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During National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a week didn’t go by without news breaking about a new hack or breach. From Facebook and British Airways to AXA, millions of people across the globe had accounts accessed or personally identifiable information compromised by these hacks. According to Evan Bell, Business Development manager, Cisco Security for Comstor, education and training remain the keys to preventing these types of cyber-attacks, regardless of the size of your business or whether you gather PII.

As a member of the Comstor Security Initiative (CSI), which is designed to help value-added resellers (VARs) build a successful Cisco Security practice, Bell and his team focus on getting the VAR to where they feel comfortable selling and implementing the best solutions at the right time.

“We model our cyber education program around the EDGE– Engage, Develop, Grow and Extend. With four levels, we can plug our partners in to the level they best fit, so they can educate themselves where they’re comfortable,” Bell explained. “If they’re new to security and new to the security landscape, we can plug them into a general ‘what is security?’, ‘what do threats look like?’, things like that. Then they get comfortable and get a good foundation. They build off of that and we get them more involved in how to sell security.”

CSI enables Comstor partners to learn how to sell security and how to deploy security for their own engineering and technical teams.

“Taking a holistic view of cybersecurity for the VAR is important, because they need to understand functionality and capabilities, have the ability to configure the product based on the opportunity, and, beyond that, the opportunity to achieve their own Cisco cyber certifications,” Bell said.

Bell explained that the CSI program is a multi-level progression that introduces Comstor partners to Cisco Security and helps them establish a plan.

“That’s the engage part – we see what their goals are, what they’re comfortable with, and where they need improvement,” Bell said. “Then we get them into the develop part of the program by helping them set realistic goals and create a road map,” he explained. “We also introduce them to security resources, such as our Comstor engineering team, that they can leverage and learn from.”

Another incentive for VARs to participate in CSI is the ability to train for Cisco Security certifications that they can use in-house and can use as a selling tool with end customers.

“Our main goal, like everything we do in EDGE, is to enable our partners to sell and equip their team with as much knowledge and training as possible, so they can be a true business partner to their customers,” Bell concluded.