VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Feb. 5, 2019 /CNW/ -- In honour of Safer Internet Day, Palo Alto Networks (NYSE: PANW), the global cybersecurity leader, today announced the introduction of its Palo Alto Networks Cybersecurity Academy to high school students in Canada. Working in partnership with British Columbia's Ministry of Education and IBM Canada, the program's mission is to bridge the skills gap by preparing students for careers in cybersecurity.
Canadian high school students can now receive hands-on training to understand the latest cyberthreats and how best to combat them. Courses focus on network security skills, including firewall installation, antivirus software and zero-day vulnerabilities. After successfully completing the 12-month program, students will be eligible for cybersecurity associate certification.
"Students today are increasingly tech-savvy and connected now more than ever before. With the frequency of cyberattacks increasing, targeting both institutions and individuals, it is critical that we prepare students with the knowledge and skills to protect themselves and their data against such threats," said the honourable Rob Fleming, minister of education for British Columbia.
As part of the curriculum development, Palo Alto Networks worked with British Columbia's Ministry of Education and IBM Canada to pilot the academy in select high schools to prepare technical and non-technical faculty on how to deliver the program across the province of British Columbia. Based on feedback from the faculty, there was a need for virtual training labs to seamlessly roll out the program across British Columbia high schools that may not have the resources to configure and manage complex lab environments. Together with Network Development Group, Palo Alto Networks provided a pilot environment consisting of more than 20 virtual labs for students to learn how to configure fundamental networking systems and firewall technology used to secure critical infrastructure.
"With the shortage of skilled cybersecurity specialists across the world, I believe our students will benefit greatly from these courses in high school. We are able to offer the courses within school and in a blended online model, which gives students an introduction to the cybersecurity world, and if they are inspired, to pursue a career in this field," said Gary Chan, distributed learning coordinator at Richmond Virtual School.
"IBM is committed to innovation and STEM education, and we see effective, high-quality STEM education as a key driver of the nation's economic vitality," said Krista Shibata, women in technology and STEM education lead at IBM Canada. "Public-private partnerships such as these are a testament to what can be achieved to support learning in high skill areas, such as cybersecurity. We are helping prepare the Canadian youth for new collar jobs. Nothing is more critical to our nation's economic success."
"Providing these students with foundational cybersecurity knowledge and skills will give them a leg up when applying for an entry-level IT position and the opportunity to grow from there," said Dan Myers, senior manager of Palo Alto Networks Cybersecurity Academy at Palo Alto Networks. "While we can't close the cybersecurity workforce gap overnight, we're dedicated to helping students of all ages understand the cyber risks out there and educating them on the best ways we can all protect our way of life in the digital age."
There are more than 450 Cybersecurity Academies in more than 55 countries training the next-generation security workforce. For more information, please visit the Palo Alto Networks Cybersecurity Academy page.
About Palo Alto Networks
We are the global cybersecurity leader, known for always challenging the security status quo. Our mission is to protect our way of life in the digital age by preventing successful cyberattacks. This has given us the privilege of safely enabling tens of thousands of organizations and their customers. Our pioneering Security Operating Platform emboldens their digital transformation with continuous innovation that seizes the latest breakthroughs in security, automation, and analytics. By delivering a true platform and empowering a growing ecosystem of change-makers like us, we provide highly effective and innovative cybersecurity across clouds, networks, and mobile devices. Find out more at www.paloaltonetworks.com.
Palo Alto Networks and the Palo Alto Networks logo are trademarks of Palo Alto Networks, Inc. in the United States and jurisdictions throughout the world. All other trademarks, trade names or service marks used or mentioned herein belong to their respective owners.
About Ministry of Education
The Ministry of Education is responsible for ensuring the learning outcomes of over 648,000 students are achieved and that they acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute to a healthy society and a prosperous, sustainable economy.
For more information, please visit www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/organizational-structure/ministries-organizations/ministries/education.
About IBM Canada
IBM Canada is headquartered in Markham, Ontario and is one of Canada's top ten private R&D investors; contributing more than $478 million to Canadian research and development initiatives in 2017. IBM has a unique approach to collaboration that provides academic researchers, small and large business, start-ups and developers with business strategies and computing tools they need to innovate. Areas of focus include AI, cloud and security. Canada is also home to IBM's largest microelectronics packaging and test facility in Bromont, Quebec and the largest software development organization in the country, with sites in Markham, Ottawa, and Fredericton.
For more information, please visit www.ibm.com/ca.
SOURCE Palo Alto Networks, Inc.