Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Top 10 IT Certifications of 2017

Top 10 IT Certifications 2017


With 2017 fast approaching we've listed our Top 10 certifications that will best equip you with the skills you need. This list covers certifications that range across various technologies and develop different skills such as security, networking, project management and cloud.


Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Get the New Microsoft Certifications for 2017

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

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

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

Your fastest route to new Microsoft Certifications


MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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



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

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

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

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

Why get Certified with Firebrand Training?


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

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

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

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







Thursday, 3 November 2016

Firebrand named in Top 20 IT Training Companies of 2016 for a 7th time!


Earlier today Firebrand Training were listed in the Training Industry’s Top 20 IT Training Companies of 2016! This excellent news marks the 7th consecutive year Firebrand have been named in this prestigious list and celebrates our continued commitment to being the best.



The 2016 Top IT Training Companies list recognises the most prominent names in IT training,” said Ken Taylor, President of the Training Industry Inc. “These companies provide some of the highest quality corporate training available, often adapting their offerings to meet the specific training needs of their customers”.

Training Companies across the world were scored against the following challenging criteria:

  • 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 IT training market is one of the largest and most constantly evolving segments within the training industry” said Chief Executive Officer, Doug Howard. “These organisations are the key players in this space in part because they have demonstrated the ability to innovate and respond to market needs.

James Lapwood, the UK Marketing Manager of Firebrand Training 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, accelerated training. Winning this award for the seventh year in a row is a terrific reward for all those that have so worked hard to provide great training for all of our students.

This is the second award Firebrand have won this year. In August, Firebrand were named Accredited Training Centre of the Year by EC-Council for a record-breaking 8th consecutive time. 

Friday, 21 October 2016

Twitter, Spotify and Reddit taken offline by a DDoS attack. Is anyone safe!?

Distributed Denial of Serivce (DDoS) has struck again, this time knocking some of the largest websites offline including the likes of Twitter, Spotify and Reddit.

Domain Name Servers (DNS) act as the Internet’s phone book. They facilitate your request to go to a certain webpage and make sure you are taken to the right place. So, when the DNS provider that gives you access to some of the world’s largest sites is hacked by a DDoS attack, you and I can't access those websites.

The attack happened early this morning. Some websites are coming back for some users, but problem looks by no means to be fully resolved.

Dyn posted the following update on its website: “Starting at 11:10 UTC on October 21th-Friday 2016 we began monitoring and mitigating a DDoS attack against our Dyn Managed DNS infrastructure. Some customers may experience increased DNS query latency and delayed zone propagation during this time. Updates will be posted as information becomes available".

Here’s a list of websites that readers have told us they are having trouble:
  • Reddit
  • Spotify
  • Esty
  • Twitter
  • PayPal
  • Yammer
  • Wired.com
  • Yelp
  • Starbucks
  • Airbnb
As these businesses slowly return to functioning as they should, a lot of us may just shrug it off and return to re-tweeting and streaming music. But often these attacks are used as 'smokescreens' to hack your personal and confidential information. So stay up to date with how this story unfolds. 

The frequency of DDoS attacks have sky-rocketed in the past couple of years and this attack only confirms this reality. Having increased 125% over the past year and with more than 2,000 attacks observed worldwide by Arbor Networks, its time you secure your business.

The size and duration of these attacks is also on the rise with a 35% increase in attack duration and a 73% increase in attack size since last year. Worryingly, the average size of an attack is 986Mbps, enough to take most organisations completely offline.



Make sure you're not next

Firebrand Training are offering a DDoS Defence in a Day training course aimed at teaching you the skills to avoid being the next headline of a DDoS attack. We’ll educate you on the growing threat and ramifications of a DDoS attack.

In just one day you'll:
  1. Understand a DDoS attack, how it's executed and the implications to your business
  2. Experience demonstrations of DDoS attacks and their effects in real-time
  3. Learn the tools to detect, analyse and mitigate DDoS attacks
DDoS attacks have become commonplace. Learn the skills to protect your business before it’s too late. 




Get the skills to defend against a DDoS attack!

