Thursday, 21 January 2016

Top 5 certifications to kick-start your IT career in 2016


 By Sarah Morgan

The New Year is a time for resolutions and career aspirations. In 2016, if yours is to embark on a career in IT, getting certified is a brilliant way to do this. IT certifications prove and refine your skills and knowledge in IT. This will help you get the early breakthrough your IT career needs, giving it a kick-start for 2016. 
Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong / freedigitalphotos.net

We’ve researched and complied the five best entry level certifications available and outlined the knowledge and skills each certification offers you. These cover the basics in IT hardware and software, networking, Windows Server and software development. These are highly popular and rewarding areas of IT and can be excellent starting points for many IT careers. Find out how they can be helpful for you and your future.

1. CompTIA A+


CompTIA’s A+ certification is the starting point of many great IT careers. It gives you a fundamental understanding of basic hardware, software, and networking concepts. A huge benefit of the A+ is the practical skills you learn through hands-on experience. This is critical early-on in your career, building the foundations of knowledge you’ll need now and in the future.

The A+ is a highly regarded entry level certification throughout the IT industry and is often a requirement for many entry-level IT job roles. This is the case in companies like Canon, HP and Dell for example. It is attractive to employers partly because it’s vendor neutral, making it applicable to whatever technology your employer is using, and because of the wide range of skills it covers. These skills will be the most up-to-date available due to CompTIA’s curriculum update in 2015. 

After achieving your A+ certification, you’ll be able conduct maintenance and setup of PCs, laptops, printers, mobile devices, network and operating systems. These versatile skills will help you secure your first job in IT like Computer Technician and IT Support, averaging salaries of between £20,000-£25,000 (all average salaries from itjobswatch.co.uk). 



2. CompTIA Network+


After your A+, you can advance on to CompTIA’s Network+ which, like it’s prerequisite, is recognised globally throughout the IT industry. This is the perfect certification to steer your career into networking as you’ll learn to configure and control vendor-neutral networking technologies. 

You’ll learn to manage, protect, maintain and configure wired and wireless devices in a network. It is these specialised networking skills that can give you an edge early in your career, helping you stand out from others starting their IT careers. You’ll be able to apply for roles like Network Support Technician with an average salary between £25,000-£30,000.



3. Microsoft MTA: Windows Server Administration Fundamentals


The Microsoft Technology Associate (MTAs) certifications are aimed at the entry-level in areas like networking, database, cloud and software development fundamentals. The MTA: Windows Server Administration Fundamentals teaches you the basics of installing and managing a server. This MTA is good for those looking to secure their first job in IT because there are no prerequisites. Some basic prior knowledge of Windows Server’s role in businesses would help your learning, but is not necessary. The MTA: Windows Server Administration Fundamentals has the potential to open many doors for you in 2016 because of the fundamental server it teaches you, especially if you’ve had difficulty finding an introductory IT role.

The MTA: Windows Server Administration Fundamentals benefits from Microsoft’s hugely recognisable brand name, and focuses on a hugely popular technology. You’ll learn about installing servers, server roles, active directory, server storage, server performance management, and server maintenance. The MTA Windows Server Administration Fundamentals can help you on your way to an entry-level Server Support role with a £26,000 average salary. 


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net




4. Microsoft MTA Software Development Fundamentals


If you’re looking for a software development role creating and managing web and desktop applications, the MTA Software Development Fundamentals is a great certification to get you started. Like other MTAs, it has no prerequisites and requires no on-the-job experience. It is recommended that you have some basic prior knowledge of C# or Microsoft Visual Basic .NET as this will help your learning. Again, this is not compulsory. 

You’ll build an understanding of core programming, object-oriented programming, general software development, web applications, desktop applications, and databases. It covers all aspects of software development giving you all the knowledge you’ll need to get started in software development roles. The MTA can prepare you for a Trainee or Junior Software Engineer role with an average salary between £20,000-£25,000.


5. Cisco CCNA (Routing & Switching)


If you’re interested in networking, Cisco’s CCNA (Routing & Switching) is another excellent starting point. However, it does require you to be familiar with networks and have a minimum of six month’s working experience. Once you’re certified though, you’ll be in the perfect position for you to start growing your career in networking. 

