Monday, 30 September 2013

Learn PMP for Free - 6. Project Time Management



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Last week saw the latest module of the PMP course released, Project Scope Management. Having completed the module you should now have a keen understanding of whats involved, allowing you to plan and manage scope whilst creating an effective WBS to work through.

This Monday see's the launch of the Project Time Management module.



What is Project Time Management?                                                                     

Considered to be one of the core knowledge areas, project time management involves building a series of processes and outputs facilitating the completion of a project on time, to budget.

This process is closely linked to both project cost management and project scope management

What is covered in Project Time Management?                                                    

In this module of Learn, you will cover the following;

6.1 - Plan Schedule Management - establish policies, procedures and documentation for planning, developing, managing, executing and controlling the project schedule - Planning

6.2 - Define Activities - creating a list of actions required to meet project deliverables -  Planning 

6.3 - Sequence Activities - Sequencing them and documenting their relationships - Planning 

6.4 - Estimate Activity Resources - The type and quantities of material, people, equipment, or supplies required to perform each activity - Planning 

6.5 - Estimate Activity Durations - estimate work periods required to complete activities in line with available resource - Planning 

6.6 - Develop Schedule - Analyzing activity sequences, durations, resource requirements and schedule constraints to create the project schedule - Planning 

6.7 - Control Schedule - manage project activities to ensure plan is achieved - Monitoring and Control 


6. - Project Time Management - Session Summary

What next?                                                                                                          

Follow us on Google+LinkedInFacebook or Twitter to get the latest announcements for content being released on Learn.


Check our social channels on the following dates for the latest content:

7. Project Cost Management - Monday 7th October

8. Project Quality Management - Monday 14th October

9. Project HR Management - Monday 21st October

10. Project Communications Management - Monday 28th October

11. Project Risk Management - Monday 4th November

12. Procurement Management - Monday 11th November

13. Stakeholder Management - Monday 18th November

About the Author                                                                                                

Edward is a member of the Marketing team focussing on Technical writing and Community Engagement for Firebrand. Working in the Industry for over 2 years, Edward has experience with Microsoft Technologies including SharePoint and Windows Server and Exchnage Server. Edward writes for a variety of Blogs and Publications on all things Technology

Friday, 27 September 2013

How to secure your wireless network


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When setting up a wireless network for your business, it can be tempting to leave some security functions switched off. People rather get work done, than spend time on preventing events that may never occur. However, when they do, the consequences can be serious. Bearing this in mind, all businesses have to make sure that their networks are secure.

It is important to remember, that you can’t keep your wireless network within your premises. Anyone within range of an unsecured network may gain access. This means that not only can outsiders use your internet for free, but they can potentially intercept your passwords, financial information and customer records, leaving you vulnerable to a serious breach.


TechRadar.com suggests three ways of making your wireless secure:

Use encryption

Encryption is possibly the most important measure you can take to secure your network. Most likely all routers and wireless devices offer some form of encryption these days. Encrypting a network involves creating a password that is hard to break. Note that, not all forms of encryption are perfectly secure though. For instance WEP, the most basic and oldest form of wireless encryption is no longer considered secure, as hackers can crack it within minutes. WPA and WPA2 on the other hand are much more secure, as they were developed to overcome all weaknesses of their predecessor. 



Securing your WiFi network by Google

Use a firewall

Hardware firewalls provide the first line of defense against attacks coming from outside of the network. Most routers have firewalls built into them, which check data coming in and out and block any suspicious activity.
Most firewalls use packet filtering, which checks the header of a packet to figure out its source and destination addresses. This information is compared to a set of predefined and/or user-created rules that govern whether the packet is legitimate or not.

