Saturday, 10 June 2017

Attend the next UK Cisco TechHuddle: “Where Application Meets Infrastructure”

Discover what happens when cloud applications meet infrastructure at Cisco’s next TechHuddle. TechHuddle returns in July 2017 with “Where Application Meets Infrastructure” - this is your chance to get face-to-face with Cisco experts.

During the TechHuddle, Cisco experts will guide you through the key elements involved in building and implementing cloud in your business. With Cisco, you’ll also discuss industry shifts and cloud economics.

You’ll get first-hand demonstrations of Cisco technologies as you learn how to:

  • Deliver a multi-cloud plan
  • Get started with a Container Service
  • Provide infrastructure as code despite having more CLI than API
  • Make open source work off the shelf

During July, you’ll get the opportunity to learn directly from Cisco experts at three TechHuddles. The upcoming UK Cisco Tech Huddles are:

  • London: 11th July 2017 (9:00am – 2:00pm)
  • Manchester: 12th July 2017 (9:00am – 2:00pm)
  • Glasgow: 27th July 2017 (9:00am – 2:00pm)

Register now to attend one of three events Cisco TechHuddle events in July.

Remind me, what is the Cisco TechHuddle?

TechHuddle is Cisco’s quarterly technical update which includes live events and webinars from across the UK and Ireland.

These events are built for technologists and are focused on discussion, learning and interaction with Cisco’s experts. At a TechHuddle, you’ll share your own experiences and challenges with like-minded professionals and Cisco evangelists.

Previous TechHuddles have seen Cisco team-up with Meraki to shine a light on the world of cloud networking or combine forces with Fast IT to transform IT infrastructure.

Each quarter TechHuddles take on a different focus. For a closer look at the topics and issues tackled at recent events, take a look at the TechHuddle blog and YouTube Channel.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Latest EC-Council Disaster Recovery Professional (EDRP) v3 certification launched


EC-Council today announced the launch of the latest version of the EC-Council Disaster Recovery Professional (EDRP) certification, designed to build the critical skills your organisation needs to continue running following a disaster.


Earlier today, EC-Council COO, Sean Lim, announced the launch of the EDRP v3 certification. During a live presentation, Sean outlined exciting updates to the EDRP which resulted in a complete overhaul of the credential, bringing it right up to date.


Why you need disaster recovery skills


The need for disaster recovery skills within your organisation is critical to the continued functioning of your business following a disaster. Organisations lacking a disaster recovery and business continuity plan risk significant financial losses, reputational damage and complete business failure in severe circumstances.

The threat is very real. Statistics from FEMA - a US Department of Defence organisation - report almost 75% of organisations without a business continuity plan fail within 3 years of a disaster. Of these businesses, between 40-60% never reopened their doors immediately following the disaster.


Disaster recovery is a growing industry


Unfortunately for you, disaster events are on the rise. In fact, the disaster recover industry is expected to grow to almost seven times its current size - from $1.6 billion in 2016 to $11.1 billion by 2021. This come as no surprise considering that more than half of companies (54%) have reported a downtime event that lasted more than 8 hours in the past five years (State of Disaster Recovery 2016 – Zetta).


State of Disaster Recovery 2016 Infographic - Zetta


Two thirds of these organisations went on to report that they would lose upwards of $20,000/day for every day of downtime. Consider the revenue your business generates per day and imagine how losing your website and phone systems could impact that. This is an increasingly likely scenario - 34% of organisations reported downtime caused by a malware attack. 

Despite these shocking statistics, 2 in 5 companies still do not have a documented disaster recovery plan, and only 40% of these organisations test them once a year.

Can your business afford not to be prepared?


How the EDRP certification protects you


The EDRP course focuses on developing the skills you need to prevent - and recover from - disasters affecting an enterprise scale organisation. These skills could mean the difference between business recovery and business ruin.

This purpose-built course will teach you to identify vulnerabilities and construct the countermeasures required to prevent and mitigate failure risks within your organisation. 

You’ll develop a foundation in core disaster recovery principles, including preparation of a disaster recovery (DR) plan, risk assessment, policy and procedures development and implementation of the DR plan to recover from disaster – should the worst happen.

