Addressing customer needs through upskilling

Sean Campbell, Director Canadian Channels, Fortinet

If growth is a target for 2024, channel partners must focus on upskilling. As customers adopt new technologies and work models, specialized skill sets are needed to address more complex networks and expanded attack surfaces.

Rapid technological changes, the evolving threat landscape, and an ongoing global cybersecurity skills shortage present tangible risk for most organizations. In fact, according to the Fortinet 2023 Cybersecurity Skills Gap report, more than two-thirds of organizations surveyed said that unfilled security and IT positions pose a substantial risk to their business. 

Channel partners that invest in training can better understand the products and services they are selling, and more readily highlight the features and unique selling points of a particular product or service. It also enables channel partners to step in with the knowledge, skills, and services their customers need to scale security teams or address issues as they arise. Pursuing certifications for products they support can help partners expand their value to customers by understanding how the solutions they recommend can address their customers’ needs, while also having the resources and skill sets customers might need to draw from.  

Certification narrows the skills gap

A recent report from the World Economic Forum indicates that less than half of business leaders (44%) believe they have the people and skills required to secure their organization against cyberattacks. Yet, it is challenging for organizations to find skilled professionals to fill existing cybersecurity roles, and talent ready to advance security strategies. 

In Canada, it is estimated that one in six cybersecurity roles goes unfilled despite solid compensation packages and a wealth of posted opportunities. While businesses struggle to hire skilled cybersecurity professionals, individuals with cybersecurity certifications are increasingly attractive to business leaders looking to fulfill expert roles. In fact, according to Fortinet’s Cybersecurity Skills Gap report, 90% of leaders prefer hiring people with technology-focused certifications and report seeing a benefit in increased security awareness and knowledge. The preference among business leaders with cybersecurity certifications is even higher (95%). 

Certified expertise at the ready 

There is help for organizations ready to upskill or expand their teams – and channel partners looking to represent their solutions more capably. For example, Fortinet’s Training Institute provides access to quality cybersecurity training that can help close the global skills gap and give partners a leg up. The Training Institute provides security professionals with opportunities to upskill and expand their cyber expertise so they can keep abreast of the latest threats and tactics used by today’s cybercriminals. Through the Authorized Training Center (ATC) program, learners can leverage Fortinet’s industry-leading training and multi-level certifications to kickstart their career – or advance in their existing one. There are 151 accredited ATCs globally, delivering the Fortinet-developed Network Security Expert (NSE) curriculum in local languages through on-demand, in-person, or hybrid courses. 

For channel partners, the NSE Certification program is particularly relevant, having been developed over time to address the rapidly evolving threat landscape and Fortinet’s leading product offerings. A certificate from the NSE program will ensure you are at the forefront of network security expertise. NSE training is flexible, available as structured learning, self-driven coursework, and practical labs that help learners demonstrate mastery of complex cybersecurity concepts. Each certification program in the NSE program assesses specific levels of cybersecurity expertise, from foundation to architect.

Cybersecurity certifications through known industry brands such as Fortinet provide a convenient way for professionals to develop the skills set valued by customers and employers. For channel partners, it provides the insights needed to recommend the right solutions and services for their customers. Partners should consider taking advantage of training opportunities in 2024 to ensure their teams have the expertise to support their customers’ digital journey. By actively investing in training, they will be better equipped to have high-level conversations and make more meaningful recommendations to their customers. 

Sean Campbell is Director of Canadian Channels at Fortinet