The CCNA looks specifically at Cisco technology, which is dominant in the networking and switching industry with around 60% market share according to Statista. It demonstrates you have the routing and switching skills required for network support positions, building your skills in installing, configuring, operating and troubleshooting networks. After getting CCNA certified you’ll be able to advance into roles like Network Administrator or Network Supervisor with average salaries between £35,000 to £40,000, really giving your IT career a boost for 2016.


Getting certified is always a great way to boost your career in IT, worth considering at any stage of your career. Getting certified demonstrates and improves your skills whilst keeping them current. It can also make you better at you job on a day-to-day basis, and could come with a pay rise of 10 percent or more according to roberthalf.com. Discover 200+ accelerated courses that can help you in the area most suitable for you.

 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, 19 January 2016

Twitter down worldwide

 By Sarah Morgan

From around 8:30am GMT on Tuesday morning, users of Twitter have been reporting issues accessing their accounts on both desktops and mobile apps. Users are being shown "Something is technically wrong. Thanks for noticing—we're going to fix it up and have things back to normal soon." The outage has been reported primarily across the UK, France and Germany, with some reports in Japan and Russia.

Photograph from twitter.com


Some users reported an intermittent return to service at around 10:00am GMT but performance issues have been continuing throughout Tuesday.

 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, 8 January 2016

Top 10 Cloud Certifications to target in 2016

 By Sarah Morgan


The mass adoption of cloud technologies continues to accelerate at an ever increasing rate. The past 12 months has seen an explosion in the XaaS market as leading cloud platforms - Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS - diversify their product portfolio to meet consumer demand.

This transition to cloud has created huge demand for IT Pros with the skills to make the most of these new technologies and services. At present, WANTED Analytics estimate the UK's cloud employment market at 446,000. Where demand for skills appears, training and certification follow suit. The end result, 2015 has seen the launch of many new cloud certifications from all the major players including Microsoft, Cisco and CompTIA.

So if you're looking to enter the industry, or adapt your skills alongside your companies cloud adoption, we've compiled a list of the top 10 Cloud Certifications to target in 2016. They cover the in-demand skills across development, security, virtualisation and beyond. In no particular order, they are:



1. (ISC)2 Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)


One of the major concerns for businesses when migrating to the cloud is the potential security risks to their key data. This means there is new demand for cloud security skills, as businesses look to make the transition as safe and smooth as possible.

(ISC)2’s CCSP certification gives you these skills. It covers how to protect your data in areas like cloud infrastructure security, architectural concepts and design requirements. The CCSP is modern and outward-facing, meaning it includes all the latest cloud security trends and topics. This top-level cloud security certification will give you all the skills you need to manage the security of your chosen cloud platform in 2016.


Image courtesy of www.perspecsys.com / flickr.com / Perspecsys Photos

2. CompTIA Cloud Essentials


If 2016 is the year you’re looking to specialise in cloud technology, CompTIA’s Cloud Essentials is a great way to get started and learn the fundamentals of all its capacities. 

It’s a platform neutral qualification, meaning what you’ll learn will be highly transferable. This will include the basics of the cloud in a business environment and the value it can have. Plus, the technical aspects of cloud types, and the basics behind a successful adoption of cloud technology. 

3. Microsoft MCSE: Private Cloud


Microsoft’s MCSE: Private Cloud certification will teach you the skills to create and manage a private cloud using Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 R2. You must already be certified in either MCSA: Windows Server 2012 or 2008. 

You’ll develop critical skills like how to configure a private cloud environment, how to optimise your cloud infrastructure and maintaining your cloud infrastructure, as well as everything else in between. 


4. Microsoft MCSA: Windows Server 2012


Microsoft’s current offering of their omnipresent Windows Server certification prepares you to manage Windows Server 2012, regardless of whether the server is on premise or a virtual instance in a public or private cloud.  

The MCSA: Windows Server 2012 will give you the skills you need to develop and manage Windows Server 2012. You’ll cover topics like, managing active directory services, implementing advanced network services and implementing group policy. 



5. Microsoft MCSA: Linux on Azure


The highly anticipated MCSA: Linux on Azure certification arrived at the end of 2015 and is unique in giving Linux specialists the ability to operate on Azure, taking their skills into the cloud. With more than 25% of Microsoft’s 1 million Azure servers running on Linux, the credential will be highly sought after in 2016.

You’ll learn to deploy, configure host and manage Linux websites on Azure, taking advantage of Azure’s key features like Windows PowerShell and Xplat-CLI. You’ll also learn to implement Azure Active Directory, virtual machines and virtual networks, all incorporating Linux.


6. Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certified Solutions Architect


Split into the AWS's Certified Solutions Architect – Associate and AWS's Certified Solutions Architect – Professional, this is the best path of certifications to get you the skills you need to operate on an Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud platform. Amazon Web Services has established itself as an industry leader in cloud technology.

Get started with AWS in 2016 with the Associate certification, cover the fundamentals in designing efficient applications as well as deployment, security and troubleshooting.

Refine your AWS skills with the Professional certification and make your AWS operations more efficient for your business. You’ll learn about costing, scalability, cloud migration and managing complex, large scale cloud operations.


7. CompTIA Cloud+


The Cloud+ is another platform neutral certification from CompTIA that can set you apart by giving you skills useful in many different cloud environments. Whilst you couldn’t call it an introductory level certification, as it is recommended that you have 2 years IT industry experience, it does introduce you to the cloud industry.

You do not need to have any previous cloud certifications behind you to sit the CompTIA Cloud+. It covers cloud concepts and models, virtualisation, network management, security and business continuity. With this wide variety of topics, you get a well-rounded set of cloud skills, meaning it’s a great way to get started with a career in cloud technology in 2016.


Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/Sira Anamwong

8. VMware® vSphere: Fast Track [V6]


With VMware’s vSphere 6, you can convert underutilised physical servers into virtual servers that offer high availability, flexibility, reduced consumption and increased speed and efficiency. The VMware® vSphere: Fast Track [V6] certification gives you all the skills you need to manage a vSphere setup in your business.

It is recommended that you have at least 6 month’s experience of working with vSphere 6, as the curriculum is comprehensive and penetrative in its coverage of the vSphere’s areas. These include the creation of virtual machines and virtual networks, vCenter Server, managing virtual storage and installing vSphere components. This makes it much easier for you to link vSphere with your chosen cloud platform.


9. Microsoft MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect


Microsoft’s MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect course helps you develop the skills to migrate your existing servers to Azure. It’ll also give you the skills to design websites and other types of infrastructure in Microsoft Azure and to take full advantage of all Azure’s capabilities. 

It’ll introduce you to the capacities of Azure and then explain its full potential in topics like, hosting web applications, storing SQL data, designing cloud applications and implementing automation. These skills will be well-rounded, helping you get ahead with Azure in 2016.


10. Cisco CCNA Cloud


Cisco’s CCNA Cloud is brilliant at introducing you to networking, combined with specialisations in cloud technology. There are no strict prerequisites, although it is recommended you have at least a year’s experience working in a data centre or cloud network environment.

With a focus on preparing you for on-the-job situations, the certification covers Cisco Cloud fundamentals helping you to fully understand its structure and essentials. Plus, you’ll be able to perform invaluable administration and maintenance tasks. This includes management of software applications like Cisco UCS Director, Cisco Prime Service Catalog and Virtual Application Container Services. 

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

Monday, 21 December 2015

10 best IT certifications for 2016

 By Sarah Morgan


1. (ISC)2’s CISSP


The Cyber security skills gap has been around for years now, and shows no sign of closing. The Financial Times described it as the “largest human capital shortage in the world”. (ISC)2’s CISSP continues to establish itself as the top IT certification and global standard in the field and is the perfect certification to elevate you into top level roles. It’s also now required by a vast amount of top jobs. 

It is so coveted because it covers the elite skills in both technical and managerial aspects of security including security engineering, risk management, access management, software development security and network security.

The demand for IT security will continue to soar in 2016 and getting CISSP certified will continue to be a fantastic way to reach the top security roles within the growing industry.


2. EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker


EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker certification can be directly used to prevent the cyber-attacks that have been making headline news recently. Ethical hackers carry out processes to simulate a real life cyber-attack on a business’s network. The difference being that when they find a weakness that could be maliciously exploited, they use their skills to protect businesses and close the gaps in security.

Because of these high profile attacks, such as JP Morgan Chase who recently lost 76 million data records, EC-Council’s CEH is continuing to be in high demand. This means the CEH is going to continue to grow to become a massive certification in the IT industry in 2016. 


Image courtesy of EC-Council

3. Cisco’s CCNA (Routing and Switching)


The skills gap is not exclusive to security. In a recent TEK Systems survey, 81% of bosses from all areas of IT say they have difficulty finding the right talent. Another of the most in demand areas is networking.