EDRP v3 has been completely redesigned to align to the latest job task analysis and market research with key additions including:

  • New curriculum focused on business continuity and disaster recovery
  • Meeting regulatory compliance for standards including ISO 31000, ISO 22301, ISO 22313, NFPA 1600 and many more along the NICE Framework
  • Cloud-based virtual labs to simulate business continuity / disaster recover techniques in real time
  • Bridging the gap between business continuity and disaster recovery
  • Updated exams to validate both knowledge and practical skills across business continuity and disaster recovery

The course syllabus covers:

  1. An introduction to Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
  2. Business Continuity Management
  3. Risk Assessment
  4. Business Impact Analysis
  5. Business Continuity Plan
Developing the skills to:


  • Design a business continuity management framework
  • Create a risk assessment report
  • Create a business impact analysis report
  • Create a business continuity strategy

Want a detailed look at the new curriculum? Take a look at this page for more in-depth knowledge of the EDRP certification.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Firebrand Launch the Azure Academy

We’re living in a mobile-first, cloud-first world. According to Forbes, the cloud computing market is set to reach 127.5 billion by 2018 and 42% of UK and US companies are actively looking to hire professionals with cloud computing skills.

Microsoft’s public cloud offering Azure is leading the way with 120,000 new customer subscriptions per month. Demonstrating the strength of Azure, 90% of Fortune 500 companies are currently using the platform.

For those unfamiliar with Azure, it’s “a growing collection of integrated cloud services – analytics, computing, database, mobile, networking, storage and web – for moving faster, achieving more and saving money”.

In this post we’ll take a look at Azure’s growth and how rapidly expanding demand for Azure cloud professionals is creating a skills gap. 

The growth of Microsoft Azure



In July, Microsoft announced that Azure revenue and usage again grew by more than 100% in the past quarter. Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella attributed the growth to a mixture of high demand for cloud platforms combined with Azure’s ability to offer solutions that reflect the realities of today’s world. 

Testimony to this high demand and growth, is Microsoft’s recent announcement of the first complete cloud offering delivered from a global provider within the UK. These datacentres, which adhere to Microsoft’s stringent Trusted Cloud principles, means Azure can now offer customers 28 regions – with six more coming soon. More than any other major cloud provider.  

As mass adoption continues to accelerate, so too does the demand for cloud professionals with well-developed skills in Azure solutions. In a recent study by the managed cloud provider Rackspace, jobs specifying Microsoft Azure experience increased demand in the UK by 75%.

Lagging significantly behind this demand however, is the number of qualified individuals capable of supporting a business’s Azure needs. Rightscale found that the number one challenge for companies looking to bolster their cloud capabilities is the shortage of appropriate skilled job candidates.

Furthermore, while Microsoft’s Azure certifications provide excellent insight into the cloud platform, professionals and businesses alike are increasingly looking to further their Azure knowledge and subsequent application.

Microsoft offer a series of highly-demanded Specialist Azure certifications; Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions, Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions and the MCSD Azure Solutions Architect – aimed at demonstrating how to competently implement and administer Azure in a business environment. However, the demand for more in-depth, technical know-how surrounding Azure has seen Firebrand training in partnership with Microsoft develop the Azure Academy.

The birth of Firebrand’s Azure Academy 


Azure Academy is a new, accelerated product created by Firebrand Training in partnership with Microsoft and partners. The Azure Academy introduces the cloud platform in a greater and never-before seen depth.



The accelerated nature of Firebrand Training means each deep dive is just 4 days. Moreover, the content provided includes more than 80% in-depth technical content not found in the Microsoft Official Curriculum.  

Our UK Commercial Manager, James Lapwood said: "We’ve worked with Microsoft and partners in creating the accelerated Azure Academy. The content of the programmes - from Apprenticeships through to expert-level Deep Dives - has been developed based on what the market has asked us for. All delivered at twice the speed of traditional training".  

This Academy, which should be seen as an extension of the MCSD Azure Solutions Architect, is made up of three deep-dive programmes:
  • Infrastructure and Networking
  • Data Platform
  • Application Development

Let’s take a look at them in a little more depth:


The first of the three brand-new Microsoft programmes is Infrastructure and Networking. The course will focus on topics such as:
  • Cloud computing environments
  • Azure storage, backup and recovery
  • Automation, PowerShell and the Azure CLI
  • Microsoft Cloud Estate

You can see the full curriculum here.

The second deep-dive program is Data Platform. This programme will develop understanding of Azure data services, analytics and IoT – plus a detailed look at security. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Implementing Azure SQL Database
  • Azure Redis Cache
  • Azure HDInsight
  • Azure BizTalk Service

Check out the full curriculum.

The third and final Azure Academy programme is Application Development. Aimed at developing your knowledge of designing cloud application in Azure, some of the topics you’ll focus on include:

  • Availability
  • Data-management
  • Messaging
  • Resiliency

Integrated into each deep dive program is a focus on Azure security. With security in the Cloud seen as the second largest cloud challenge to businesses, the need for a holistic understanding of security is imperative.

Check out the full curriculum