social responsibilities are fulfilled before they allow someone onto any CEH course. All candidates must have a minimum of two years IT security related experience before they can sit a CEH course. Plus, all candidates are required to sign an ethics agreement, which states they will respect the knowledge they learn and not misuse it in any way. Every CEH candidate must also agree that they will only use what they have learned for lawful actions. These processes and requirements make the course and the knowledge within, as safe as possible.

Q: I have CEH v 8, do I need to update it for it to be relevant? 

A: CEH v 8 is currently still available for you to sit but this won’t be the case for too much longer. If you already have version 8 or even version 7, your skills and knowledge will still be relevant and your experience is of course vital in helping you stay current.

In such an ever-changing industry though, it doesn’t take long for your skills to become out-dated. CEH v 9, with its additions of new attack vectors and addressing new vulnerabilities will be perfect when you want to update your skills. I would recommend getting your skills updated as and when you can, to ensure your skills don’t become out-dated. 

Q: Am I the right candidate to sit CEH v 9?

A: CEH v 9 has prerequisites much like previous versions. To meet these prerequisites you must have at least two years IT experience with a strong working knowledge of TCP/IP, Windows Server (NT, 2000, 2003, 2008, 2012) and a basic familiarity with Linux and/or Unix. 

If you’re looking to become an ethical hacker, it’s a great job choice for the future and the new CEH will stand you in good stead. Businesses of all sizes, are realising the value ethical hackers bring to a business. This is leading to the current trend of businesses recruiting more and more ethical hackers. CEH v 9 is the most current edition of the popular certification, covering more attack vectors than ever and updated for the most modern technologies. If you want the latest in ethical hacking knowledge and skills, CEH v 9 will provide exactly that.

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. 

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Why now is the time to become a Certified Ethical Hacker

 By Sarah Morgan

Cyber criminals are using increasingly more advanced technologies to breach the security of high-profile businesses. The list of companies and institutions hacked now include Ebay, Sony, Target, AOL, the NHS and even the US Military. Even after such massive security scandals, some dating back almost 10 years, companies are only now realising how crucial IT security is to their success. 

Because of this, now more than ever, businesses want professionals who can demonstrate skills in ethical hacking. Read on to discover the reasons why there has never been a better time to become a Certified Ethical Hacker.

Large scale investment

According to Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit, 1 in 5 businesses have been the subject of a cyber-attack. This means it’s a matter of when, not if, more high-profile security breaches will happen. As a result companies are recruiting and training Certified Ethical Hackers to make sure it isn’t them. Because of this, demand for Certified Ethical Hackers continues to climb, almost indefinitely.

In addition, BT has recently launched an ethical hacking service for customers in financial services. This service is designed to help organisations in retail and investment banking to protect their business from security breaches and cyber-attacks. If other big businesses follow suit and begin to offer full-scale services like BT’s, the demand for Certified Ethical Hackers will increase significantly. 

With 1000s of jobs currently advertised, and the future growth potential, this is just one of the reasons why there has never been a better time for you to attain EC-Council' Certified Ethical Hacking credential.

Investment from small and medium businesses

It's not just global organisations investing in ethical hacking to ensure their names aren’t headline news for the wrong reasons. Small and medium businesses are increasingly realising the need to increase investment in IT security to future proof their business.

In recent interview with the BBC, Steven Harrison, Lead Technologist at IT services firm Exponential-e, states there can often be a knowledge gap between small business and industry giants. To bridge this gap, small businesses are increasingly investing in developing the skills of ethical hackers to tighten up their security. The goal is to prepare themselves as they expand into the cloud, social media and other advancing technologies. 

If you work for a small or medium business, now is a fantastic time to encourage your boss to invest in training you as a Certified Ethical Hacker.

Removing the stigma

When the title of “ethical hacker” was first mentioned, some businesses were cautious of employing those with the skills to hack their systems. For obvious reasons, businesses were reluctant to hand over the keys to their company’s security. They were fearful of disgruntled employees who knew every detail of their security systems and how to access their most sensitive data.

However, ethical hackers have proven time and again their value by protecting businesses from cyber-attacks that have devastating potential. Companies are also more aware of the rigorous background checks for criminal records and codes of conducts that all ethical hackers must pass and sign.

This is good news, as the types of attacks that are threatening businesses are becoming increasingly more common and complex. The best way to counter this threat is to employ a Certified Ethical Hacker to discover and patch weaknesses in security. 

The realisation of the worth of ethical hackers means more businesses are looking to employ and train Certified Ethical Hackers for protection. They are much more willing to open their doors to you.

