Cyber security risks have been increasing manifold and cyber attacks are on the rise world over. Now the magnitude of these attacks is unimaginable. Recently the whole citizen database of India was hacked. Similarly, Facebook also has recently disclosed that its 80 million records were compromised.
With this background, it is natural that demand for cyber security certifications has been on the rise. In fact, there are going to millions of new information security job opening in the future. And people with one of these certifications will have clear head start over those who don’t.
Best Information Security Certifications
In this discussion, I will divide these cyber security certifications into two broader categories.
Entry Level cyber security Certifications:
These certifications can help you land first entry level jobs in information security field. While you will not be able to land a job like information security consultant, or information security analyst, these entry level security certifications will give you edge in your other related jobs because of the increased focus towards information security almost throughout the enterprise.
This is a certification by CompTIA. Though it is not high on information security knowledge but it does cover network security concepts at basic level. It can help you land your initial jobs as network engineer or network designer, system administrator, IT manager etc where the HR is looking for someone with basic understanding of cyber security. Network+ exam cost is $319.
This is a dedicated cyber security certification from CompTIA. You will go through detailed concepts of information security like risk management and vulnerabilities etc while preparing for this exam. Some of the jobs where it can help you are system administrator, network engineer and entry level information security analyst. Security+ exam cost is $339.
If you are already working in networking, then a good entry level security certification is CCNA Security exam. However, CISCO will phase this out from Feb, 2020. And the new CCNA certification will have Security Fundamentals as part of it. CCNA Security exam fee is $300.
Top IS Security Certifications
CISSP stands for Certified Information Systems Security Professional. This is the most popular certification for information security professionals. It covers detailed knowledge areas (eight domains) expected from a security professional.
You also need to have 5 years experience for CISSP certification. It is administered by (ISC)2 . CISSP exam is between 100-150 questions and the current CISSP exam cost is $699.
Certified Information Security Manager is one the trademark cyber security certification from ISACA, which also administers the CISA certification. CISM is less detailed than CISSP and is more targeted towards managers.
Current CISM exam fee is $575.
This is perhaps one of the most famous certification because of the word hacker attached to it. However, I would rate it below CISM and CISA because its content is mostly web focus. It is not geared towards providing you a comprehensive understanding of the information security function from a manager’s perspective.
However, if you want to feel satisfaction from the word hacker being attached to your name, then this is a cyber security certification that you may like to pursue. CEH exam voucher is currently priced at $950.
This is also called SANS GIAC Security Essentials Certification. This is one of the top cyber security certifications that has made its mark in a short period of time. It is administered by SANS which is one the world’s top organization working in cyber security research and training.
SACS GIAC covers hot areas like defense in depth, Linux security, Windows security, cryptography, contingency planning and wireless security etc.
In fact this is the most pricey of all the cyber security certifications. GIAC exam cost is $1,899.