Wednesday, 29 February 2012

3 Apps to help you prepare for Microsoft Certification exams:


If you've taken the Microsoft certification exam recently, you've probably noticed how difficult the exams are becoming.  Below are three of the 5 apps which TechRepublic recommends, which will help aid your learning:


1. Transcender: Transcender has been giving practice exams all the way from the 1990s. It allows you to either choose a customised exam experience, where you take the exam in a way, which is most helpful to you. Or you can choose past exam papers, which mimic the actual cert exam. It also provides you with flash cards, which help you prepare and revise for the exam.


2. uCertify: The USP of uCertify practice test is that it covers a wide number of questions. A typical Microsoft cert has about 60 questions, while uCertify exams have as many as 360 questions. The software also has a chapter-by-chapter guide and explanations of all the exam answers.


3. SelfTest: SelfTest also offers a wide range of questions; roughly triple the number of questions from the actual exam. You also get 281 flash cards to aid your learning. SelfTest can be used in two modes – learning mode, which provides explanations of correct answers, and the certification mode, which stimulates the actual exam.


Monday, 27 February 2012

Shortage of IT skills leading to a ‘talent war’


According to Rackspace CEO Lanham Napier, shortage of necessary IT skills has led to big technological companies being entangled in a “talent war”.

Napier, talking to Computing, said that his firm faced difficulties trying to find suitable candidates because of shortage of qualified professionals and intense competition from other firms looking to recruit staff.

"So we're looking harder at getting people right out of university, investing in training programmes, hiring people from other industries and investing in them with the right training and development programmes," he said.

In these testing economic times, qualified, “skilled professionals” are more in demand. Certs, which prove that you have the knowledge and competency in a certain field, have become more important than ever.

Friday, 24 February 2012

What companies look for - from an Information security recruit


(ISC)2’s recent online poll has revealed that for almost 30 per cent of organisations, understanding of information security concepts is the single most important criteria, when recruiting young talent. 27 per cent consider technical skills to be the key benchmark.
Almost 23 per cent of the companies surveyed say that they recruit only experienced professionals.

Employers are demanding qualified information systems security authorisation personnel. (ISC)2 certs prove that one possesses the necessary  knowledge and skills to monitor and evaluate a company’s security risks and requirements.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Centre of Advanced Security Training


Firebrand has launched 6 EC-Council Centre of Advanced Security Training (CAST) courses.

The intensive 3 day courses are aimed at experienced individuals, who should already have EC-Council certifications.

CAST courses are developed by EC-Council. The courses are very hands on, with up to 80% lab time. There isn’t any exam for the courses, but you’ll be CAST certified on completion of the exam.


You’ll learn how to attack and defend highly-secure environments. You’ll be taught how to attack operating systems such as Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, and the latest Linux servers.


You will be equipped with the knowledge and practical skills for performing mobile forensic investigations. The course is based on vendor-neutral digital forensic principals; with a focus on Apple, Google Android, and Blackberry devices.


You will learn how to fend-off attackers by learning the skills to write their code defensively. You’ll learn the new techniques for case-hardening their applications from within.


Once you learn how to attack, you must also learn the best practices and methodologies to secure the environment. You will learn how to reduce the effectiveness of the advanced persistent threat.


You will learn the history of cryptography, modern cryptographic methods, and how to use techniques like cryptanalysis. The course also covers topics such as hashing and digital certificates.


You will learn how to write your own application exploits from scratch.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

CISCO: IT Security Education Not Good Enough


Cisco has released a report which claims that there is a “startling” lack of concern for IT security amongst young professionals. Cisco has stated that there is a need for better and more forceful education on the subject.


The Connected World Technology report says that 7 out of 10 young employees often ignore IT policies.


More than half of the young professionals surveyed admitted that they had allowed others to use their computer without them supervising it, 9% admitted to having used a stranger’s mobile device, while 19% said that they used free wireless hotspots.