Falling victim to a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack can cost your business £1.2 million in damages. In the past year alone, DDoS attacks have increased 125% in frequency and 35% in attack duration and the average DDoS attack is now large enough to throw most organisations completely offline.

It’s time you ask yourself, how well can I defend myself and my business from a DDoS attack?

To help you answer this and get educated on the growing threat and consequences of a DDoS attack, Firebrand have launched a one-day DDoS Defence training course in the heart of London this December. In this short, accelerated training you’ll:
  • Understand a DDoS attack, how it’s executed and the implications to your business.
  • Experience demonstrations of DDoS attacks and their effects in real-time
  • Learn the tools to detect, analyse and mitigate DDoS attacks
If you're looking to avoid the relentless, everyday threats of a DDoS attack, this is the event for you. You’ll leave us with a clear understanding of what a DDoS threat is and how you can bolster your defence against such attacks.

 What is a DDoS attack and why do I need to know about it?


A DDoS attack is an attempt to overwhelm an online service with traffic from multiple sources. In short, it prevents legitimate users from accessing a server’s information or services because it is overloaded or ‘flooded’ with requests.

The ramifications of this kind of attack on your business are huge. The costs of being forced offline can exceed £100,000 per hour. If you’re not as fortunate, costs may escalate up into the millions. This was found in a survey where 21% of IT professionals said a DDoS attack would cost their business more than £50,000 per hour. Following this, 52% of consumers are found to lose trust in your organisation as a result of the outage.

The potential repercussions can include; financial losses, reputational damage, consumer agitation and legal issues. 

On our DDoS Defence in a day event, you will not only learn what DDoS is and why it should top your chief of security's list of fears, but you'll also learn the real-life practical skills you can use to defend your business.  

Think this won’t happen to you?


There’s no doubt that DDoS attacks are now commonplace yet there is still a clear disconnect between people acknowledging the risk of DDoS and doing something to mitigate it. With 124,000 DDoS attacks observed worldwide each week, the failure to prepare yourself for this threat means it’s a matter of when and not if you join the long list of organisations thrown offline.

And it’s not just small businesses that need to be worried. The BBC, MI5, HSBC and PayPal are all recent victims of a DDoS attack. The damages range from being forced offline for several hours to millions in damages. PayPal experienced 3.5 million in damages and had 100 workers spend three weeks repairing the damage following a DDoS attack.

Here’s (some of) what you’ll cover:

  • Demonstrations of DoS attack tools and their effect
  • Using simple widely available tools to launch DoS attacks to highlight the skill levels required
  • The concepts of DDoS; Moving from a single source to multiple sources, amplification and reflection
  • Demonstration of Botnet launching a DDoS attack, controlled from a single source
  • Mitigation measures for DoS and DDoS, including services provided and methods used
  • NCA national DDoS strategy

What you’ll get:

In addition to excellent training from one of our most experienced cyber security experts, you’ll receive:
  • Five free EC-Council CSCU exam vouchers worth £495: The Certified Secure Computer User exam is an easy way to benchmark the IT security knowledge of you and your staff. These will be provided before the course.
  • Seven hours of learning towards maintaining your certifications with CPEs: Contribute to Continual Professional Education for maintaining certifications from IT security vendors including EC-Council, (ISC)2 and ISACA.
  • Courseware and tools: All course materials including access to the tools demonstrated will be provided for future use.
  • Lunch, snacks and refreshments: These will be provided throughout the day. 

Who should attend?

This course, which combines both theory and practical examples is ideally suited to both technicians and managers responsible for cyber security. Whether you're defending on the front line or managing strategy, this course will be of benefit in preventing DoS.

Want to find out more?

If you’re interested in keeping your business safe then join us on December 20th for a one-day training event in Central London. 

If you want to find out more or purchase tickets, please visit our course page

If you have any unanswered questions then just drop us an email at one@firebrandtraining.co.uk



Monday, 3 October 2016

Massive changes to Microsoft Certifications

Just yesterday Microsoft surprised the IT Pro industry with a complete revamp of their technical certifications. They launched five new Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) and Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) certifications, three new Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certifications and will be retiring 13 existing certs. It was also announce that the way you certify is changing, a change that is important you understand.  

This blog will look to dissect the changes made by helping you understand what’s new, what’s retiring, how you can achieve these new certifications and the process of recertification.


What’s new?


New Certifications:
On September 26th Microsoft launched eight new certifications, and announced the retirement of 13 older certifications and changed the way you recertify. Let's take a look at what this means for you and your certifications:

The new certifications have been listed below:

  • MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure - focusing on skills validation for Windows Server and Microsoft Azure 
  • MCSE: Mobility - focusing on skills validation for Windows Client and Enterprise Mobility Suite 
  • MCSE: Data Management and Analysis - focusing on skills validation for both on-premises and cloud-based Microsoft data products and services 
  • MCSE: Productivity - focusing on skills validation for Office 365, SharePoint, Exchange, and Skype for Business 
  • MCSD: App Builder - focusing on skills validation for Web and Mobile app development 
  • MCSA: Cloud Platform - focusing on expertise in Microsoft cloud-related technologies 
  • MCSA: Web Applications - focusing on expertise at implementing modern web apps  
  • MCSA: Universal Windows Platform - focusing on implementing Universal Windows Platform apps that offer a compelling user experience 

The new certification process:

In addition to the new certifications, Microsoft have now changed the way you certify. This is a throwback to the past where historically you could certify via a series of elective exams, rather than a set pathway.

Attaining a new MCSE/MCSD certifications can be achieved by holding the prerequisite MCSA certification and passing one elective exam from a choice of 5 to 10 options. Effectively Microsoft have now made it easier to secure MCSE and/or MCSD certifications as there is just one exam to pass, where previously there would have been two. Furthermore, all new MCSA exams require you to pass two elective exams from up to a choice of five.

MCSA: Cloud Platform
Step 1. To earn the MCSA: Cloud Platform, you must pass two of the following exams.
Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions
Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions
Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions
Not yet available
Designing and Implementing Cloud Data Platform Solutions
Not yet available
Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions
Not yet available

MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure
Step 1. Earn one of the following Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certifications:
MCSA: Cloud Platform
Step 2. Pass one of the following elective exams.
Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions
Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions
Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions
Not yet available
Designing and Implementing Cloud Data Platform Solutions
Not yet available
Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions
Not yet available
Securing Windows Server 2016
Not yet available
Not yet available
Designing and Implementing a Server Infrastructure
Implementing an Advanced Server Infrastructure
Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud
Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud
This MCSE certification can be re-earned every calendar year by passing an additional elective exam.

MCSA: Web Applications
Step 1. To earn the MCSA: Web Applications, you must pass two of the following exams.
Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3
Developing ASP.NET MVC Web Applications

MCSA: Universal Windows Platform
Step 1. To earn the MCSA: Universal Windows Platform, you must pass two of the following exams.
Programming in C#
Developing Mobile Apps
Not yet available

MCSD: App Builder
Step 1. Earn one of the following Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certifications:
MCSA: Web Applications
MCSA: Universal Windows Platform
Step 2. Pass one of the following elective exams.
Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions
Developing Microsoft Azure and Web Services
Developing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Core Solutions
Developing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Advanced Solutions
Universal Windows Platform – App Architecture and UX/UI
Not yet available
Universal Windows Platform – App Data, Services, and Coding Patterns
Not yet available
Administering Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server
Take MVA course
Software Testing with Visual Studio
Not yet available
Delivering Continuous Value with Visual Studio Application Lifecycle Management
Not yet available
This MCSD certification can be re-earned every calendar year by passing an additional elective exam.

MCSE: Mobility
Step 1. Earn your Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): Windows 10 certification.
Step 2. Pass one of the following elective exams.


Deploying Windows Desktops and Enterprise Applications
70-695
Administering System Center Configuration Manager and Intune
70-696
Planning for and Managing Devices in the Enterprise
Not yet available
70-398
This MCSE certification can be re-earned every calendar year by passing an additional elective exam.