Software firewalls usually run on the endpoint desktop or laptop, with the advantage of providing a better idea about the traffic that’s passing through the device. 
Get your router settings right

  • Change the router's access name and password
  • Change the default network ID
  • Stop your router broadcasting its network ID
  • Enable MAC authentication for your users
  • Create a separate wireless network for your customers

For more information on how to make your wireless network secure, read the full article on TechRadar.com

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

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

It pays to get talent early


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Technology has radically changed the way we do business. The ability to create that change, however, and then take advantage of it, is dependent on the skills within the business. You only have to look at the Government’s record in IT development to see what happens when those in-house skills are missing. Over the last 20 years the government has largely outsourced everything in IT to external 'experts', with resulting massive overruns in both time and costs. 

In May, the government’s Major Projects Authority reported that of the 191 projects it was currently monitoring, just 32 were given a green all-clear rating, with 49 classed as probably going to be successful”. Fifty-eight were feasible but had significant issues and 31 were deemed unachievable or in doubt. This includes a new IT system for the MoD, new IT systems to manage back office functions in the Justice department, new systems to manage passport applications in the Home Office and a new accounting system and improvements to the website of the Office for National Statistics.


It's time to stand out


One government group has bucked this trend - the Government’s Digital Service (GDS). It’s a small autonomous group run by Executive Director Mike Bracken and it’s turning the 'traditional' way the government works with IT upside-down. GDS is agile, it does the work in-house and it recruits and builds its teams using fresh young talent. But, above all, it’s getting things done under budget and on time. 

One of the key recruits is Jordan Hatch – he joined GDS age 17, leaving college before completing AS levels in politics, economics and business studies. This savvy 19-year-old has helped turn thousands of expensive and under-utilised government websites into one single site, and is on track to save the government £4 million, yes four MILLION pounds. Together, the team are heading for savings of £1.2 billion by 2015. 

The lesson to be learnt from the GDS example is to build up your in-house expertise by grasping young talent;  however, that talent is currently in short supply and hard to find. A recent survey, Impact of the Skills Gap by CompTIA, found that only 15% of the businesses interviewed are “exactly where they want to be” in terms of IT skills, and almost one in two (48%) were concerned about finding IT workers with the right skills. That’s not just programmers; but help desk workers and employees with soft skills such as teamwork, customer service and project management skills.



Most businesses don’t have the deep pockets to compete with the government and businesses such as Google for new IT talent. There is another solution to the skills crisis, however, and that’s via an apprenticeship scheme. With an apprenticeship you get new talent and the chance to pick the skills you need, then those skills can be passed on to your existing staff. What’s more, all the training is paid for by the government. 

To find out more about how young talent can help your business visit Firebrand Apprenticeships.

About the Author:       
Frank is managing director and partner at Firebrand Training. He has over 20 years of experience in business development, account management and IT training.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Learn PMP for Free - 5. Project Scope Management



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Last week Firebrand launched Learn, a brand new self study platform where you can learn PMP for free! The platform is currently in Beta with the introductory chapters and the first module of the PMP course, titled "Project Integration Management", currently available.

This week see's the release of Project Scope Management, the next module within the PMP course. The plan is to then release the remaining course material in modules over the next 8 weeks, with the last module going live on Monday 18th November, 2013. Firebrand then plan to release a range of practice tests, exercises and additional resources to boost learning and help you benchmark exam readiness.  

In this post we will look at what's included in Project Scope Management, as well as future release dates for the remaining modules coming to Learn.


What is Project Scope Management?

In the context of Project Management, Scope has two distinct uses, Project Scope and Product Scope

Scope can be defined as the process of gathering required information to start a project, and involves the features a product needs to meet the requirements of project stakeholders.

According to the PMBOK Guide - Fifth Edition;

Project Scope is:
  • "The work that is performed to deliver a product or service, or result with the specified features and functions."
  • "Completion is measured against the Project Management Plan”, the Project Scope Statement, and its associated WBS (work breakdown structure) and WBS Dictionary."
Product Scope is:
  • "The features and functions that characterize a product or service"


What is covered in Project Scope Management?