Cisco’s CCNA (Routing and Switching) is the best certification for you to get into a networking role and teaches you all the fundamental skills in areas like IP addressing, network device security, IP routing and LAN switching technologies.

The CCNA is not just a great certification to get into networking, but is a great certification to get into IT. This is because these skills are versatile, and networking is applicable in many other areas of IT. Getting CCNA certified in 2016 is a great move to get your IT and networking career moving in one of the best directions possible.


4. Microsoft Specialist: Windows 10


The release of Windows 10 back in July was probably one of the most exciting IT events of 2015. Certifications to accompany it, helping you get skilled up on the operating system are rapidly being released.

The primary certification for Windows 10 in 2016 is likely to be the new Microsoft Specialist: Windows 10. Following Microsoft Official Curriculum, the course will take you right through from installing Windows 10, to using all of Windows 10’s advanced capabilities. These include managing user profiles and state virtualisation, managing Hyper-V and managing devices using Enterprise Mobility Solutions and Enterprise Desktop.

With further development to the content and refinement as more and more people get certified, Microsoft Specialist: Windows 10 will be one of the certifications to get excited about in 2016.

Image courtesy of Microsoft

5. AXELOS PRINCE 2 AGILE


Brilliant managers who complete successful projects at a high rate are hard to find. This is why project management skills are useful in almost any workplace at almost any time, particularly in IT.

The PRINCE2 Agile certification from Axelos is one of the most comprehensive in the world as it combines two of the most popular project management methodologies. PRINCE2, the most popular methodology in the UK, along with Agile, give you unrivaled breadth of project management knowledge from a certification.

Learn the highly transferable skills that the PRINCE2 and Agile methodologies include, and you’ll be much more able to move up the careers ladder, completing successful projects at a higher rate. 


6. The Open Group TOGAF® 9.1 Certification


1000s of companies worldwide have implemented TOGAF skills to improve their productivity and the UK leads this trend accounting for 16% of all TOGAF certified professionals. Continuing this trend, many businesses are now making a TOGAF certification a requirement for a wide variety of roles in IT. 

This trend of more businesses adopting Enterprise Architecture skills like those in TOGAF, means getting certified in 2016 will be a great move for almost anyone in IT. Gaining skills and knowledge in the Architecture Development Method (ADM), The Enterprise Continuum and the TOGAF Resource Base can help you get a better return from your IT operations, helping things run faster, cheaper and reducing risk.


7. Microsoft MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect


Cloud technology made huge strides in 2015, becoming much more important to businesses and the momentum will continue throughout 2016 and beyond. In the coming year we’re likely to see an increase in the capacity and reliability of cloudops - analytics that will allow cloud performance to be monitored more closely and predict when it is likely to suffer.

Microsoft’s Azure is at the forefront of the cloud movement. If you haven’t migrated your existing on premise infrastructure to Azure (or another cloud offering), 2016 is a great time to get your business’s architecture prepared for the future.

Getting Microsoft MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect certified will teach you how to integrate into one of the world’s leading cloud platforms. You’ll have the skills to migrate your business’s architecture to the cloud, managing Azure Virtual machines and the hosting and storing of web applications and SQL data.

You’ll then be able to start reaping the benefits cloud technology brings like increased flexibility, simpler disaster recovery, better security, automatic software updates and capital-free expenditure.


8. (ISC)2 Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) 



(ISC)2’s CCSP specialises in cloud security. The above-mentioned growing cloud market needs IT professionals to adopt vital skills including security, another industry currently in high demand.

The CCSP will teach you comprehensive knowledge of cloud security operations. It covers data protection, data recovery, access management, the software development lifecycle and every aspect of cloud infrastructure protection.


Image courtesy of FutUndBeidl/Flickr
2016 is a fantastic time to get cloud certified. As the technology continues to develop and expand, more professionals with cloud skills will be needed to deploy and maintain cloud architectures. It’s worth mentioning those who are slow to adapt their skills to the cloud now, will be left regretting it in the future when cloud technology becomes the norm.

9. VMware® vSphere: Fast Track [V6]


VMware’s vSphere v6 was released earlier this year and is now established in the market. It is the best way to learn how to introduce and manage a vSphere infrastructure into your business. Version 6 introduced new capacities, supporting up to 64 nodes and 8.000 VMs as well as 12 vCPUs and 4 TB vRAM. These now allow you to make more of the high availability, hardware flexibility, reduced power consumption and faster provisioning that VMware and vSphere can bring to your business and help make it more efficient.

