Cybersecurity certifications are basically evergreen investments in technical expertise and knowledge. The scope of security-related challenges has greatly expanded in recent years as IT organizations have integrated mobile devices, cloud-connected applications and support for the Internet of Things into their day-to-day operations.
Indeed, the recent RSA Security conference in San Francisco illustrated how significant cybersecurity issues have become for today's enterprises. The show set a record for number of vendors and total attendance, with 43,000 professionals present, and yet there was no clear consensus on which problems were high-priority, nor on which specific tools were best suited to solving them.
At the same time, cybersecurity has become a major financial and human resources burden for companies of all stripes:
- JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon told a group at 2016 security event that the bank had doubled its security budget in 2015 to $500 million, characterizing the increase as part of a "tax on business" that "cannot continue this way forever," according to ZDNet.
- Security jobs are widely unfilled. Cybersecurity Ventures estimated that there was zero percent unemployment in cybersecurity in 2016. Approximately 1 million such jobs were unfilled in 2016, and that number is expected to rise to 1.5 million by 2019.
All of this is bad news for employers but good news for employees, who can potentially gain leverage by obtaining advanced certifications and trainings that highlight their skills. But which security certifications are worth your time? Here are the ones you should focus on in 2017:
1. CompTIA Security+
This certification requires few concrete prerequisites, other than basic familiarity and experience with network security. The CompTIA A+ and Network+ certifications may also be helpful as preparation.
Security+ provides broad training in how to identify security threats and vulnerabilities, manage certificates, troubleshoot incidents and much more. Certifications from 2011 and later are valid for 3 years and require continuing education to maintain.
2. Microsoft Windows Server
Windows Server is a widely used utility for tasks such as server virtualization. A Spiceworks survey found that more than 22 percent of companies using Spiceworks solutions also relied on Hyper-V (included with Windows Server) to virtualize their assets.
"Learning the ropes of networking and security in Windows Server is an important first step."
Learning the ropes of networking and security in Windows Server is an important first step for many cybersecurity professionals. The extent of the Microsoft ecosystem as well as the need to protect basic infrastructure such as IT networks and servers makes this certification a must-have.
3. International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium certifications
The International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, or (ISC)2, sponsors several certifications that help develop cybersecurity expertise. Its basic Certified Authorization Professional teaches IT workers how to conduct risk assessment and establish security processes and documentation.
Beyond that, (ISC)2 offers the Certified Information Systems Security Professional distinction, which was the first of its kind accredited under the ANSI ISO/IEC Standard 17024:2003. Additional options include the Information Systems Security Architecture Professional certification for chief security architects and analysts and the Information Systems Security Engineering Professional track that was developed in conjunction with the U.S. National Security Agency.
4. Cisco networking, routing and security certifications
There are numerous Cisco certifications available to security-minded professionals. Like Microsoft, Cisco has such a large footprint in modern IT infrastructures that it is difficult to understand and address cybersecurity challenges without at least some knowledge of its products and services.
Security workers can start with courses in Cisco networking and routing, then move on to more specific topics such as implementing IOS Network Security 3.0, Identity Services Engine 1.3 and Threat Control Solutions 1.0. Cisco certifications run the gamut from beginner to advanced level, with something for everyone.
5. CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner
This certification is designed for experienced cybersecurity workers looking to shore up their skills in designing security architectures for complex enterprise environments. It offers extensive training in securing storage, hosts and applications, in addition to cryptographic techniques and vulnerability assessments.
All of these certifications and many more are available at your area's New Horizons Computer Center. Find the nearest location today to sign up for more information about the available educational opportunities.