In this module of Learn, you will cover the following;

5.1 - Plan Scope Management - Planning
5.2 - Collect Requirements - Requirements documentation, Requirements Management Plan, Requirements Traceability Matrix - Planning
5.3 - Define Scope – a detailed description of the project and product - Planning
5.4 - Create WBS - WBS, WBS Dictionary, Scope Baseline - Planning
5.5 - Validate Scope - Formalizing acceptance of the completed Deliverables and Change Requests - Monitoring and Control
5.6 - Control Scope - Work Performance Measurements, Change Requests, Updates to Organisational Process Assets, Project Management Plan, Project Documents - Monitoring and Control
5. - Project Scope Management - Session Summary


What next?

Follow us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter to get the latest announcements for content being released on Learn.

Check our social channels on the following dates for the latest content:

6. Project Time Management - Monday 30th September

7. Project Cost Management - Monday 7th October

8. Project Quality Management - Monday 14th October

9. Project HR Management - Monday 21st October

10. Project Communications Management - Monday 28th October

11. Project Risk Management - Monday 4th November

12. Procurement Management - Monday 11th November

13. Stakeholder Management - Monday 18th November

About the Author
Edward is a member of the Marketing team focussing on Technical writing and Community Engagement for Firebrand. Working in the Industry for over 2 years, Edward has experience with Microsoft Technologies including SharePoint and Windows Server and Exchnage Server. Edward writes for a variety of Blogs and Publications on all things Technology

Make your business sociable

If you're not already using social media for your business, you have given your competitors the edge. The likes of Twitter and Facebook have been helping companies to increase brand awareness, attract new leads and engage with customers for almost 10 years now.

Don’t worry though it's never too late to get your business out there. However, Forrester Research analyst Nate Elliott claims that “nearly a decade into the era of social media, more social marketers are failing than succeeding." But why?

The reason is simple. Your business’ social media success doesn’t depend on the number of “Likes” or followers your page has. Those figures can easily be orchestrated and therefore don’t always act in line with your business aims.



What’s in it for your business?

As the use of mobile devices keeps on increasing, so do the hours spent on social networks. So why not build better brand image where most people can see and interact with you? Via social media, not only will you be able to promote your products and services, but you’ll also have a way of monitoring your company’s reputation. Interacting with your customers will give your company the human touch, every business needs.

Think first and take it slow


Before rushing into signing up for all existing social networks give it some time and think about what your goals are. Each platform is different, and they can serve your needs in different ways. 

TechRadar’s top tips for using social media to grow your business:

  • Take it slow. You don’t have to be everywhere.
  • Plan it. Come up with a strategy, set goals and determine your indicators of success.
  • Talk to your audience. Ask and answer questions. These conversations will be appreciated. 
  • Share relevant content. Find out what works best for your business.
  • Keep your audience interested, but don’t spam them with too many posts.
  • Be patient. The impact of social media won’t occur overnight. Building your online reputation will take time.
For more tips visit TechRadar and read the full article on what social media can do for your business.

Friday, 20 September 2013

How big is your iQueue? #iphone5s


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The Apple season is upon us, yet again. London’s streets got raided by eager iFans, prepared to queue for hours just to get their hands on the latest, not very different iPhone. 

If you’re lucky enough to cross the finish line before a fat SOLD OUT sign appears at your local Apple stores entrance, you’ll be enjoying the following features: 

  • 4.0 inch LED-backlit IPS LCD, capacitive touchscreen (640 x 1136 pixels)

  • 8 MP (3264 x 2448 pixels) back camera with autofocus and 1.2 MP front camera

  • iOS 7

  • Accelerometer, gyro, proximity and compass sensors

  • Music play up to 40 hours

Oh hold on, these are all iPhone 5 stats! 


All joking aside, the iPhone 5S does have a fingerprint sensor, an A7 chip and Dual-core 1.7 GHz CPU as opposed to an A6/1.3 GHz, and a new champagne colour, but is it worth the days of queuing?