Image courtesy of chanipipat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker v.9.0

EC-Council recently released the new and updated version of the Certified Ethical Hacker certification. Because the CEH certification is the pinnacle in the field of ethical hacking, when the course is updated, it provides the latest knowledge and skills available. Version 9 is no different and has added new vulnerabilities and attack vectors. 

Now is the perfect time to bring your skills up to date and set yourself apart from other professionals.

Boost your security skills

The demand for Certified Ethical Hackers is only set to increase in businesses of all sizes. As technology continues to advance, so will the threats to the businesses using it. These businesses will need to protect themselves, one of the best ways to do that is through Certified Ethical Hackers.

So, insummery here is why there has never been a better time for you to become a Certified Ethical Hacker:

1. Big business are investing heavily in recruitment and training of Certified Ethical Hackers. The emergence of ethical hacking as a service ins only going to create yet more jobs.

2. Small and medium businesses are investing more in developing ethical hacking hacking skills, meaning you have more chance of improving your knowledge and skills.

3. Reduced stigma and a greater appreciation of the value of ethical hackers means more and more companies are opening their doors to Certified Ethical Hackers.

4. The release of CEH v9 means you can bring your skills up to date and be at the forefront of ethical hacking.

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, 21 September 2015

Share your industry experience and inspire a generation!


If you're working in IT, we want to hear your stories. Share your experience and inspire the next generation of IT professionals.

Whether you have the most exciting job in the world, or the most mundane, whether you've been in the job 20 years or 20 days - we want to hear from you.

We're looking for IT professionals from all walks in the industry to share their experience and inspire a future generation of IT professionals.

What you need to do

The process is really quite simple:
  1. Answer the questions in the form below with as much detail as possible
  2. Click submit 
It should only take 5-10 minutes. We'll collect the best submissions and publish them in a new section on our Learn platform to showcase to aspiring IT professionals.

If you're stuck for inspiration, here are a few examples of past interviews from a Project Management professional and a SharePoint Consultant.

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 5 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.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Azure Active Directory: Tomorrow’s Identity Management, Today

   By Debra Littlejohn Shinder

Identity and access management form the backbone of your network security plan, and now with the integration of on-premises and cloud-based services in a hybrid environment, organizations need a solution that will simplify user access to cloud apps and allow them to get to the resources they need no matter what type or brand of computing device they’re using. 

Microsoft’s answer to this is Azure Active Directory, which will not only enable your users to access your SaaS applications and Office 365 but also lets you publish your on-premises web apps so that they can be accessed from computers, tablets or smart phones running Windows, Android, iOS or OS X. 

Your on-premises Active Directory and other directory services can be synchronized automatically with Azure AD. You can sync users, groups and contacts to the cloud and Azure AD supports both directory sync with password synchronization and directory sync with single sign-on:

  • Directory sync with password sync: users can sign into Azure AD with the same username and password they use for accessing the company network.
  • Directory sync with single sign-on:  users can use their company AD credentials to access both cloud and on-premises resources seamlessly. You can even have single sign-on across multiple AD forests using Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS). 

All of this convenience doesn’t come at the cost of security. Users can enjoy all the benefits of single sign-on and administrators can breathe easy knowing that the access channels are secured. 

You have the option of enabling Azure multi-factor authentication to provide more protection for your sensitive and confidential data and applications, and security monitoring will keep you apprised of what’s going on with both your cloud apps and your on-premises apps. 

Active Directory integration tools, Azure Active Directory Sync and Azure Active Directory Synchronization Tool (DirSync) have been replaced by Azure Active Directory Connect, which encompasses their same functionalities and can be downloaded from the Microsoft Azure web site. This tool lets you easily connect your on-premises directories with your Azure AD via a wizard-based interface that will deploy and configure all of the necessary components for you. 

Credit: Microsoft Azure Directory

Azure AD Connect has three parts: Sync Services, AD FS and the health monitoring service (Azure AD Connect Health). AD FS is optional; it’s used to create a hybrid solution with your on-premises AD FS deployment. In order to install Azure AD Connect, you’ll need to have Enterprise Administrator credentials, along with a subscription to Azure and Azure AD Premium (or the trial version). You’ll also need an Azure AD Global Admin account and your AD domain controller needs to be running Windows Server 2008 or above. 

The installation wizard will help you to select the type of synchronization that’s best for your organization (password sync or single sign-on), then it will install the software components that are needed in order to deploy the type of synchronization you chose. After the components are installed, it will verify the integration of the on-premises and cloud directories to ensure that everything is working. 

