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Ignite ‘20 proved that even in a year full of uncertainty and changes, the future of cybersecurity continues to become stronger and more valuable. As Palo Alto Networks most awaited annual premier conference, Ignite ‘20 remained attune to COVID-19 transitions by transforming into a digital event. This completely virtual experience enabled tens of thousands of viewers to access the groundbreaking security innovations for cloud, network, and security operations.
For Global Customer Services and Global Enablement, Ignite ‘20 presented the opportunity to expand our Education Services outreach. The unique, fully virtual environment of the conference allowed us to reach an audience size greater than we ever have before. Interest in training and certification was heavily recognized throughout Ignite, both increasing awareness of our programs and helping us empower more learners interested in cybersecurity.
Ignite ‘20 had an entire track dedicated solely to Training and Certification. Education Services developed and presented two Fundamental training sessions for our product content tracks: Cloud Security Demystified for Prisma and SOC - Making Sense of All the Noise for Cortex. Each of the five certifications, including the two latest certifications, had 90 minute certification prep sessions available for anyone interested in learning more about certifying. We produced three hour training sessions pulled directly from Instructor-Led Trainings that featured ATP instructors and live product demos. In addition to presenting an abundance of content, we also staffed an expo floor booth dedicated to Education Services with specialized coffee tables for both Certification and Academy programs. Q&A office hours were held following events to provide direct responses to attendees who were unable to get their questions addressed during the event. With more than 35 hours of content, our offerings ended up being a third of the entirety of offerings available at Ignite. This year’s Ignite conference marked the first time Global Enablement has had such a big presence in this overall platform.
Our biggest success involved the extremely high levels of engagement we experienced in each of our sessions. Multiple sessions exceeded capacity and maxed out on attendance. The feedback on all training content was positive and the content selection and presentation styles were very well received.
With normal informational sessions, it is common for metrics to result in passive viewership. However, the level of engagement in our sessions was astonishingly active throughout Ignite ‘20. For instance, our training sessions included polls utilized to ask attendees sample questions about the content we were teaching. Each of the polls resulted in high levels of interaction with more than 80% of participants answering questions throughout the three hour training sessions. The distribution of answers across the polls was great as well; from an exam perspective, we expect a broad distribution of answers if the questions are sufficiently challenging, and that is what ended up being the case for a majority of our sample questions. Both the high level of engagement during our training sessions and the distribution of answers in polling show that our sessions are truly making an impact with learners.
The total attendance of sessions hosted by Education Services, with 18,847 attendees, was huge in and of itself. We have never touched the sheer amount of people that Ignite ‘20 brought on board--this presents an exciting path for the future of Global Enablement and Global Customer Services. With the large and constantly increasing number of attendees interested in and interacting with our offerings, it is clear that the cybersecurity education delivered through Palo Alto Networks Education Services is as important and valuable as ever.
By the end of Ignite ‘20, we distributed more than 4,000 certification vouchers to people who participated in the certification prep sessions. They are now moving forward in their education journey to becoming certified.