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The International Information System Security Certification Consortium, (ISC)² is a reputed body that offers cybersecurity certificates to professionals in the information security industry. (ISC)² accredited specialists are recognized globally and preferred by employers since they are better equipped to protect the business against threats. In today's fast-developing world, such certifications that validate an individual’s skills and expertise are a must, so let’s learn more about them.
What Certifications Does (ISC)² Provide?
(ISC)² offers nine different certifications that cover a diverse range of information security areas:
- CAP – Certified Authorization Professional
The CAP certification validates a professional’s ability to authorize and maintain information systems using standard procedures and best practices. Its related exam tests an individual’s knowledge and skills on seven domains of the CAP Common Body of Knowledge (CBK) which include Information Security Risk Management Program; Information Systems (IS) Categorization; Security Controls Selection, Implementation, and Assessment; Authorization of Information Systems (IS); and Continuous Monitoring. To apply for the CAP certificate, a minimum of two years’ work experience is required in any of the mentioned domains.
- CCSP – Certified Cloud Security Professional
CCSP certified professionals have the expertise and knowledge to manage and protect data, systems, and applications in the cloud. The exam tests one’s understanding of the six main domains of the CCSP CBK. These cover cloud basics as well as cloud design and architecture, the security of cloud apps, infrastructure, and data, compliance and risk, and common security operations. A minimum of five years’ experience is required to qualify for the CCSP accreditation.
- CISSP – Certified Information Systems Security Professional
CISSP is one of the most popular and prestigious certifications in the cybersecurity community. It validates the skills of professionals needed to design, implement, and manage a total cybersecurity program. Its associated exam assesses the knowledge of eight different domains. According to them, the applicants should be proficient in the areas such as security engineering as well as architecture, IAM, security-related operations, risk management along with security management, the security of networks and communication, asset security, security testing, and the security of software development. Candidates are expected to demonstrate a minimum of five years of work experience to qualify for the certification.
Once earned CISSP and two more years of work experience, individuals can opt for specialized certificates to progress further and develop more focused knowledge in particular areas of the CISSP framework. The options available are listed below:
- CISSP – ISSAP Information Systems Security Architecture Professional
- CISSP – ISSEP Information Systems Security Engineering Professional
- CISSP – ISSMP Information Systems Security Management Professional
Other accreditations offered by (ISC)² are the following:
- CSSLP – Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional
- SSCP – System Security Certified Practitioner
- HCISPP – HealthCare Information Security and Privacy Practitioner
Overview of (ISC)² Exams
The (ISC)² exams consist of multiple-choice and advanced innovative questions. The number of items and the duration are different for each particular certification. The candidates are expected to score 700 points out of 1000 to get a pass status. The available languages include French, German, Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, and Korean. However, it is important to note that some tests can only be taken in English. To register, one should visit the Pearson VUE platform, and the applicants can sit for the exam at a Pearson VUE Testing Center or at (ISC)² authorized centers.
How to Prepare for (ISC)² Exams: Best Training Resources
There are various materials available for candidates to help prepare for the (ISC)² exams. The vendor itself offers self-paced and guided training courses that cover all relevant domains of the CBK. Standard procedures, best practices, and basic security-related theory will be reviewed during the sessions. Moreover, there are different formats available for instructor-led courses, including in-classroom, online, and on-site options.
Speaking of the course that individuals can follow by themselves to get ready for the CISSP exam, it offers a complete assessment of one’s knowledge in addition to valuable information on the topics included in the syllabus. Each chapter contains prior testing, the concepts explained, and questions for self-check, as well as the final mock exam in the end of the course.
Additionally, (ISC)² provides helpful books for their tests. For instance, their CBK reference book for CISSP can be obtained through Amazon, Wiley, Kindle, and Google Play. Also, there is a detailed study guide compiled by the industry experts that covers all eight domains of CISSP comprehensively, including objectives and case studies, among the rest.
CCSP For Dummies by Arthur J. Deane is another book available on Amazon and Wiley. It is a great tool that helps individuals prepare for the exam since it covers all six domains of the CCSP CBK that one is required to know. It is a source of rich information and practical solutions that readers would find extremely useful when implementing and managing cloud security. The book provides access to two online practice tests and a hundred online flashcards which helps candidates to test their knowledge and understanding prior to the actual exam. Furthermore, it contains cheat sheets that readers can use as a quick reference in their professional journey.
Official (ISC)² Guide to the CAP Common Body of Knowledge, Second Edition by Patrick D. Howard available on both Amazon and Kindle provides a sound foundation for individuals aiming to obtain the CAP certification. It is a systematic guide that covers the implementation of information security and system authorization in any organization. Additionally, it also contains case studies and real-world experiences for the readers to help them gain a better understanding of the concepts.
Where Will (ISC)² Certification Lead to?
(ISC)² has set benchmarks in the information security industry with over 150,000 certified members currently. The professionals with such certificates have occupied various security-related roles in the field and earn salaries higher than their non-accredited counterparts. For instance, those with the CAP certificate can obtain a compensation of $99k annually, according to PayScale, while this sum for CISSP certified specialists goes up to $115k on average.