By default, Azure AD Connect installs an instance of SQL Server 2012 Express, creates the appropriate groups and assigns the necessary permissions to them. However, if you want, you can use a SQL server that you already have. You’ll need to specify its name in the options configuration section of the wizard. You also might want to create an account for the sync services to use instead of using the default account, so that you can choose your own password. When you use the default, Azure AD Connect generates a password automatically and you don’t know what it is. Usually you won’t need to, but there are some advanced tasks that do require you to know and enter the password. 

The quickest and easiest way to integrate your on-premises and cloud directories is to use the Express installation option. It is for single-forest configurations and uses the password hash sync type so users can log onto the cloud with the same password they use for the corporate network. It’s a quick and simple process with just six steps. If you want more options, you want to go with the Custom installation, which lets you choose Federation with AD FS or password sync, lets you add more directories to sync, and gives you far more flexibility and control over identities and features such as Azure AD app and attribute filtering, password and user writeback, and more. Writeback means that password changes made in Azure AD and users created in Azure AD will be written back to the on-premises directory. 

Azure Active Directory brings your on-premises and cloud assets together for maximizing the benefits of both. You can find much more good information about Azure at www.cloudcomputingadmin.com.

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.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

10 best books to help you pass your Six Sigma certification

 By Sarah Morgan

The business methodology of Six Sigma can help your business to improve output by identifying and then removing, the causes of errors.

We’ve conducted research into which books on the market are best to help you get your Six Sigma Yellow, Green or Black belt certification. We then cut them down to a list of 10, to ensure whatever help you need within Six Sigma, there’s a book here for you.

Six Sigma Yellow Belt

The Six Sigma Yellow Belt course, with no real prerequisites, can give you a broad understanding of Six Sigma practices and methodologies that you can implement into your business right away. More Yellow Belt info can be found here.

1. Certified Six Sigma Yellow Belt Exam Secrets Study Guide: CSSGB Test Review for the Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certification Exam by  CSSYB Exam Secrets Test Prep Team 
ISBN: 978-1516700301

It covers an enormous amount of topics. One of the most comprehensive books out there and is specifically designed to help you study for the exam. As well as being extremely well-researched, it highlights tactics and areas of focus that’ll be useful when in the Yellow Belt exam room.


  • Practice questions
  • 5 secret keys to exam success
  • A vast list of topics like CTQ, Quality Function Deployment and Gantt Charts

How good is it?

It’s one of the best Six Sigma books on the market focused on exam tips, and could provide you with the exam technique that could make the difference in helping you get the knowledge to pass.

2. The Six Sigma Yellow Belt Handbook by H. James Harrington & Frank Voehl 
ISBN: 978-1932828245 

Crammed with years of practical Six Sigma knowledge, this helpful handbook is both practical and insightful. You’ll learn what skills are required of someone who is Yellow Belt certified and how that will contribute to the improvement of your business. Another great plus is the inclusion of how statistical tools are important to your business.


  • What is at the heart of the Six Sigma concept
  • Statistical tools for Yellow Belt
  • A wealth of knowledge and understanding

How good is it?

It’s definitely a great Six Sigma book to have at your disposal. Although it’s primarily focused on Yellow Belt, it’s useful for any level of Six Sigma. It has the knowledge you need to get started and can also help experienced Six Sigma users with some general pointers.

Six Sigma Green Belt

When you take on the Green Belt, you’ll cover detailed measurements and analysis and learn further techniques to improve operations. A full list of topics and further info can be found here. 

3. The Six Sigma Handbook by Thomas Pyzdek & Paul Keller 
ISBN: 978-0071840538 

This handbook includes every aspect of Six Sigma from Green Belt and beyond which is what makes it so good.

The fourth edition is revised to reflect the continually progressing area of Six Sigma and comprehensively walks you through the methodology, covering improvement techniques in all possible areas.


  • Green Belt and Black Belt certification online quizzes
  • Links to walkthrough videos covering several practical processes
  • Great coverage of the sometimes neglected Lean methodologies alongside Six Sigma

How good is it?

A great in-depth guide, giving you understanding that’ll definitely give you a head start in the exam. It will also help you on the job, with brilliant attention to a wide range of practical processes necessary for someone who is Green Belt certified.

4. Six SIGMA Green Belt Study Guide: Test Prep and Practice Questions for the Six SIGMA Green Belt Exam by Trivium Test Prep 
ISBN: 978-1940978789

Ever used an exam study guide that is too fluffy and takes forever to tell you what you’ll actually need for the exam? This is the antidote. It’s brilliantly streamlined for efficient studying, only giving you information that is truly helpful.


  • 100 practice questions
  • A review of every tested concept in the exam
  • Fully explained subjects that’re easy to digest

How good is it?

