Cisco Updates Certification Training

Mobility, Cloud Push the Need for IT Security
Cisco Updates Certification Training

Cisco has announced a major update to Cisco CCNA and CCNP security certifications to deliver specialized training in IT security to meet the needs of emerging technologies and role evolution of network security professionals.

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"The technology evolution in mobile and cloud is driving demand for more specialized skills, including information security within a network specialist's role," says Tejas Vashi, director of product development at Cisco. "A CISO or a CEO today is looking for dedicated network security individuals having soup-to-nuts background in IT security; it's no longer enough to be the switch, router guy who can dabble with security within a company."

Cisco's training updates largely focus on new security product features, including the latest firewall technology, as well as choosing, deploying, supporting and troubleshooting virtual private network accessibility and intrusion detection and prevention solutions for mobile and cloud based networking environments.

The Cisco Certified Network Associate and Cisco Certified Network Professional security credentials validate an individual's knowledge and skills required to secure Cisco networks. Practitioners need to demonstrate the skills to develop a security infrastructure, recognize threats and vulnerabilities to networks, and mitigate security threats.

CCNA and CCNP security lays the foundation for job roles such as network security specialist, security administrator and network security engineer.

The Cisco certifications are crucial for IT security professionals because they provide in-depth technical training to practitioners in securing and defending an organization's infrastructure and by keeping them up-to-date with emerging technologies. In fact, the top information security certifications for 2012 include CCNA and CCNP credentials based on research and review of job sites, employers and IT security recruiters. ( See Top 5 Certifications for 2012)

The curriculum for CCNA and CCNP is regularly updated every 12-18 months, depending on market needs and changing technologies. However, this is the first time the security curriculum for these credentials has undergone a re-design since they were launched in 2008 and 2010 respectively.

Major updates include:

  • Cisco ASA adaptive security appliance - a new firewall platform and technology that will help individuals in understanding firewall prevention, virus and malware attacks and risk mitigation within virtualized networks. For example, these practitioners will learn how to open up their networks or not to allow certain applications to collaborate with mobile devices or social media and understand how different applications interact with each other. "Network security folks need to know how to set up an administration for bring your own device and be prepared from a security engineering perspective when led to such situations," says Andy Gremett, senior manager of product marketing for Cisco.
  • Virtual private network accessibility - these updates will prepare network security professionals to address issues on accessibility and privileges to the network from a multiple entry standpoint. "They need to understand how to administer remote network access for multiple devices and what does this mean?" Vashi says.
  • Cisco IOS Network Security - will address the changing networking environment and help practitioners confidently deploy, design, test, configure and troubleshoot the core technologies that make up network security like firewall, VPN, IPSv 7. For example, they will learn how to secure new devices and entry points, or when data goes into a public cloud environment they will be prepared from a network security standpoint to address issues of data storage.

"Through the updated coursework we are building the ability for network security folks to change their mindsets in adapting their networks to accommodate new technologies, product features and become better prepared to address threats stemming from mobile, cloud and virtualized environments," Gremett says.

Individuals can earn the CCNA credential by passing the Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 1(ICND1) or professionals that are already certified as Cisco Certified Entry Network Technician (CCENT) are eligible to sit for the CCNA exam. The CCNP is a much more advanced certification and requires practitioners to be CCNA certified as a prerequisite.

Exams for CCNA and CCNP will reflect these updates almost immediately and will be available for candidates from today on. In addition, an updated self-study curriculum and training offered through Cisco's learning partners will be available for candidates interested in pursuing these credentials. However, existing CCNA or CCNP certificate holders will not be affected with these changes, until it is time to renew their current certification.

"To be effective, network security professionals cannot rely on what they knew before; they have to evolve their skills and learning with the evolution in their job roles," Vashi says.

About the Author

Upasana Gupta

Upasana Gupta

Contributing Editor, CareersInfoSecurity

Upasana Gupta oversees CareersInfoSecurity and shepherds career and leadership coverage for all Information Security Media Group's media properties. She regularly writes on career topics and speaks to senior executives on a wide-range of subjects, including security leadership, privacy, risk management, application security and fraud. She also helps produce podcasts and is instrumental in the global expansion of ISMG websites by recruiting international information security and risk experts to contribute content, including blogs. Upasana previously served as a resource manager focusing on hiring, recruiting and human resources at Icons Inc., an IT security advisory firm affiliated with ISMG. She holds an MBA in human resources from Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa.

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