MCSE: Data Management and Analytics
Step 1. Earn one of the following Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certifications:
Step 2. Pass one of the following elective exams.
Designing and Implementing Cloud Data Platform Solutions
Not yet available
Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions
Not yet available
Developing Microsoft SQL Server Databases
Designing Database Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server
Implementing Data Models and Reports with Microsoft SQL Server
Designing Business Intelligence Solutions with Microsoft SQL Server
This MCSE certification can be re-earned every calendar year by passing an additional elective exam.

MCSE: Productivity


Step 2. Pass one of the following elective exams.


Designing and Deploying Microsoft Exchange Server 2016
20345-1
70-345

20345-2
Managing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2016
Not yet available
Deploying Enterprise Voice with Skype for Business 2015
Not yet available
Core Solutions of Microsoft Skype for Business 2015
Core Solutions of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013
Advanced Solutions of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013
Core Solutions of Microsoft Exchange Server 2013
Advanced Solutions of Microsoft Exchange Server 2013
This MCSD certification can be re-earned every calendar year by passing an additional elective exam.


The recertification process:


Recertification is dead. The requirement of passing a recertification exam every two to three years to keep you credential in the Active section of your transcript has been scrapped.

You will no longer need to recertify the new MCSE/MCSD credentials, they remain on the Active section of your transcript once gained. You do however have the option to re-earn your certification every year by passing an additional elective exam. Whilst not a requirement this validates both your growth in Microsoft product knowledge, keeping pace with rapid advancements of Microsoft technologies – where new features are launched weekly.

As a result of this switch, recertification exams are retiring will be retiring. Multiple new electives will launch on a yearly cycle to ensure you can re-earn your certification relevant to the latest technology upgrades.

Retiring certifications:


Additional to the 8 new certifications, Microsoft have announced the retirement of 13 current certifications. The list of certification set to retire is listed below:
  • MCSE: Server infrastructure
  • MCSE: Private Cloud
  • MCSE: Data Platform
  • MCSE: Business Intelligence
  • MCSE: Enterprise Devices and Apps
  • MCSE: SharePoint
  • MCSE: Communication
  • MCSE: Messaging
  • MCSD: Application Lifecycle Management
  • MCSD: Universal Windows Platform
  • MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect
  • MCSD: Web Applications
  • MCSD: SharePoint Applications

Although these 13 certs are set to retire on the 31st of March 2017, some of the exams that make up these certifications will not. What this means is that although the Microsoft certification portfolio has been restructured, you will still be able to take some of those same exams, just as an elective for a new MCSE/MCSD certification.

You May Have a New Certification Already!


Microsoft have sought to make the transition between certifications as smooth as possible as they “recognise your efforts in keeping your existing certifications up-to-date”. If you currently hold an active MCSE and/or MCSD certification from the list below, then you’ll automatically earn the corresponding new MCSE or MCSD certification. You won’t even be required to pass any more exams!

  • MCSE: Server infrastructure
  • MCSE: Private Cloud
  • MCSE: Data Platform
  • MCSE: Business Intelligence
  • MCSE: Enterprise Devices and Apps
  • MCSE: SharePoint
  • MCSE: Communication
  •  MCSE: Messaging
  •  MCSD: Universal Windows Platform
  • MCSD: Web Applications
  • MCSD: SharePoint Applications


Additionally, if you have completed a qualifying elective exam since January 1st 2016, then you will be eligible for the new MCSE or MCSD certifications without taking any additional exams, on the condition that you meet all the exam requirements.

If you currently have an inactive MCSE or MCSD certification, you have the choice of taking a recertification exam or a new exam from the electives list corresponding to that specialist certification.

Below we’ve offered some practical examples of certifications you may hold and the new certification equivalents you may have just earned:

Old Certifications
New Certifications
MCSA: Universal Windows Platform + MCSD: Application Builder
MCSE: Cloud Platform
MCSE: Cloud Platform
MCSE: Productivity
MCSE: Data Management and Analytics
MCSA: Cloud Platform + MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure
MCSA: Web Applications + MCSD: Application Builder