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Addressing the cyber security skills gap
Mon, 8th May 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Having trouble finding qualified staff to help you sell, install and service cyber security solutions? Do you have qualified prospects that could be turned into customers if you had more time to craft winning proposals? And are you finding it harder to maintain close communications with clients about upgrades and new products? You are not alone. Trained, experienced and professional cyber security experts are in short supply and the problem will not solve itself any time soon.

What's driving the shortage? A host of reasons. First is the growth in security. It is estimated that global revenues in the security sector are up 8.6% per annum.  Which means that you need 8.6% more people to support the security side of your business.

And then there is the speed of the market. Security updates are literally real-time, which means that upskilling is a constant battle. And then there is the adaptation of the cloud and the resulting security issues. So more business, faster changes and more complex solutions. It's the perfect storm.

Education and training

What to do? “A multi-faceted challenge requires a variety of tactics,” says Andrew Khan, Fortinet Senior Business Manager at Ingram Micro, New Zealand's largest and most experienced distributor of cyber security solutions.

“Education is essential. But that takes a long time and we need skilled technicians now. Both tertiary institutions and the NZ government are doing all they can to speed up the delivery of cyber security graduates but, again, the lack of skilled instructors is hampering efforts. So we at Ingram Micro and Fortinet are focussing on very specific hands-on training to provide technical staff with the tools, knowledge and back-up support so that they can successfully implement our security solutions.

Ingram Micro and Fortinet are sponsoring free two-day workshops around the county in May and June to upskill your team so that they can fast track their skill set to fully support FortiGate firewalls and associated solutions.

“These courses complement our regularly-scheduled NSE (network security expert) Certification courses and are designed to give your people the requisite knowledge to specify, install and support most FortiGate projects. You can't fast-track experience but you can give people a jump start and that's what these workshops can do.” Contact Ingram Micro (details below) to secure a spot for your staff.

Automation the key

But even that can only go so far. “It's incumbent upon the vendor community to reduce complexity, promote automation and embrace artificial intelligence to reduce the requirement for constant human intervention,” says Khan.

 “That's not to say that machines can replace people, but intelligent design can automate many functions that currently require manual intervention such as monitoring, alerting and responses. So our strategy at Fortinet is to focus on the human aspects, where communication and understanding client requirements are paramount, whilst simultaneously making network administration less complex and time-consuming.

But the bad guys automate as well

It's not that simple. “Adversaries are upping their game as well,” notes Khan. “Traditional signature detection is reactive, as the signatures are merely fingerprints of threats that have already been seen. Humans cannot possibly keep up with the velocity and volume of malware. Fortinet has developed some quite clever cognitive artificial intelligence systems can analyse and neutralise zero-day threats faster than human analysis.

Fortinet's patented neural network cluster is a deep-inspection, proactive advanced detection technology developed through years of research by FortiGuard Labs. FortiGuard's neural network utilises Big Data Analytics to examine millions of files. Fortinet's machine-learning uses artificial expert systems with adaptive learning.

Fortinet's system automatically and proactively creates dynamic algorithms that protect your customers from zero-day threats before they are disclosed. A single dynamic algorithm can catch 50,000 or more variants of malware families. Machine-to- Machine Defense learning casts a wider net over Advanced Persistent Threats (APT) and Advanced Evasion Techniques (AET), allowing Fortinet to catch unknown threats preparing the customer for future attack.

Keep up or keep out

“Cyber security is not for the faint-hearted,” concludes Khan. “We're all in the same boat. More challenges, more complexities, more requests. But there are still only 24 hours in a day. We all have to work faster, smarter and do it right the first time. And that's where training comes in. The more training, the fewer help-desk calls. And that means happier clients and more sales. So train up your team and watch your profitability maintain momentum.

For further information, please contact:

Andrew Khan, Senior Business Manager Email: M: 021 819 793

James Meuli, Solutions Architect Email: M: 0275 520 167

Leroy Clarke, Business Development Manager Email: M: 021 857 646