If you’ve managed to get one, please let us know on Twitter @BeaFirebrand, until then check out the footage of what we call the iQueue near Regent Street. 



About the Author:
Robert Chapman is CEO and co-founder of Firebrand Training. He has had a varied career covering hardware, software, services, from a management, sales and technical perspective.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

MiiPC - the child-friendly computer


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IT security in business is essential, but it’s probably even more important when it comes to home computers, used by your children. The internet offers an unlimited range of images, videos and sites highly unsuitable for kids. However, it is impossible to continuously look over their shoulders. So what’s the solution? It’s MiiPC. 


MiiPC is an Android-based computer, developed to improve parental control without excessively limiting your kids’ browsing habits. It was designed to keep everything simple to parent and child alike. MiiPC is powered by a 1.2GHz processor, got 4GB of storage and runs on Android 4.2. It works with any screen, keyboard or mouse. But the best part is that this mini PC comes equipped with its own app monitoring service available in the AppStore. With this service, not only will you be able to remotely control access to applications, but you’ll also be able to view browser history and app use.  



Creator of MiiPC Young Song believes “most solutions for software blocks are too restrictive.” He explains blocking might be ideal for parents, but the most important thing is to have the remote, real-time control. A way to monitor is more useful, than outright blocking. Especially because blocking won’t result in long-term success, your kids will just go to the neighbours and play there. However, if you have the data to support your argument, your kids will be easier to convince to spend less time playing and surfing the web during homework time. 

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, 16 September 2013

Announcing Firebrand Learn - A free platform for learning.



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Today is not like any other day, today Firebrand have launched a new section of the website which could change the way the training industry works. And I for one am hugely excited....


Today we launch Learn.


Firebrand Learn is a free self study platform where you can gain access to all of Firebrands official course material, free practice tests, exercises and additional resources to prepare yourself for world renowned exams in the Information Technology, Project Management and Security sectors.


What courses are available?


Currently in Beta, the first course to be made available is the globally recognised PMI, Project Management Professional (PMP)® course. We have released the first sections of the course material today and will be adding the remaining modules over the next few months.

We will be adding the free practice tests, exercises and additional materials at a later date as we develop the Beta into November 2013.

There are then a range of courses planned for launch in 2014 including;


  • Six Sigma Green Belt
  • Six Sigma Black Belt
  • ISACA CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor®) 
  • ISACA CISM (Certified Information Security Manager®) 
  • APMG PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner 


What next?


You can start studying for the PMP certification right now, simply head to the PMP section of Learn and begin working through the course material currently available.

A list of live modules are outlined below:

Want to give feedback or Learn more?


As mentioned previously, the platform is currently in Beta so will be in continual update over the coming months. If you have any questions, or simply want to feedback on elements of the site, please feel free to get in contact.

You can email myself on ejones [at] firebrandtraining [dot] co [dot] uk

About the Author
Edward is a member of the Marketing team focussing on Technical writing and Community Engagement for Firebrand. Working in the Industry for over 2 years, Edward has experience with Microsoft Technologies including SharePoint and Windows Server and Exchnage Server. Edward writes for a variety of Blogs and Publications on all things Technology

Keeping your IT infrastructure simple


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Many small enterprises put great effort into establishing an IT infrastructure that is easy to manage, understand and maintain. However, without regular checks and monitoring they can quickly become large, slow, complex and problematic. In order to avoid the frustration and rising management costs caused by an infrastructure gone out of hand, it’s worth thinking about regular revision and keeping it simple.

Consider the following points to maintain an efficient IT infrastructure:

Retiring old servers

You’d be surprised to know how many companies leave old servers running, even when they become completely irrelevant to the day-to-day activities of the infrastructure. It may be convenient to solve problems with more hardware, but do consider the usage of existing hardware before doing so. A reduction in the number of servers will save your company time, effort and money.

