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Rob Witcher

February 9, 2024

In the ever-evolving field of cybersecurity, the right qualifications are just as important as your technical and security management abilities. The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification is a standout credential that proves your expertise and competence in cybersecurity.

Whether you're aiming to enhance your resume, seeking a promotion, looking to expand your knowledge in cybersecurity, or highlighting your company’s capabilities, understanding the CISSP certification is crucial. This certification is more than an exam; it's a key to unlocking new career opportunities, increasing your earning potential, and advancing your professional journey.

Let's explore how the CISSP certification can be a game-changer in your cybersecurity career.

What Is a CISSP Certification?

The CISSP certification is a prestigious credential in the cybersecurity world, globally acknowledged as a mark of excellence in information security. It's administered by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, known as ISC2, and targets experienced security practitioners, professionals, managers, and executives interested in proving their knowledge and competence across a wide array of security principles and practices.

At the heart of the CISSP is its Common Body of Knowledge (CBK), a framework that encompasses a wide range of security topics. This ensures CISSP holders have a comprehensive understanding of security principles and are prepared to address various challenges in the field.

Thanks to its extensive coverage, the CISSP is often said to be "a mile wide and an inch deep." This means it covers a broad spectrum of information security topics, making certified professionals versatile and capable of dealing with a variety of security issues across different sectors.

CISSP Certification Course Curriculum

The CISSP certification curriculum is designed around eight core domains that form the Common Body of Knowledge (CBK). These domains encompass the critical aspects of information and cyber security that every CISSP candidate must master.

Here's a closer look at each domain and what it covers:

  • Domain 1: Security and Risk Management: This domain forms the foundation of information security and risk management, covering topics such as confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data. It delves into compliance laws, regulations, and security governance principles, ensuring candidates understand the ethical and professional standards required in the field.
  • Domain 2: Asset Security: Focusing on the protection of information assets, this domain addresses the principles of data classification, ownership, and protective measures for privacy. It teaches how to secure data through its lifecycle, from creation to disposal, ensuring the integrity and confidentiality of information.
  • Domain 3: Security Architecture and Engineering: Here, the curriculum covers the concepts, principles, structures, and standards used to design, implement, monitor, and secure operating systems, equipment, networks, applications, and those controls used to enforce various levels of confidentiality, integrity, and availability.
  • Domain 4: Communication and Network Security: This domain is all about securing network structures, transmissions, and components. It emphasizes the importance of designing and protecting network security, understanding the protocols involved, and safeguarding the flow of information across networks.
  • Domain 5: Identity and Access Management (IAM): IAM covers the identification, authentication, authorization, and accountability of entities. It explores how to manage access rights, the integration of identity as a service (IDaaS), and the administration of identity and access provisioning lifecycle.
  • Domain 6: Security Assessment and Testing: Candidates learn to design, perform, and analyze security testing. This domain includes conducting assessments and audits to ensure compliance with policies and procedures, along with the effectiveness of the security controls in place.
  • Domain 7: Security Operations: This domain focuses on the strategies and operations involved in managing and protecting an organization’s information assets. It covers incident management, disaster recovery, and how to respond to and recover from security incidents and disasters.
  • Domain 8: Software Development Security: Addressing the importance of integrating security into the software development lifecycle, this domain teaches how to apply security controls, assess the effectiveness of software security, and understand the impact of software on data and information security.

Requirements for CISSP Certification

Despite the growing need for CISSP-certified professionals, ISC2 has set stringent criteria to ensure that only those with the requisite skills and experience achieve certification. The path to becoming a CISSP is rewarding, yet it demands a significant commitment to meet its comprehensive exam requirements.

Below is a detailed look at what you need to get this certification:

Work Experience

If you're eyeing the CISSP certification, you'll need at least five years of full-time, paid work under your belt in two or more of the CISSP's eight domains. This is how ISC2 ensures you possess not only theoretical knowledge but also the practical ability to apply information security principles in real-life situations.

So, if you've been on the front lines as a security analyst (or in a similar role) for the last five years, tackling issues that fall under the CISSP's broad umbrella, you're on the right track.

But don't sweat it if your job title doesn't directly spell out "security." What really matters is if your day-to-day responsibilities touch on any two of the eight domains covered by the CISSP. As long as you can show that your work experience aligns with these areas, you're in a good position to claim that experience towards your CISSP certification.

Relevant Education or Certifications Held

Apart from your work experience, your education and any other certifications you've picked up along the way can also help you meet the CISSP exam requirements. If you’ve invested time in earning a degree, you’re already a step ahead—this can cut down the required work experience by a whole year.

If you don’t have any relevant degree, don’t worry. Earning one of the approved credentials, like Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), or Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP), can also offset one year of the required work experience.

CISSP Certification Cost

The journey to becoming a CISSP comes with its set of financial considerations. The cost of the CISSP certification primarily involves the exam fee, which can vary slightly depending on your location. As a ballpark figure, expect to budget around US$699 for the exam itself.

