Global network security company Cyberoam wants to partner with South African universities and colleges to offer a free training programme that will help students become network security professionals.

According to a JCSE ICT skills sets report, South Africa’s ICT sector suffers from a lack of skilled professionals, including those well-versed in network security. Bridging this gap is imperative, if the country is to optimise the potential of ICT for economic growth.

Cyberoam’s tie-up with South Africa’s learning institutes is an attempt to bridge this skills gap, says Ajay Nawani, chief of the Cyberoam Academy.

The forging of an industry-academia alliance will let Cyberoam Academy offer its comprehensive network security program to a wider number of students and assisting them to become gainfully employed.

The Academy is offering a short complimentary course called “Novice to Professional” that will deliver high calibre cyber-security training to South African students.

“Cyberoam Academy wants to meet three main objectives while partnering with educators in South Africa,” says Nawani. “It wants to improve the employability of the youth, bridge skills gap in cyber-security and ensure educational institutions in South Africa get the benefit of globally renowned courseware, reputed certifications and state-of-the-art training labs.”

The short course is industry-focused and offers hands-on training to students for a real world exposure in complex areas like VPN security, malware prevention, application controls, and forensic analysis.

College students in their final year with basic computer skills are eligible to join the 56-hour programme. The course offers step-by-step learning tools to help students manage enterprise network security challenges. Students will also be able to access Cyberoam eConnect, an online portal for academy instructors and students that offers a one-stop platform to share learning activities.

“Growing internet and mobile penetration in South Africa and use of disruptive technologies like cloud computing and social media is helping businesses grow and prosper,” Nawani says. “But, this has made the network infrastructure of these businesses vulnerable to cyber-attacks. This essentially underlines the need for highly trained cyber security professionals who can implement solutions that protect South African businesses, government organizations and centres of learning from cyber threats.”