60% of young employees feel that IT security wasn’t their responsibility.


To correct this, the report recommends technology controls tools like intrusion prevention systems, along with employee training that educates them of the company’s expectations for appropriate behaviour and security practices.


David Evans, chief futurist for Cisco says: “Assess user education practices. Long seminars and handbooks aren’t effective. Younger employees will be more receptive to a targeted approach to user education, with shorter sessions and ‘just-in-time’ training. Peer training also works well in today’s collaborative work environment.”


Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Linux the "most sought after talent in 2012"


Last week, Linux, with Dice.com, compiled their first ever Linux Jobs Report.


The report revealed, that out of the 2,300 surveyed, eight in ten said that hiring a Linux talent is a priority in 2012. More than half of the firms said that they’re increasing the number of people who are Linux skilled.

Of all the firms surveyed, 67% revealed that they’re looking for Linux Developers, while 55% are looking for Linux system administrators.

Most companies are looking for professionals skilled in Linux, with three to five years’ experience.

According to the report, Linux proficient professionals have an edge over others in the industry. The industry average salary rise was only 2%, but Linux professionals “saw a five per cent increase, in their pay”.

Although being in demand, companies facing a rising challenge of finding Linux talent. The report reveals that “85 per cent say finding Linux talent is somewhat to very difficult, making Linux professionals some of the most sought after talent in 2012.”

In-demand Linux Certs:


Monday, 20 February 2012

Happy 20th Microsoft Certs!


Microsoft certs have turned 20 this year. In 20 years, Microsoft has certified over 7 million professionals and delivered over a million certification exams in the last year alone.


We're a Microsoft Gold Partner, and have trained and certified thousands of professionals in Microsoft Courses. Our Microsoft Official Curriculum and Certified Trainers guarantee that professionals pass the official exams.


To mark their 20 years, Microsoft has launched a year long series of events called "20 Years|20 Ways", which promises "20 different ways for today's technology professionals to support, mentor and guide both peers and potential successors in the importance of training and certification."


Microsoft courses are better with Accelerated Learning. Get Microsoft certified at twice the speed.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Seven steps to help fight security issues


High profile security breaches on companies like Sony, Nintendo, and even the CIA have made a mockery of the so called ‘sophisticated’ security systems in place. It shows us just how vulnerable we are, against well-crafted criminal attacks. 



Security breaches cost companies millions of pounds worth of data, not to mention the stain on their reputation.


It is very important for businesses to protect themselves. Following are some good tips to start with:

  1. Look Back: Go back one year and think about the weakest link in your security. It could be a new network provider, hiring new staff, a new software, etc. Think about how it can potentially affect your security.
  2. Review and Update: Security procedures can easily become obsolete. And they often do.  Arrange a meeting with you HR, IT and review them, and update it with the changing times.
  3. Train New Employees: Train new employees in security. Everyone should know the rights and wrongs for security maintenance.
  4. Backup: Ensure your company’s backup is fully functional.
  5. Stay Away from Spammy Emails: In November 2011, one in 255 emails had some sort of malware in it and one in 8,300 is targeted attacks aimed at individual or a company.
  6. Cloud Computing: More and more companies are adopting the Cloud Computing form of storing data and running applications.
  7. Get in the minds of hackers: We've won the EC-Council ATC of the Year Award, and have taught people to how to hack in just 15 minutes. Our Certified Ethical Hacking course will teach you to think like a hacker and help find loopholes in your business’ security in place.



Thursday, 16 February 2012

What’s the most important sector in IT?

Statistics have revealed that Data Management has eclipsed other applications to become the primary role in IT.

A report by Corporate Executive Board found that in 2012, CIOs plan to spend 39% of their budget on information and data management (up by 8% from last year), compared to 32% on business process automation.

According to the report, up until 2011, Business Automation had taken the lead in budget allocation.

With a similar point of view, analyst company Ovum has predicted that information management will be the fastest growing sector of the global IT industry over the next 4 years. It predicts an annual growth of 10% for this sector.

