Cisco Adds Three New Security Specialist Certifications

Vendor adds to security portfolio with specializations to address market opportunity for skilled network security specialists, building on CCNP Security certification program initiated last year.

February 3, 2011

D.H. Kass

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Cisco Systems Inc. said Wednesday that it has initiated new, albeit not required, security specialist designations for IOS, Virtual Private Networks (VPN) and firewall to its security certification program, responding to the market need for experts in specific technologies and products.

The vendor, which last October revamped its security certification to include the Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Security badge for network engineers, said that its three new designations, namely the IOS Security Specialist, VPN Security Specialist, and Firewall Security Specialist, addresses the growing market need for specific network security skills.

Channel partners equipped with the new security certifications command expertise in specific security areas and are more apt to demonstrate higher levels of competence to customers, officials said.

The three designations cover IOS security features built into Cisco’s routers and switches, zone-based firewalls, high availability VPNs, and intrusion detection and prevention systems, officials said. They carry a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Security certification requirement, the company said.

“Most of our customers are in the midst of deploying security networks,” said Tejas Vashi, Cisco Learning senior manager, product management. “The demand is high for professionals who understand security both within and outside the IT department and have skills and knowledge in very specific areas,” he said.

“Companies now are banking on teams of people to execute security,” Vashi said.

The new specializations allow individuals to attain a specialist badge while achieving a professional certification, he said. Companies can use them as part of an education or recertification plan, he said.

Candidates must pass two exams to complete the Firewall and VPN specializations and one test to attain the IOS specialist certification. Training is provided by Cisco’s network of 350 certified Learning Partners, Vashi said.

With the three additions, Cisco now offers six technologies in its security portfolio, including the existing IPS, NAC and ASA specializations.

“While the specialist certifications are not required, we fully expect them to catch on,” said David Bump, Cisco Learning portfolio manager, security certification.

To cement its point about market demand for security specialists, Cisco offered results from a survey it conducted last year of its CCIEs that identified security and risk management as high demand networking skills over the next five years.

Cisco employs about 200 people in its Cisco Learning unit in marketing, product management and development.

TAGS: security,certification,Cisco,channel partner,specialization

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