E57 - Adrian Brookes at Fortinet

Zack Mount
Adrian Brookes

By Zack Mount & Adrian Brookes

On today’s episode, our Head of Enterprise Network Security, Zack Mount, was joined by Adrian Brookes, a Principal Consultant at Fortinet. They discuss all things Network Security, including some of the biggest challenges the industry is facing and the current skills gap.

 A place where we always start is where it all began and Adrian, he got into the Network & Security industry out of complete luck. At the time, he was in the End-User community, and a job came up at Mercury for a Pre-Sales role. He fancied a change, so he moved over there when they were moving into Data Networking.

From that point, he has moved into a variety of roles including managerial positions, Director and interestingly stepped back down from the management side. Growing up, many people aspire to be a leader, but once Adrian saw both sides, he really enjoys working with customers and not so much on spreadsheets. He would rather be going out there and delivering real-time solutions. “I don’t really want to be in a meeting discussing what the staffing requirements are going to be in 6 years’ time. I want to get into the nitty-gritty of the tech”.

Network Security is a booming industry that desperately needs qualified professionals. The demand for skilled professionals with knowledge in network security has never been higher, or more in demand. For Adrian, they are desperately looking for someone who can analyse what is happening. There is a lot of technology out there that can stop you from accessing things but really, it is about spotting the inconsistency, seeing when things go wrong, and seeing when architecture is the right way. People with an exceptionally good methodological approach to problem-solving can spot patterns. Common sense is also a huge thing that is missing. Adrian says that if it looks wrong or smells wrong, then it probably is wrong, you don’t need a machine to tell you that.

When it comes to the certification vs. degree argument, it usually raises a lot of opinions in the Networking industry. There are plenty of advantages and disadvantages on each side. Adrian’s view is this, let us say you have a degree in History or Latin for example, and all of a sudden you become a cyber security advisor and you’re standing in front of a CTO, and you need to tell them exactly what solution is going to protect their data and infrastructure. The degree won’t help, it’ll give you the ability to communicate, understand and comprehend but it’s not going to give you that tick in the box that they think, yeah, this guy knows what he’s talking about. So, for him, certifications show you really understand what is happening in the industry.

More on Fortinet…

An average day for Adrian at Fortinet is that there is no average day. The majority of the time he is talking to the customers and sorting their problems out. They are making sure that irrespective of the device you use, the transactions are secure.

When hiring at Fortinet, you have got to sit through quite a tough technical interview process, so you have got to understand Networking and Security. You’ve got to have ‘the ABC’, accuracy, brevity, and clarity, this is key. Most importantly you need to understand, listen, and react correctly to a problem.

Adrian not only shares some advice that he would give to his 16-year-old self but also advice to those who are looking to start their journey in the Networking industry. Listen to the full episode now to hear what he says.