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The Most Wanted Security Certifications

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By: Shelby Welty

December 29, 2020

Cybersecurity operations are changing. As companies deal with the dual challenges of surging remote work and the shrinking supply of traditional cybersecurity talent, they’re opting for another approach: New-collar cybersecurity professionals.

Unlike their white and blue collar counterparts, new-collar staff combines knowledge training and practical technique to deliver both the hard and soft skills needed by organizations to defend digital assets. For example, staff members that can deploy complex defensive frameworks while simultaneously supporting their adoption among front-line workers and articulating their line-of-business benefits to C-suite staff.

This is no easy task — which is why many organizations now prioritize recognized and reputable infosec qualifications as the basis for hiring new security staff. This raises a critical question: for IT pros looking to navigate the new-collar landscape, which designations offer a definitive advantage? Here’s are five of the most wanted cybersecurity certifications.

CompTIA Security+ If there’s one qualification that always makes the list of “must-have” certifications, it’s CompTIA Security+. Why? Because this entry-level certification speaks to what companies are looking for in their cybersecurity staff: The ability to discover new threats, eliminate potential vulnerabilities, prevent malicious attacks, and improve digital defense across the organization. CompTIA Security+ covers six key knowledge areas:

  • Threats, attacks, and vulnerabilities
  • Technologies and tools
  • Architecture and design
  • Identity and access management
  • Risk management
  • Cryptography and KPI

To earn CompTIA Security+ certification, IT pros can complete either exam SY0-401 or SY0-501, both of which are 90 minutes long and contain 90 multiple-choice questions. A score of 750/900 or better is required to pass, and certifications are valid for three years.

Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) As enterprises shift to the cloud, security becomes paramount. From new cloud instances to public-facing applications and the adoption of interconnected mobile technologies, it’s easy for the complexity of cloud deployments to overwhelm even experienced IT teams. As a result, many companies are now looking to “reskill” their staff with cloud-based courses such as CCSP, or hire outside security professionals with this qualification.

CCSP training focuses on six core domains: architectural concepts, cloud data security, platform and infrastructure protection, application security, operations, and compliance. IT professionals who earn this certification are often in-demand for critical IT roles, including:

  • Security administrators
  • Security managers
  • Cloud security engineers
  • Enterprise architects
  • Security consultants

Also worth noting, this intermediate-level qualification requires at least five years of paid work in IT, three of which must focus on cybersecurity. Candidates must also complete a three-hour, 125-question exam with a score of 700/1000 or better.

Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) Malicious attacks are now a major problem for organizations. If hackers compromise corporate systems, create persistent back doors, or capture critical data, companies can suffer significant reputation and revenue loss.

As a result, enterprises are now looking for skilled professionals capable of going toe-to-toe with attackers and using their techniques against them. This is the value of the CEH qualification, which provides white-hat cybersecurity professionals the skills they need to conduct internal evaluations of IT infrastructure and find potential weak points. Key CEH skills include:

  • Footprinting
  • Scanning and enumeration
  • System hacking
  • Malware
  • Social engineering
  • Denial of service

To earn the CEH certification, candidates must complete a four-hour, 125-question exam with a score of 70% or better.

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) Information systems now form the basis of business success — the collection, storage, and analysis of digital data allows companies to develop strategic initiatives, discover new trends, and deliver value to customers and stakeholders alike. This presents a challenge. As these information systems expand beyond the traditional border of corporate offices, the risk of compromise increases rapidly into cloud-based and Internet of Things (IoT) frameworks.

Often called the “gold standard” of security certifications, CISSP-qualified professionals are in-demand for their ability to streamline and safeguard these systems against potential compromise and provide critical transparency into current infosec operations.

CISSP staff are often sought out for their ability to:

  • Comprehend the controls and technologies that increase overall operational security.
  • Collect vital information around the asset, software, and communication security.
  • Create comprehensive policies and procedures to boost overall information security.

This intermediate-level certification requires completing a three-hour, 150-question exam, with a score of 700/1000 or better.

Cybersecurity's Most Wanted

Ready to maximize your cybersecurity career potential? Start with in-demand certifications such as CompTIA Security+ and CEH, then branch out with sought-after qualifications such as CCSP and CISSP.

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