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Fortinet is working to solve the cybersecurity skills gap

The company is increasing momentum nation-wide as a crucial component of Canada’s digital fabric

Woman teaching a cybersecurity class - Fortinet article

Written by: Bill Park, VP for Canada Federal and National Capital Region Sales at Fortinet Canada

One of the most pressing and concerning needs of the stakeholders of Canadian critical infrastructure and organizations – including government, financial services, transportation, manufacturing, and communications – is the availability of qualified cybersecurity professionals nationwide. 

Today it’s more important than ever to have skilled cybersecurity talent on board, as Fortinet’s 2023 Threat Report found that the volume of ransomware has increased by nearly 100 per cent, and organizations are still a top target in today’s evolving cybersecurity landscape.

To help address this need, Fortinet continues to expand its presence in Canada to help protect the Canadian industry, serving both public and private sectors and citizens while growing and stimulating Canada’s cybersecurity sector in parallel. As a global cybersecurity leader, the company is committed to engaging with customers and organizations across all industries worldwide.

Within Canada, Fortinet has become deeply ingrained in the country’s digital fabric, with over 2,000 employees based in Burnaby, BC, and over 420 team members in Ottawa alone. 

According to IDC’s latest Worldwide Security Appliance Tracker1, Fortinet is ranked #1 for units shipped in the combined Firewall and UTM markets in Canada. In 1QCY23, Fortinet held a 77.2 per cent market share in terms of units shipped. Additionally, Fortinet has maintained its position as the top vendor for units shipped in Canada for 44 consecutive quarters, dating back to 2012Q2, for the same combined markets of Firewall and UTM.

Fortinet´s large install base fuels our threat research, further contributing to the protection of Canadian businesses leveraging our FortiGuard services and solutions. We’re continuing to build on this momentum in Ottawa with investments in training, recruitment, facilities, and technology to serve the needs of consumers and organizations nationwide and to do our part to address the significant cybersecurity talent shortage.

To further our commitment to the National Capital Region (NCR), Fortinet will soon be expanding our operations into two new buildings in Kanata, bringing our total to six buildings now spread across two campuses throughout the city. The new Kanata campus will feature the latest industry-leading innovations and technologies to help our growing team of cyber experts tackle the ever-expanding, never-ending cybersecurity threat landscape.

Cybersecurity skills gap

Like the rest of the world, the availability of formally trained cybersecurity professionals in Canada could be keeping up with the speed of growth and sophistication of cybersecurity threats and the cybersecurity positions needed to better defend against attacks. This issue is referred to as the cybersecurity skills gap. 

This widening gap has largely led customers to consider purchasing point solutions for challenges rather than broader and more intelligent platform-based solutions due to less qualified professionals available to operate and manage them.

Fortinet aims to train 1 million people by 2026 through the Fortinet Training Institute to tackle this talent shortage. In addition, the Fortinet Training Institute partners with 15 post-secondary institutions across Canada for its Academic Partner Program. This program aims to drive positive change on pressing cybersecurity issues, allowing opportunity and training to young professionals wanting to start a career in cybersecurity.

In Ontario alone, Fortinet has also established productive partnerships with leading universities, including Toronto Metropolitan University, Ontario Tech University, and the University of Ottawa, as part of the institution’s larger education and training mandate. The company has recruited over 200 cybersecurity professionals from Canadian universities with increased recruitment efforts with local universities and colleges in the Ottawa area.

Using Artificial Intelligence

With the significant talent shortage, organizations are employing AI to automate their cybersecurity initiatives. The need for automation is tied to minimizing the human capital that is required to address the ever-growing and evolving cybersecurity challenges. By applying AI and machine learning, more threats can be discovered, stopped, and prevented, allowing humans to shift focus to unknown threats or threats of higher magnitude.

It is important to note that AI cannot handle this challenge alone, and human capital, along with trained AI and machine learning, is crucial in mitigating risk with these types of threats. Year after year, Fortinet has demonstrated approximately 25 per cent growth in human capital, continuing to provide employment opportunities and training in eastern Canada to close the skills gap prominent in the cybersecurity sector. 

Increasing momentum across Canada

As a part of its mission to secure people, devices, and data everywhere, Fortinet continues its commitment to cybersecurity skills training and talent development in Ottawa with its increased investments to focus on job development, creation, and expansion. 

The overall goal of Fortinet’s new investment efforts in the NCR is to ensure that customers and partners in Canada can safely and effectively compete in today’s accelerating digital marketplace.

With the density of critical infrastructure in the NCR, the increase of threats targeting organizations from all sectors, and the glaring lack of expertise and talent to effectively harness new technology, Fortinet‘s increased commitment and efforts are crucial to expand the country’s cybersecurity industry, protecting consumers, businesses, and critical infrastructure against persistent and evolving digital threats.