Fortinet’s Veterans Program supports veterans and their families enter the workforce. Not only does the program provide mentoring, networking and training opportunities, but it also connects participants to our expansive employer ecosystem. Fortinet supports veterans and military spouses not only on Veterans and Remembrance Day, but everyday.
Anthony Hunter, a 24-year US Air Force veteran, is a Network Security Expert (NSE) Institute Training’s Veterans Program graduate who is now a Security Analyst with DefendEdge, a Fortinet partner. Anthony shared how the Veterans Program and NSE training has helped him develop in his new civilian career.
Can you give us a summary of your background in the military?
I joined the military straight after high school – 2 weeks after graduation to be exact. I joined as a Security Policeman and spent the next 8.5 years doing that. I eventually took a break from the service and went back home to Utah. Shortly after I got out, 9 months to be exact, the September 11 happened. I re-assessed my priorities in life, and then re-joined the Air Force, this time until my retirement in 2016. In the Air Force, I was able to travel, deploy, and learn many valuable skillsets ranging from physical, industrial and nuclear security. That skillsets gave me a really great background into many of the terms, concepts and attributes needed in cybersecurity. Things such as layered defense, defense-in-depth and perimeter security. Also, with my training as a police, I developed a passion for investigation and research, which are traits that complement cybersecurity.
Tell us more about your current cybersecurity role?
Currently I work as a Security Analyst for DefendEdge, which is a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) based in Chicago, Illinois. Going through the Veterans Program, I was connected to Fortinet’s ecosystem of employers in addition to receiving training and mentoring. DefendEdge was one of the organizations Fortinet connected me to and eventually ended up accepting a job with them. My job is to monitor and report on the various firewalls protecting our clients, which are spread all over the U.S. and globe. I also conduct threat hunting and problem resolution.
How has the NSE training been useful for your career development?
Being part of the Veterans Program gave me access to the NSE training courses. I completed the NSE1 and NSE2 levels and have been studying to take NSE4 and NSE5 to keep my skills relevant and increase my opportunities to grow in my career. I absolutely have found it useful in my current role and have found the training to be very thorough and challenging. I think it is very useful for anyone looking to learn new security skills, upskill or reskill. The various levels range from fundamental threat landscape awareness to expert security technical concepts. There’s a level for everyone regardless of background or previous experience.
What unique challenges do veterans face and how did this program assist?
I think one of the emerging challenges now that cybersecurity is such a hot job prospect is that there are companies that recognize the value Veterans provide and how complementary their skills are for a job in cyber. As Veterans, we have the big benefit of having the G.I. Bill and/or Vet-Tech benefits to support our training interests. But where veterans really struggle in transitioning into civilian life is in the network and connections to employers. This is where the Veterans Program is unique in that it not only provides training, but it also gives us networking opportunities and direct access to hiring managers looking to fill roles.
What is the benefit of hiring military veterans?
There are several. As Veterans, we are used to executing on projects from beginning to completion, to quickly learn new tasks, able to work under extreme pressure, persistent, flexible and able to work with people from different backgrounds and perspectives.
What would you say are the benefits to a company for hiring someone from the Fortinet Veterans Program?
As a company looking for new talent, hiring from the Veterans Program is a winning strategy. Even at first glance, you’re already looking at someone who has been vetted by Fortinet through a series of personal interviews.
Find out more about Fortinet’s NSE Training Institute programs, including the Certification Program, Security Academy Program and Veterans Program, which provide critical cybersecurity training and education to help solve the cyber skills gap and prepare the cybersecurity workforce of tomorrow.