Reducing application sprawl

It’s easy to lose track of all the applications running on your infrastructure and then comes the shock: You have too many running, causing you rising costs and increasing complexity. Revise all running applications, and see which ones are essential and which ones can be replaced by existing alternatives. It will do miracles.

Cabling’s enabling

Cabling often gets little consideration, if any at all. But it’s more important than you’d think. Imagine you’re installing new servers and devices, and all of a sudden your data centre became a maze of cables. Your IT team will have a real struggle with maintenance and fixing potential problems.

Relocating to the cloud

The easiest way of keeping IT infrastructure simple is by having someone else take care of it. Moving everything to the cloud will take the burden off your shoulders, but then again it’s worth doing some research on how cloud computing can help you out best.

If you are only just thinking about setting up your company’s IT infrastructure, read our article on how to optimise it. For further information, also check out Modern Infrastructure

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, 13 September 2013

Firebrand reveals winner of Free Training for Life


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Back in March, we launched our Free Training For Life competition. The prize was unlimited access to our entire portfolio of training courses, for life. 

Seven months and over 18,000 entries later, the time has come. We are happy to announce our winner, who maybe one day will set the World Record for being the most qualified person ever? 

And the winner is…

Congratulations to Mr Joseph Guthrie!

Joseph is an End-User Support Executive at The Cloud, based in St Albans. From now on he’ll be able to attend as many free Firebrand training courses and exams as he wants, for the rest of his life. 


In the following short interview Joseph speaks about his feelings, as well as his future plans, as the winner of every course imaginable.

Firebrand: How did you react to the news?

Joseph: “I couldn't believe I won Free Training For Life. It took me all weekend to finally process. It was a mixture of elation, excitement and disbelief. Once I settled down and grasped the magnitude of what I’d won it was nothing but excitement and anticipation.”

Firebrand: What does winning FTFL mean to you?

Joseph: “I see myself at director level, in about 10 years. Firebrand has given me a great opportunity to make this come true. The rest is up to me.”

Firebrand: What’s the first course you plan to attend and why?

Joseph: “The first course I’m planning to attend is the Certified Ethical Hacker course. It is something I have always wanted to do. The best analogy to hacking is Star Wars. There is the light side of the force, and the dark side of the force. Ethical hacking is the light side and that’s where I want to be.”

CEO Robert Chapman said “Free Training For Life stormed across Europe with over 18,000 entries, from 24 countries. We’re amazed at its popularity, and it showed the hunger for learning across Europe. We’re looking forward to seeing Joseph become a regular at our training centres. How many certifications can he get in the next year? That’s up to him – the doors to Firebrand are open.”

Be sure to check back for updates on Joseph’s progress.

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, 12 September 2013

Touch ID - security concerns and flaws


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Apple’s Keynote on Tuesday did not bring too many surprises. Although, the company did not reveal as many new products as expected, the most important ones, such as the iOS7 and two new iPhones, got a fair share of stage time. While most people are admiring the new colours, the slightly changed looks or the simplicity of iOS7, IT pros and tech fans are concerned about mobile security issues brought by the Touch ID.

What it is

Touch ID is the name of Apple’s new pride, a fingerprint sensor in the iPhone 5S’ home button, that unlocks the device through biometrics.  Although, the Motorola Atrix had a fingerprint scanner two years before the new iPhone, ‘innovations’ sound more exciting to many, when presented by Apple. But let’s put trends and the craze aside, and see the potential flaws and risks of the revamped home button.



Concerns and flaws

According to the Cupertino-based firm, Touch ID will store the encrypted fingerprint data on the device’s A7 ARM chip and it won’t be sent to iCloud or any of Apple’s servers. Moreover, the company also reiterated that third-party applications won’t be able to make use of the fingerprint scanner, for now. But what will happen when the day comes? What will happen when apps can somehow access the encrypted data? If Touch ID could be extracted by an exploit, you'd be facing a much bigger problem, than a simple breach. Your fingerprint would be given away, instead of your password. And let’s be honest, passwords are easier to change than fingerprints. But that's not all, as fingerprints are not only used to your new iPhone. Think of biometric passports, or entering facilities where fingerprint authentication is required.

