Cisco’s new security certifications and training

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This column came about due to the convergence of two forces. The first force is the number of questions that I receive on an ongoing basis specifically related to Cisco certifications. The second force was having the pleasure of speaking with Tejas Vashi and Danny Tomic regarding Cisco’s new security certification training programs.

Cisco recently announced major enhancements in its certification and training programs. I would like to specifically highlight the redesign of their CCNP Security offerings and their new Cybersecurity Specialists. Their training goal with these and other training enhancements is to provide their customers with “the right expertise, in the right place, at the right time”.

In January, the Cisco Annual Security Report indicated that, in 2014, there will be a shortage of over a million security professionals across the world. While this is a very scary statistic from an IT management perspective, it’s wonderful news for people looking to enter or enhance their IT careers in the computer/data security area.

Regarding the redesign of their CCNP Security training, this program has been enhanced both in its content and its delivery options. As a way of best protecting their clients, it seems clear that Cisco truly embraces the importance of teaching holistic security solutions, in addition to their device-based instruction.

Regarding the new Cybersecurity Specialist Certification designed to enhance the skills and abilities of Network Security Analysts through instruction that emphasizes activities such as event monitoring, security event alarms, traffic analysis and incident response.

Having these classes and certification in place is only one piece of the puzzle. The next questions are related to how and why you should get this training.

As to why to pursue these, and other, types of Cisco certifications is three fold:
• The technical knowledge gained can help you better protect your organization
• The emphasis on solution-based training can help you design better overall security plans and holistic solutions
• From a career perspective, Cisco certifications are highly respected, and therefore, given the shortage of security professionals world-wide, also very marketable

Cisco now has over 450 business partners across the world, providing training in a number of different formats including instructor-led, virtual/webinar, and eLearning. Additionally, they have also created a number of other less-traditional, but very impressive teaching capabilities. These capabilities include gaming-based lab simulations, virtual mentoring, accelerated learning programs, digital libraries, and a number of other learning and informational avenues.

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