Monday, 30 November 2015

Firebrand named in the Top 20 IT training companies in the world for the sixth time

 By Sarah Morgan



Firebrand has been named one of the Top 20 IT training companies in the world for the sixth year running by TrainingIndustry.com.

The Top 20 IT training companies 2015 list recognises companies over the past year, that have displayed excellence in the following areas:


  • Leadership and innovation in IT training
  • Breadth of IT training and delivery methods offered
  • Company size and growth potential
  • Quality and number of clients/users
  • Geographic reach
  • Awards, recognition, and competitive differentiation


The final category is a new addition from previous years and is particularly applicable to Firebrand’s accelerated learning format, which separates Firebrand from other training providers. This, combined with the outstanding quality of training, is why customers continually return to Firebrand.

Emma Seaman, Managing Director of Firebrand Training UK said:

Being named one of the Top 20 IT training companies in the world is an amazing achievement and shows Firebrand’s continued growth and commitment to high quality training. Achieving the award six years in a row is a terrific reward for everyone within the company who has worked so hard to provide great training for everyone who sits one of our courses.

This is now the seventh award in as many months for Firebrand, demonstrating how high standards are being achieved, maintained and recognised across so many areas of the business.

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

Cyber security red alert on Cyber Monday


Cyber Monday creates an ideal opportunity for malicious hackers to attack your business systems. As company servers are hammered by millions of genuine requests from eager buyers, the opportunity for a hacker to breach your system undetected increases. The consequences of which can be severe, considering the financial and public image implications a single breach can create. 

The current strain being exerted on IT infrastructure is strikingly similar to a common hacking technique. The tactic involves a single hacker targeting a network, followed by hundreds of hackers joining the attack to create a diversion. The noise created by the hundreds of additional hacker presents a smoke screen, enabling the initial hacker to breach the system. 

Attacks like these can collapse your infrastructure, forcing websites and whole servers offline. They are becoming all too common as cyber criminal look to cash in on the details stolen. 


Protecting your assets on Cyber Monday 


Today, on Cyber Monday, you should remain vigilant, especially if you're an online retailer. Loyal customers are currently creating the diversionary tactic which could allow a hacker to breach your system. If your attention is being distracted by sales, you should start focusing on security. 

A single breach could expose your data to criminals, or take your website offline for hours. Not only will you miss out on the valuable revenue created by these marketing ploys, the financial ramifications of a breach could collapse your business. Take TalkTalk for example, November’s breach of the telecoms giant is estimated to cost the organisation in the region of £30-35 million. 

Take the following steps to protect your assets on this busy day: 
  • Ensure you follow routine daily security checks – do not let your IT team be distracted by sales
  • Segment systems on separate protected networks – this tactic ensures that if one system or network is breached, an attacker won’t then have free roam to take down multiple systems simultaneously 
  • Increase monitoring of endpoint devices – pay regular and close attention to public facing systems to ensure any suspicious activity doesn’t go undetected. Now is the time to be paranoid, it’s the ideal time for an attack 

Future planning 


Whilst Cyber Monday is high risk, it’s important to prepare for the long term. A cyber-attack can happen at any time, it’s vital you and your team have the security skills implement a long term strategy. 

Investing in training employees is critical. Certification courses like the Certified Ethical Hacker and CISSP will develop the technical and strategic skills required to protect your company assets. You can learn to attack your own systems to identify weaknesses or devise a comprehensive and water tight security system. Stay vigilant.

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. 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.
award2

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."

AWARD1
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.