No need to post “boredom” as a status update on social media because you can temper a staid stay-at-home experience with free tech courses designed to address the skills gap and an increase in security threats.

The tech company Fortinet is offering self-paced training for technical security and broad cyber awareness, and has started the program with three courses at no cost. More free courses will be rolled out. The free classes are meant to be supplemental to those working from home, as well for those actively looking for a tech position, the company said.

“We see a greater need for our security courses, as the pandemic has led to rapid IT transitions, to a remote workforce model and subsequently an increase in potential threat risks,” said Rob Rashotte, VP of global training and field enablement at Fortinet. Rashotte noted the talent shortage in the tech industry.

SEE: Ransomware: What IT pros need to know (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

In April, Fortinet said it had a 10-times increase in online registrations for the Network Security Expert (NSE) Institute training courses that provide essential cybersecurity knowledge.

Image: Getty Images

Upskill and reskill

Despite many job losses due to the pandemic, there are still openings in the tech industry. Rashotte said the courses are ideal for “anyone interested in upskilling their knowledge or reskilling to further address the industry’s talent shortage.”

Fortinet is making 24 advanced security courses available free, which cover topics ranging from Secure SD-WAN, public cloud security, and secure access, among others, and the majority of courses are from the official Network Security Expert curriculum.

Additionally, courses reserved as free to Fortinet’s partners are now available to anyone interested.

“IT professionals can better protect their organizations in the midst of this change by expanding their security expertise,” Rashotte said. “Fortinet leveraged existing curriculum from Fortinet’s Network Security Expert (NSE) Institute’s training program for the free courses. Those courses have been free for Fortinet partners but now we’re extending this offering by making all online courses available at no cost for anyone interested, building on our investments to close the skills gap.”

He added, “This initiative is a natural extension of our commitment to closing the skills gap through various efforts, including our collaboration with the World Economic Forum as a founding partner of WEF’s Centre for Cybersecurity.”

Training courses

For those new to cybersecurity or for those who “just need a better understanding of the threat landscape, the NSE 1, is a great lesson to start with,” Rashotte said. The course is followed up with NSE 2.

Some other training courses offered at no cost:

  • IT professionals and those familiar with FortiGate Next Generation Firewall (NGFW) can take the FortiGate Essentials Training Course.

  • IT professionals and those who want to learn about firewall policies, firewall policies, user authentication, routing, and SSL VPN can take the FortiGate Essentials Course.

Rashotte said Fortinet recognizes the need for timely security skills, and added 24 additional on-demand online security courses available free, for topics which range in topics, including Secure SD-WAN and cloud security.

Stopping hackers

Hackers have taken advantage of the coronavirus-set quarantine, and malware has been introduced and accounts hacked. Now, more than ever, IT teams need comprehensive security skill sets to make sure advanced security controls are deployed, preventing a breach from going undetected.

When companies began shuttering, or moving to telecommuting in March, Fortinet released FortiGate Essentials, a course, “covering firewall policies, VPN, and more as a response “to ever-changing business demands.”

“Depending on the complexity or breadth of a particular topic the amount of training will differ,” Rashotte said. “Training will vary in length from approximately eight to 24 hours depending on the topic area.”

As are many online courses, Fortinet’s are “all asynchronous,” Rashotte said, “However, there will be scheduled times when participants can join real-time sessions with Fortinet certified trainers for lab demos and Q&A sessions to make sure people have the additional resources and support, to be successful in their training and absorb the material.”

Rashotte said he hopes “current IT professionals learn new skills that help them better protect their organizations, or spark interest in students or others evaluating a career change to consider a career in cybersecurity.”

The program of free courses will last throughout 2020.

Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto