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Security Certifications

Hi All,

I am sure this was answered many times around but I'm not a paying member so it seems I cannot view certain solutions, so I will just ask again.
I am given the opportunity (I work for an IT consulting company) to get certified in security. There are 3 certifications mentioned. I would just like to ask a few words about each so I can decide which would be better for me. Security is a very wide thing and I'm more like interested in IT security, things that are a bit more technical - I am not the manager type of person, I guess (or at least not for now). What I am interested of are the technical details of the IT security, as access list systems in networks, firewall systems, GPO, backup and so on. Access card systems, surveillance stuff is not of much interest for me.

The 3 certifications would be:


These seem to be some kind of auditor certifications.

So, I'd like to have a few words on these from you who know them better (possible have them). Also, an interesting aspect would be the commercial one, let's say if I'd need to translate these certifications in salaries, well that also matters I guess :) So like which of these may be better financially for me (if it is possible to make such comparisons, at least).

Thanks guys,
3 Solutions
Endre_Szekely_BenczediAuthor Commented:
Ah, and a brief list/explanation of some other IT-specific/networking certifications (Cisco? Microsoft? Checkpoint? or whatever) that are well recognized would be very nice. Thanks.
Hi there

Well I am myself MCP (obsolete in my eyes) CCSE in checkpoint NG and CCNA
TOday I work for CISSP.
Now CISSP is not technical and it is a mile wide but only an inch deep meaning that you will learn alot of different aspect but you will not learn every detail about it. So i consider it more as for management level.

CISA is more for auditors and is good if you do auditing. I would not really do it as I like to combine tech levels with management levels. CISA is typical for top 5 audit companies like E&Y or KPMG.

The CCSE is very technical and you learn most about firewall aspects vpn etc...
CCNA is also a good choice but will prove your technical level on routing and network issues not very security minded.
MCSE is good if you take the security option and good in the sense for microsoft. Apart from that it is limited to be used in other domains such as linux/unix.
The sans certifications are very good and more combined a bit technical but you also learn concepts and creating a good paper.

To me it looks that CCSE + CISSP would be a good choice for yourself.
CCSE does not bring that much more money CISSP does. A cissp salary will range from 50k Euro to 100k euro annually in europe depending the country where you work

CISSP by far!  It's the most widely accepted as a general security cert.  When job hunting it is what I saw most companies require.  

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From my experience. I also work for an integrator and have a number of certifications in security including:
Checkpoint CCSA
Symantec SCTA

In addition, I manage a number of engineers that I have sent to various training including Netscreen and SANS. Here's my overall opinion:

1) If you are looking for general security knowledge and don't have a lot of experience with security devices, try the SANS courses first. They are very in depth and very hands on for a wide exposure to security technologies.

2) Your company will probably push for vendor specific training becasue they have a vendor requirement for authorization, and it will help you integrate the products they sell. They are very narrow in their training and almost always expect a general knowledge of the technology. Don't bother trying to get vendor specific training for a product line your company doesn't support. If you test out, the lack of real world experience on the product will make the certification useless quickly. I know, I tested out on Gauntlet for UNIX years ago, and never saw it after the test.

3) The CISSP is a great certification, but I would concentrate on either SANS or vendor specific. CISSP is all theory and for the most part won't help at all regarding integrating solutions. Good to work towards once you have a lot of experience, and are looking for a managerial level position.

Good Luck
Endre_Szekely_BenczediAuthor Commented:
Anyone heard of BS779 ?

Actually this is a proposed list from Corporate so not much to change about it. Anyways, I might just chose CISSP then, at least it worths something. As I like technical things I could do some other cert on my own later (most likely company would sponsor the exam if I succeed).
Endre_Szekely_BenczediAuthor Commented:
Thank you all, I will go for CCISP however CISA looks good too I mean for jobs. I know KPMG done a security audit this year at our company (requested by a client), they prolly got a shitload of money, we're a big company and also this client is (GE).
Anyway CCISP looks the most usable for me I guess.

I work as a system administrator, with like 3 years experience. In the past few months I was doing regular internal security audits with tools like MBSA, ISS, Nessus and some other. Anyway thanks for your input. All the answers gave some informations I like so no offense as I split the points. Thanks again! :)
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