The most efficient and straightforward study guide for the Green Belt certification. A sure way to prepare yourself to pass the exam.

Six Sigma Black Belt

The Six Sigma Black Belt is for those who are responsible for leading projects using the Six Sigma & Lean methodologies. More info on the Black Belt can be found here.

5. The Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Handbook: Tools and Methods for Process Acceleration by Frank Voehl, H. James Harrington, Chuck Mignosa & Rick Charron 
ISBN: 978-1466554689

Another useful book that can vastly improve your understanding of Six Sigma. Built on a strong understanding, it comprehensively tackles the advanced level of Six Sigma in the Black Belt.


  • Diagrams and illustrations useful to understand the more complex frameworks and processes
  • Insight from a well-respected and distinguished group of authors
  • Exercises, worksheets and templates to assist your continuous improvement

How good is it?

This is one of the best at covering the level of detail required in the Black Belt certification. It simplifies the Black Belt methodologies, helping you to apply them to your exam and to real-world situations.

6. The Six Sigma Black Belt Handbook (Six SIGMA Operational Methods) by Thomas McCarty, Lorraine Daniels, Michael Bremer and Praveen Gupta 
ISBN: 978-0071443296

This handbook does a great job of explaining the more difficult elements of Six Sigma, integral to passing the Black Belt. It aims to make you an expert in Six Sigma, explaining how to take on multiple projects and solve complex problems.


  • A complete guide to understanding and writing financial reports
  • Project costing tools
  • Problem-solving tools like Design for Six Sigma and TRIZ

How good is it?

A very useful handbook to aid you whilst studying for the exam, as well as after you’ve passed, helping you use Six Sigma to solve tricky on the job problems. A great Black Belt resource.


There are many useful books out there that can help you generally with some, or all of the Six Sigma certifications.

7. Six Sigma For Dummies by Craig Gygi & Bruce Williams 
ISBN: 978-1118120354

It may seem too basic consulting a “For Dummies” book for help with Six Sigma, but it has great reviews and genuinely provides very useful information about the methodologies. If you’re studying for the Yellow Belt it’s a great resource to get you started. Its usefulness is not limited though, and does provide knowledge relevant and helpful to those studying both Green and Black belts and for those who want general Six Sigma guidance.


  • Top dos and don’ts of Six Sigma
  • Plenty of thorough how tos
  • Top tips for those currently in the industry

How good is it?

Amazon have made it part of their “Best Books of the Year So Far” for 2015 - it also averages 4.3 out of 5 from 39 reviews. It’s a great read for anyone in project management, let alone someone taking a Six Sigma certification.

8. Six Sigma for Managers, Second Edition (Briefcase Books Series) by Greg Brue 
ISBN: 978-0071838634

Greg Brue is CEO of Six Sigma Consultants and is a Master Six Sigma Black Belt and aims this book at the busy managers of today. His expertise provides tips for those managers of how to use Six Sigma to be successful in your field.


  • Clear definitions of Six Sigma terms and concepts
  • Specifics about tactics and improving your planning
  • The latest in practical insights and tips

How good is it?

Another of Amazon’s “Best Books of the Year So Far” for 2015. It provides an up to date perspective from someone who has mastered the field with tips that can help you pass your exam and help you on the job.

9. Six Sigma for Everyone by George Eckes 
ISBN: 978-0471281566

If you’re looking for a book that doesn’t over-complicate the concepts of Six Sigma, look no further. This is perfect for someone looking to improve their basic understanding of the Six Sigma methodology – perhaps sitting the Yellow or Green belt.


  • Straightforward explanations of terms and principles
  • In-depth examples for further insight
  • 10 basic tools each team member needs

How good is it?

Reading this will give you a solid foundation of knowledge before sitting your exam. It’s excellent at serving its purpose for those not looking to go over the top with Six Sigma.

10. The Lean Six Sigma Pocket Toolbook: A Quick Reference Guide to 100 Tools for Improving Quality and Speed by Michael L. George, John Maxey, David Rowlands and Mark Price
ISBN: 978-0071441193

An ideal reference guide for those studying both the Green and Black Belts. Contains excellent advice on how best to use the Six Sigma tools in different situations. With step-by-step instructions it can help you get a true understanding of how to carry out the processes you learn on the courses.


  • Brief summaries of the 70 most important tools in Lean Six Sigma
  • Quick and easy reference guide to the DMAIC improvement cycle
  • Concise but thorough information in a pocket sized format

How good is it?

A handy book if you’re looking for something that isn’t too dense but still provides helpful information. It’s very useful when revising for either exam.

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.