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Security Certifications: Qualifying Yourself for System Defense

  • May 9, 2003
  • By Steve Rowe
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CISSP Certification

Unlike the Security+ and TICSA exams, the CISSP exam is an upper-level exam for hardcore security professionals. The CISSP exam is a prestigious certification sponsored by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, Inc., (ISC)2 for short. CISSP stands for Certified Information Systems Security Professional, and this particular (ISC)2 exam has been around for a little over 10 years boasting over 7,000 certified individuals.

As just mentioned, this exam is for senior-level security professionals. The typical person who studies for and takes this exam is an upper-level security professional who designs, implements, and manages corporate-wide security implementations. The candidate must pass an exam that covers what (ISC)2 calls the 10 Common Body of Knowledge (CBK) domains. The CBK is rather large and arduous, but the content in these domains is widely considered to be part of the typical CISSP candidate's job duties. Thus, anything in these domains is fair game for the test. If you are interested in this exam and would like too see the full descriptions of the 10 CBK, checkout www.isc2.org.

The following are important facts related to the CISSP exam:

  • Minimum requirements for sitting the exam are four verifiable years of systems security experience in 1 of the CBK domains or three years of verifiable experience in 1 of the CBK domains and a college degree or equivalent life experience. The (ISC)2 periodically audits some of those who achieve the CISSP exam to ensure that candidates are being honest in their reporting.
  • The exam is 250 questions long with a maximum of 6 hours to complete the exam.
  • CISSP candidates must agree to the (ISC)2 CISSP Code of Ethics as part of the certification process.
  • After passing the exam the candidate must get their certification endorsed by an existing CISSP before the certification can be awarded.
  • The CISSP certification has a three year life cycle. The certification can be renewed with 120 hours of continuing education with 80 hours of the 120 being in security classes. One may also elect to retake the exam instead of completing the continuing education in order to renew their certification.

Passing the CISSP exam demonstrates the high-level security knowledge a candidate possesses. Having this security certification can be a significant boost to a security administrator's career and, quite possibly, salary level. If you are looking to make security implementation and administration a career choice, taking and passing the CISSP exam is a very good goal to set and pursue within the scope of your career.



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