All of this means that 2016 is an excellent time for you to introduce vSphere to your business with the skills the VMware® vSphere: Fast Track [V6] certification can give you. Or if you’re already implementing vSphere, learning to use vCenter Server, manage host storage, configure virtual networks, create a vApp and how to install vSphere components will be valuable in improving how you currently manage the technology.

10. Microsoft MCSA: Windows Server 2016


The launch of Microsoft’s Windows Server 2016 platform has been highly anticipated. Since early 2015 Microsoft has been drip-feeding snippets of information about their new offering and while the technology is still yet to be officially launched, Microsoft did recently announce the launch of the MCSA: Windows Server 2016 certification. Firebrand also had the fantastic opportunity to have a sneak-peek at Windows Server 2016 back in August which further built anticipation.


The exact curriculum still remains unannounced, but the course will teach you to implement and manage Windows Server 2016, as well as covering server security, storage and architecture management. It will be exciting to see what developments Microsoft has for their new Windows Server platform in 2016, as well as the MCSA that will accompany it. 

Many people are already eager to get skilled on the latest Microsoft technology and as the certification officially launches, it will be one of the hottest new certifications to hit the market in 2016.

 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, 7 December 2015

Which IT security certification should you choose in 2016?


Security is the hottest topic in IT at the moment. Numerous high-profile IT security breaches mean  businesses are upping their game to ensure they’re not the next company in the headlines. British Airways, TalkTalk, Uber, T-Mobile, Sony and Staples are just some of the companies that have had records breached since the beginning of 2015.

This means the demand for IT security skills has never been higher. For example, the government announced it’s doubling the cyber security budget to £1.9 billion over the next five years. This is to protect government assets and information, UK businesses and citizens. Also, ComputerWeekly.com state that 14% of all UK IT jobs are now cyber security related, with 42 universities now offering cyber security related degrees. Take advantage of this demand by improving your security skills through certifications, helping you to protect your business or move up the ladder of IT security roles.



Solid Foundations


If you’re not yet involved in IT security, now is a great time to start. A solid starting point to build your foundation knowledge is CompTIA’s A+ and Network+ certifications. To sit the courses, you only need 6-12 months of hand’s-on experience and familiarity of Windows operating systems. Achieving the A+ would help you get an IT Support Technician role with an average salary of £24,000. (*All average salaries from itjobswatch.co.uk).

The Network+ could get you a Network Support Technician with an average salary of £30,000. These CompTIA certifications give you skills in network architecture, operations, security and troubleshooting. These will give you strong foundations from which to grow your skills in future.

Image courtesy of Yuri Samoilov/flickr.com

After 2 years’ experience and further understanding of operating systems, you’ll be ready to take a more advanced certification. You can take CompTIA’s Security+. It’s a deeper look at IT security from CompTIA, teaching you skills in compliance and operational security, threats and vulnerabilities, access control and identity management and cryptography. This certification can help you achieve a role like Security Engineer with an average salary of £52,500.

An alternative to the Security+ that’ll teach you different skills, is Cisco’s CCNA Security. You’ll learn to apply security through the in-built features of Cisco’s Internetwork Operating System. Focused more towards the management side of IT security, you’ll learn how to develop security infrastructures, recognise threats and vulnerabilities to networks and mitigate security threats. However, the CCENT or CCNA Routing & Switching certification is required before you can attempt the CCNA Security.

Building your skills


When you’ve gained a year or more’s experience in the IT security industry, you’ll be looking to get skills that’ll help you stand out and push you up the career ladder. (ISC)2’s SSCP is a great certification to help you do that. It teaches you security skills in areas like access controls, malicious code, networks and telecommunications and security policy administration. Also, there are seven reputable domains created from (ISC)2’s SSCP CBK (common body of knowledge). With skills like these, you could get a role like Security Engineer with an average salary of £52,500. Achieving a certification like the SSCP will help separate you from other mid-level IT security professionals and help your transition into elite level IT security roles.

An alternative is ISACA’s Certified Cybersecurity Practitioner CSX, which is broken down into three levels. Level one teaches you how to identify weaknesses and protect your network. Level two covers detecting cyber-security incidents and attack analysis. And in the third level you’ll learn how to respond to and recover from cyber-attacks. These are broken down into five domains of Identification, Protection, Detection, Respond and Recover, contained within ISACA’s new security program, the Cybersecurity Nexus. This certification introduces you to the Cybersecurity field and can help you become a Cybersecurity Specialist with an average salary of  £59,000. If you wanted to focus on the technical side of IT security, the CSX Practitioner program would be a great place to start as it builds practical skills relevant to real world situations.