“The volume of information within enterprises continues to grow at an astonishing rate, and investment is needed to both manage this information and turn it into actionable intelligence”, said Ovum analyst Tim Jennings.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Firebrand Accelerates SAP


Firebrand has launched seven new SAP courses. SAP, which stands for Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing - was started in 1972 by five former IBM employees in Germany. It is now the world's largest inter-enterprise software company and fourth-largest independent software supplier.

The original SAP idea was to provide customers with the ability to interact with a common corporate database for a comprehensive range of applications. Gradually, the applications have been assembled and today many corporations - including IBM and Microsoft - are using SAP products to run their businesses.


Monday, 13 February 2012

IT Certs ‘Accelerating’ fastest in 3 Years


CWJobs.co.uk reports that IT salaries have improved faster than they have in 3 years in 2011. The IT sector also saw an increase by 25% in the advertised jobs in Q4 of 2011. The main reason for the splurge is the increase in demand for specialist staff. Last year, Developers made up 41% of all IT jobs advertised.

SQL Programming was most sought after in 2011, while demand for Agile methodology increased by 59% in the last quarter of 2011, compared to Q4 of 2010.

"While there's no denying the impact the economy has had on the rate of growth, these statistics show there is recovery, and the private sector and southeast of England are leading this," said Richard Nott, website director at CWJobs.

"Last year, the spotlight was on the IT industry, particularly on areas such as security and mobile. As new issues and opportunities continue to shape the sector, skills requirements and job opportunities will change accordingly," he added.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Get Paid to Socialise!

Gone are the days when Social Media used to be considered a time-waster for young adults. The medium has transformed itself into a money making opportunity for businesses.


We're running a one day Social Media Bootcamp course exclusive for Microsoft Partners. The course teaches you everything you need to know about optimising social media for your business needs. You'll have a follow up with the instructor, to ensure that your new strategy works.


It's time to start making money from social media. Just email ddavies@firebrandtraining.co.uk to find out more and book a place on this exclusive course, taking place on 2nd March 2012 in Central London.


Read what some of the Microsoft Partners say about the course:



"Brilliant presentation. As always, Bruce hits the nail on the head and addresses a highly topical issue with insight, intelligence & of course his own flavour of humour! Love it. Thanks Bruce. You're the first person to get me genuinely interested in social media and convince me why I should be embracing it."
Roslyn Hunter, General Manager, Logisto

"Thank you Bruce - demystifying Social Media is no easy task and you successfully covered all the areas most relevant to business today - right from understanding through to action. By highlighting the array of tools and resources (content!) available I left knowing exactly what I have to do and implement now with a lot more confidence. Highly recommended!"
Peter Engelhardt, Principal, Creative Brew

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

How much is your security worth?

Computerworld reports that companies are willing to pay more for certified information security professionals.

A report by New Canaan reveals that certified professionals earn 10 to 15% higher salaries than non-certified individuals. Certifications worth the most in the field of information are CISSP, CISA and CISM.

“The demand for certified security professionals has been on the rise for some time now. Some high profile breaches like Sony, Nintendo and even the CIA have made companies nervous about their own customer data being compromised” says Robert Chapman, CEO of Firebrand Training.

This trend in IT security certs shows that it’s not just the government regulation that makes the businesses invest more in security. It is to ensure that the company and their customers don’t lose valuable data and personal information.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Do you like the Timeline?

Facebook launched the new profile look "Timeline" a while ago. Changes to Facebook always bring out mixed responses from its users. Now, Facebook is making it mandatory for users to have the Timeline and get rid of the old profile.




The latest change will allow people to access friends' status updates and activities as old as 2004, when Facebook was launched. The website, however, insists that this isn't changing any of the existing users' privacy. A spokeswomen of Facebook says "Timeline does not change any of your existing privacy settings."


What do you think about the new Facebook Timeline? Have you tried it yet?