Whether the network is a WAN, a LAN, a global cloud or an office intranet, qualified IT security personnel are required to ensure that data travels on the network in a safe and reliable way. Cisco Certified Security Professional (CCSP) certification stands as a strong step for IT workers looking to get into the security business.
CCSP training: knowledge and concepts
Students in pursuit of CCSP certification are instructed in several aspects of data security. Here's a list of recommended training programs for the credential's required exams:
- Securing Networks with Cisco Routers and Switches (SNRS)
- Secure v1.0 Securing Networks with Cisco Routers and Switches (SECURE v1.0)
- Implementing Cisco Intrusion Prevention System v6.0 (IPS)
- Implementing Cisco Intrusion Prevention System v7.0 (IPS v7.0)
- Deploying Cisco ASA Firewall Solutions (FIREWALL v1.0)
- Securing Networks with ASA Foundation (SNAF)
The CCSP syllabus also lists elective subjects and exams, which include the following:
- Implementing Cisco Security Monitoring, Analysis and Response System (MARS)
- Implementing Cisco NAC Appliance (CANAC)
- Securing Networks with ASA Advanced (SNAA)
- Deploying Cisco ASA VPN Solutions (VPN v1.0)
Some of these subjects are interchangeable, such as SNRS and SECURE v1.0, or FIREWALL v1.0 and SNAF. A few of these exams can no longer be taken from Cisco, but if one of a pair deprecates, its counterpart remains available.
CCSP training and recertification
It's important to note that Cisco decided to evolve CCSP training into a new standard security professional certification program, with the last new CCSP certifications scheduled for distribution in October 2011 and a new Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Security credential taking their place. Many of the CCSP certification exams overlap in subject matter with prerequisites for the new credential, so IT workers seeking a certification with staying power should ensure that they get on track for exams that can be substituted for CCNP requirements when the time comes to recertify.
Security professional certification and the marketplace
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a mean annual salary of $79,730 for information security analysts, Web developers, and computer network architects, according to 2010 wage data. The top 10 percent of earners in the field took home a mean figure of $119,940 annually. What's more, the BLS also reports an expected job growth of 30 percent in the employment supersector that contains computer security specialists, which translates to nearly 300,000 new jobs added between 2008 and 2018.
Cisco security certification is a great way for IT workers to increase employment opportunities and salary prospects in the growing information industry.