Besides the aforementioned potential security issues, future users of the iPhone 5S may encounter further annoying flaws, such as the strictness of the fingerprint sensor. Imagine you have just moisturised your hands or scarred your finger in a kitchen accident and suddenly you are unable to access your phone. Although, the four digit passcode and password options will remain available, it surely is frustrating not to be able to use one of the top features of your new handset. 

Many will have a go at it

Until the smartphone is officially out, we can only speculate about how Touch ID will perform in everyday life, but one thing is certain: many of us will try to fool it, one way or another. However, the more concerning fact is that so will hackers. 

About the Author:       
Peter 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.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Excellent apprentice opportunities in the IT sector


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Now, that tuition fees have nearly tripled in most universities, more and more teenagers are applying for apprenticeships. In fact, this year a record 370,000 youngsters demonstrated interest in paid work placements accompanied by tailored training. According to Jaine Bolton, director of the National Apprenticeship Service, apprenticeships are now the first choice for many talented young people. As university no longer seems to be the default option, employers put greater emphasis on recruiting top talents.

According to the National Apprenticeship Service, applications are up by 32%, compared to a year ago.  In some sectors, including live events & promotions, plumbing and heating, the number of applicants for each position can be well over 30. However, the ratio of applicants to jobs is only 13:1 in the IT sector.


It is believed that inadequate careers advice at school may well be the reason for less youngsters taking on the challenge. Whether this is a valid point or not, one thing is certain: now is the time to apply for apprenticeships in the field of Information Technology.

Vacancies for ICT professionals in European countries in 2012 
Source: Empirica, CIO and HR managers survey Apr-Jun 2012

A recent research, conducted by Empirica, states that demand for ICT workers is outstripping supply. According to the industry body Data Centre Alliance (DCA), datacentre operators in Europe are having real difficulties finding suitable new employees for positions in what is possibly the least known but fastest growing area of the economy. But that’s not all. e-Skills predict that demand for big data workers will double by 2017.  

The opportunities are greater than ever, it's only up to you what you make of them. Let’s see what you can get out of an apprenticeship with Firebrand:
  • Hands-on experience
  • Training and extra qualifications
  • Excellent career prospects
  • Travel expenses paid
  • Salary

If you want to get ahead of the competition, learn new skills, broaden your knowledge of IT and get trained, take a look at Firebrand Apprenticeships.

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

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Shall we drop our data into the box?


By 


With the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy becoming widely popular among some organisations, employees are feeling more comfortable, working on their own laptops, tablets or even smartphones. But should employers feel comfortable too? Should they trust the protection offered by file-sharing and cloud services? Think of the recent Dropbox security breach resulting in a massive spam attack, and your response will surely be no.

Most people tend to use similar, if not the exact same, passwords to their online accounts, be it social media, email, banking or cloud services. To a hacker, this is almost like offering up all your sensitive information, and most importantly that of your company, on a silver platter. Sounds scary, but we tend to do it, don’t we? 



Mathew Schwartz says if you are using Dropbox, on an organisational level, you should bear the following points in mind:

  • Monitoring Use
If you decide to allow the use of file-sharing services and/or storing your data in the cloud, you might as well keep an eye on it. Continuous monitoring is the first step towards noticing all potential threats.

  • Comparing Cloud Service Security
Although, many business users have little trust in cloud security, the numbers of accounts keep on rising, but only a few have done their research. Long story short, before uploading your data to the cloud, you must evaluate, whether that particular service provider has the measures to protect your information.

  • Treat Dropbox As A Public Repository
Employees should be informed that until Dropbox steps up its security game, they should consider all their uploaded information public. Almost as if, it was published to the likes of Google+ or Facebook.

