Network security provider Fortinet (FTNT) introduced its latest technical certification program this week as a way to give partners and security professionals the opportunity to gain expertise in its product and services portfolio.

Fortinet's new Network Security Expert (NSE) certification program is expected to help its partner network boost value and expand into new markets while also replacing the company’s existing certification programs.

“We are pleased to unveil the Fortinet Network Security Expert certification, representing a new industry standard that sets the bar even higher for Fortinet’s partners, customers and employees,” said Joe Sykora, vice president of Americas Sales Operations and Channels at Fortinet, in a statement. “We have designed the new certification program to help enable participants to greatly expand upon their knowledge and expertise of Fortinet’s expansive network security portfolio, and to better prepare them to enter untapped markets.”

Fortinet’s NSE certification includes eight levels of free online technical and professional training designed to improve the network security skills of the company’s entire partner community, according to the press release.

Participants in the program can choose from multiple self-paced and instructor-led courses, including practical exercises to demonstrate their overall mastery of more complex network security concepts, according to Fortinet. As expected, topics include basic survey-level courses for beginners as well as advanced architectural-level subject matter at the higher levels of the program, giving users a wide range of topics to explore and master. The new program will also include content not previously covered in Fortinet’s existing certification programs, giving users more incentive to log on and explore its online course offerings.

Fortinet's previous FCNSA and FCNSP certifications will remain in effect for one year following the new program’s launch, including the complete benefits from each certification. After the buffer has passed, however, participants will be required to update their certifications according to the terms of the new program.

With the introduction of the NSE program, Fortinet hopes to provide its channel partners with more sales opportunities and the ability to provide higher levels of support to their customers. The program was designed to help partners leverage Fortinet’s entire product portfolio and validate their own security expertise, all in pursuit of higher sales and the ability to provide new services. The Fortinet NSE program will also give partners exclusive access to benefits such as enhanced escalation, invitations to NSE-only events and public recognition for their service.