The Top 3 Certifications For Security Professionals

by QuickCert on October 28, 2010

Security Certifications Are A Growing Trend

Security certifications come in a wide variety of levels ranging from the entry level type to the advanced stage. Trying to narrow down the top three is at best an arduous process, bound to be controversial in many respects. However, there are certain criteria that can be used in order to help clarify this process.

In order they are found to be: a certification must be well known among professionals in this field. This will tend to exclude the newer types as obviously those which have been around longer are better known among experts in the industry. There is also the issue of popularity, which is simply the number of people who have taken and successfully passed the examination. Again, this tends to slant the view in favor of the older models since more people have taken the test. Finally, only certifications which cover the entire process were considered, excluding those specifically designed for one specific vendor. Of course, this narrowed the field considerably when taking in account the large number of tests for a particular manufacturer.

This rating system is not all inclusive and will most likely vary between different individuals since they have differing needs.

One of the oldest and most well known among the security certificates is the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). Currently this certification has been gained by well over 60,000 professionals.

The exam itself ranges the gamut on a whole host of different areas, some of which would not be considered as a standard part of information security. This is all solid core material with nothing that can be considered avant garde in any way. It is a six hour sitting examination which consists of 250 multiple choice questions posed for candidates. And its old school — with paper and pencil used to conduct the test.

There are 10 key topics which are covered on the CISSP examination, and include the following list: Operational Security, Application Security, Cryptography, Control of Access, Physical security, Networking, Disaster Recovery and Continuity Planning, Risk Management, and Network Design.

The next examination is the Security Essentials Certification (GSEC). It has proven to be very popular as well, with a difficulty level comparable to the CISSP. However, unlike the latter, it does include a portion that involves hands on methods which are needed in the workplace.

This test is of the open book variety, with a multiple choice format consisting of 180 questions over a 5 hour time limit. It needs to be retaken every 4 years in order to remain certified. Candidates don’t need any refresher courses or continuing education credits as long as they comprehend the material.

The last certification is Security+ and it is the entry level exam that most professionals start with. This exam contains 100 multiple choice questions with a 90 minute time limit. However, since it is considered an entry level exam and much easier to pass then either the CISSP or GSEC, the Security+ exam is not as highly regarded within the industry. But this test only requires the student to pass as there is no need to retake it ever.

Security is one area that is growing by leaps and bounds as computers are becoming a greater part of the modern world. This is one reason that the demand for security professionals and advanced certification has skyrocketed. The CISSP certification program has become the defacto standard of the industry and is well regarded by experts. The program was designed for those professionals who desired to specialize in one particular part of the security team within an organization

These 3 exams will certainly proved valuable to anybody looking to get into this industry or further their careers.