However, that's not the whole story. Preparing for the CISSP exam also means investing in study materials, a CISSP online course, or even attending workshops, which can add to the overall cost. While these are optional, many candidates find them invaluable in navigating the eight domains covered by the CISSP.

It’s also wise to consider the possibility of needing to retake the exam. Planning for this can help you manage your budget effectively and avoid any surprises.

CISSP Certification Salary

The CISSP certification is a mark of excellence and an industry-recognized credential that significantly boosts the earning potential of cybersecurity professionals. With its stringent qualifications and the depth of expertise required, CISSP-certified individuals find themselves among the highest earners in the IT and cybersecurity fields.

According to PayScale, CISSP holders enjoy an average salary of US$127,000. However, it's important to remember that the average CISSP salaries can vary widely. Factors such as geographic location, years of work experience, and the specific industry sector play crucial roles in determining the exact compensation.

Why Get CISSP Certification?

Beyond the potential salary boost, earning the CISSP certification can offer numerous benefits. It's not just about the financial gain; the certification opens doors to new career opportunities, enriches your professional development, and connects you with a global community of like-minded professionals.

The benefits of achieving CISSP status extend far and wide, providing both immediate and enduring rewards. Here are some of them:

  • Global Recognition: The CISSP is acknowledged worldwide as the gold standard in information security, certifying your expertise and knowledge to employers everywhere.
  • Enhanced Job Opportunities: Certification can significantly expand your career options, with many organizations preferring or requiring CISSP credentials for their cybersecurity roles.
  • Professional Development: Preparing for and passing the CISSP exam deepens your understanding of security concepts and practices, fostering professional growth.
  • Networking Opportunities: As a CISSP, you join a global network of cybersecurity experts, offering unparalleled opportunities for knowledge sharing and professional support.
  • Credibility with Employers: The CISSP enhances your professional credibility, demonstrating your dedication to security excellence and commitment to your career.
  • Meeting Industry Standards: Achieving CISSP certification helps ensure compliance with industry and regulatory standards, a key consideration for many organizations.
  • Personal Achievement: Earning your CISSP is a significant personal accomplishment, marking your commitment to your career and passion for cybersecurity.

By pursuing CISSP certification, you're not just improving your resume; you're investing in a richer, more rewarding professional journey in cybersecurity.

CISSP Certification FAQs

Can I Pass the CISSP in 3 Months?

Yes, it's possible to pass the CISSP exam within three months, depending on your existing knowledge, dedication to studying, and the amount of time you can commit to preparation. A focused and well-structured study plan that covers the CISSP CBK is crucial. Many candidates find success with a combination of self-study, online courses, practice exams, and study groups.

At Destination Certification, our online CISSP MasterClass will create a personalized schedule for you that keeps you on track with your studies, enabling you to pass the CISSP exam in your ideal timeline, whether that’s 3 months or just a week.

One thing to note: getting the CISSP certification isn’t just about passing the exam. You also need to undergo a CISSP endorsement process, where you must be endorsed by an ISC2 member and submit your professional experience for verification.

Is CISSP Very Hard?

Yes, the CISSP exam is considered challenging due to its comprehensive coverage of security topics and the depth of understanding required. It tests a wide range of security concepts and practices across its eight domains, requiring candidates to have both broad knowledge and the ability to apply it in practical scenarios.

The exam format, length, and passing score further contribute to its difficulty. However, with dedicated study, practical experience, and proper preparation, many candidates successfully pass the CISSP exam on their first try.

Can I take CISSP without experience?

Yes, you can take the CISSP exam without the required experience. If you pass, you'll earn the Associate of ISC2 status. This designation shows that you have the knowledge covered by the CISSP exam but are still gaining the necessary work experience.

As an Associate of ISC2, you'll have up to six years to acquire the five years of required experience in two or more of the eight CISSP domains. This path allows you to begin your career in information security with a recognized achievement while working towards full CISSP certification.

Ready to Begin Your CISSP Journey?

Starting your CISSP certification path is a pivotal moment in your cybersecurity career, and the key to success lies in selecting the right course that aligns with your unique needs. It's crucial to find a program that not only fits into your busy schedule but also complements your existing knowledge base. After all, time is precious, and no one wants to spend it rehashing familiar concepts.

Enter Destination Certification. Our CISSP MasterClass is crafted with your flexibility and individual learning needs in mind and has proven to be very effective. We offer a dynamic course structure that allows you to engage with the material on your terms, enabling you to prepare for the CISSP exam without upending your daily life.

What sets our course apart is its adaptability to your specific knowledge level. Instead of following a one-size-fits-all curriculum, our program is designed to focus on areas where you need the most growth, bypassing topics you've already mastered.

Why wait any longer? Join the thousands that have already gone through this with us successfully. Start your CISSP journey with Destination Certification, and let us be your guide every step of the way. With our support, you'll navigate the path to CISSP certification with confidence, backed by a course that understands and adapts to your learning needs.

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