  • The risks of insider theft
Insider attacks are listed among the most feared threats, simply because they are hard to detect. Imagine malicious insiders uploading sensitive data to Dropbox, and taking it all with them, when they get themselves fired. You must always have access to your data; therefore, using a centrally managed file-sharing service should be a no-brainer.

From the above points it seems obvious, that cloud security should be absolutely essential to every user. Luckily, many well-secured cloud providers are available. However, their services can be expensive. But, then again, consider the costs of a secure cloud, as opposed to the potential costs caused by a breach. You know it's money well spent. 

About the Author:       
Peter 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.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

The excellent US adventures of Jez and Begoo


By 


If you've been with us for more than 7 years, you are rewarded with an extra 4 weeks of holiday, on top of the 5 weeks you are entitled to. That’s the concept of the sabbatical leave at Firebrand, and this is the story of two fine gentlemen, making the most of it.

Bernd and Jeremy joined Firebrand in 2005 and 2006, respectively. They are both senior members of Firebrand’s global sales division and also fans of steak. Having been good friends for years they decided to spend their well-deserved one-month holiday together, on a road trip around the Wild West. 

“In the beginning there was a car. A car and 2 men. One Brit, one German…Together, they set off on a 4 week road trip around the USA.” – July 24, The Beginning

Although, our heroes encountered an uneasy start in Dublin, namely a 3-hour delay, they have arrived to Chicago in one piece and were ready to be acquainted with their new companion, a snow-white Jeep.

After some sightseeing, some satisfying dining and Jez purchasing a 56° golf wedge to commemorate their adventures, the boys were finally ready to hit the road. And what could have been a more perfect start than a drive on Route 66? Our adventurers headed out to Pontiac, Illinois to check out the museum, named after the legendary route.


An actual Pontiac, in Pontiac


Before reaching their next big pit stop in Nashville, Jez and Begoo called it a night in Indiana. 

States counter: 2

The next morning marked the very first occasion of something fun. Jez hitting golf balls into each state, starting with Kentucky.  

Jez hitting a ball into Kentucky

Before the sun descended, B&J (not Ben & Jerry) made it to Tennessee, where a new set of adventures awaited them. 

States counter: 4

The Johnny Cash Museum, the Jack Daniel’s distillery, paying tribute to Elvis in Memphis and of course hitting some golf balls. Been there, done that. Tennessee’s been good to our travelers, but it was time to move on. Next up: Driving through Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana to Texas!

Begoo in front of the JD distillery 

States counter: 8

Cowboys, guns and massive steaks. The Lone Star State didn’t disappoint. Besides the biggest clichés, the guys also got to see the remarkable Alamo Mission in San Antonio. After visiting the famous site, Jez and Begoo enjoyed San Antonio’s hospitality and nightlife before making their way to Roswell, New Mexico.

The Alamo

Before reaching the famous “UFO crash site”, the boys had to say goodbye to their dazzling white chariot, due to oil issues. Luckily, a worthy replacement had been appointed and they were able to carry on without a major disruption. 520 miles later, they were finally in New Mexico.

States counter: 9

Alien 'relics' in Roswell, NM

Roswell adventures, excellent pie and golf. New Mexico had fun written all over it, but Tombstone, Arizona was calling, YEEEE-HAA!

States counter: 10

Tombstone, AZ

After experiencing the truly amazing wilderness of the West, Utah and Colorado were next on our traveler’s agenda. 

States counter: 12

Wild Western Wonder

With only a couple days left of the great adventure, the boys turned North-East to make their way back to Chicago through Wyoming, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.  

States counter: 18 

Needless to say, they checked out all the must-sees of these states, such as Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota or the world’s largest ball of twine in Minnesota. 

Mt. Rushmore

18 states, like 18 holes on a golf course. Coincidence? We’ll never know, but we do know is that Jez and Begoo came back to the office with a huge smile and tons of memories. 


About the Author:       
Peter 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.