Specialising in security management


Generally speaking, management and technical are the two major directions of specialisation in which you can take your IT security career. A great certification to train your management skills is ISACA’s Certified Information Systems Auditor. You need a minimum of five years’ experience in the information systems auditing, control or security. In the CISA, you’ll learn how to audit, manage, maintain and support information systems. The skills will help you protect the information assets of your company. This certification can help you become a IT Security Officer with an average salary of £55,000.

You can take your management skills further by taking ISACA’s Certified Information Security Manager. The CISM requires a similar amount of experience to the CISA, but you are able to sacrifice experience for a degree or other certifications. You’ll learn to establish and manage a security governance framework and how to align it with your company’s goals and objectives. Your CISM certification can help you become an IT Audit Manager, with an average salary of £70,000.

Specialising in technical security


When you’ve established your career, if you’d like to take it down the more technical route there are several ways in which you can do this. Cisco’s CCNP Security helps you develop your network security skills to defend your systems. You’ll learn how to use Cisco Switches, Cisco ASA and the router security appliance feature. The CCNP Security will help you become a Network Security Engineer (average salary of £50,000). This is because on the CCNP Security you’ll learn to deploy perimeter security and VPNs, monitor and detect security events and manage network security to improve productivity.

GIAC’s Penetration Tester (GPEN) teaches you the skills to find and nullify security vulnerabilities. You’ll learn to protect your business and stop weaknesses from being exploited. You’ll develop skills in areas like exploitation fundamentals, vulnerability scanning, password attacks, reconnaissance, scanning for targets and the pen-testing process. The GPEN is one of the most recognised penetration testing certifications and can help you get a penetration testing role with an average salary of £60,000.

Image courtesy of hin255/freedigitalphotos.net
You can also specialise to become an Ethical Hacker. EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker is the best certification to help you do this. It contains 18 established domains that cover topics like malware threats, social engineering, session hijacking, hacking web servers and cloud computing. These skills will help you protect your business by identifying weaknesses that are susceptible to cyber-attacks and preventing them from being exploited by genuine security threats. The average salary for an Ethical Hacker is £75,000.




Mastering IT security


(ISC)2’s CISSP is often considered the gold standard certification for IT security professionals. It is comprehensive in its coverage of both the managerial and technical sides of IT security. You’re eligible for the CISSP after five years’ experience. The CISSP CBK (common body of knowledge) contains eight domains covering topics like security engineering, communication and network security, software development security and security testing. The CISSP can set you on your way to getting a Chief Information Security Officer job, with a salary in excess of £100,000.

An alternative to the CISSP, is the CCSP which will give you skills in cloud computing security. This contains topics like cloud data security, cloud application security and architectural concepts and design requirements. As more businesses move to cloud technology, it’s becoming a bigger target for hackers. This means data stored in the cloud needs a new approach by security teams to properly protect it. This certification will give you the skills to master the security within cloud systems.

If you’re in a top IT security role, you can add extensions to your CISSP. The CISSP-ISSMP will further develop your security management skills. It tackles legal issues, plus project and risk management within IT security. The CISSP-ISSAP is the technical equivalent and teaches you advanced skills in areas like access control systems, communications and network security  and security architecture analysis.


IT security has so many areas that you have the luxury of being able to pick and choose the direction you career can take within it using certifications. This allows you to protect your business in each area by improving your skills exactly how you want.

 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, 3 December 2015

Office 365 Global Outage

There is currently a severity "A" global outage with Microsoft affecting Office 365; this includes access to the Service Health Dashboard so official information from Microsoft is sparse at this time.

“I confirm that Office 365 Portal is undergoing a global breakdown, and users are not able to log in. Our engineering team is working on it right now, as it is our top priority. “ - Microsoft Partner Cloud Regional Support Centre.

This will affect all Office 365 applications including the SharePoint Portal and online services to Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The issue currently affecting services appears to be the inability to load login screens. 

Starting at approximately 09:00 on 3rd December, the outage is primarily affecting Microsoft's European region. Microsoft has linked the outage to issues affecting Azure Active Directory.

Are you affected?