Reacting to a need for more “Job Role” informed training and certification for Security Professionals, Cisco announced earlier this week that it is end-of-life-ing the venerable CCSP, replacing it with the “Cisco Certified Network Professional for Security” Certification. For those of us that have been in this business a while, it is reminiscent of Microsoft’s move from the MCSE to the MCITP. Last I checked, It did not help Microsoft’s certification business. The Cisco change, however, leverages the popular “CCNP” brand and actually decreases the requirements for the certification candidates, both which bode well for its longevity. CCVP as well is moving to the CCNP Voice, and a CCNP Wireless already exists.
The titles of the exams in most cases look new, but the associated courses are simply revisions of existing courses:
CCSP Titles————-> CCNP Security Titles
SNRS———————-> SECURE v 1.0 (Securing Networks with Cisco Routers and Switches)
IPS 6.0——————–> IPS 7.0 (Implementing Cisco Intrusion Prevention Systems)
SNAF———————-> FIREWALL v 1.0 (Deploying Cisco ASA Firewall Features)
SNAA———————-> VPN v1.0 (Deploying Cisco ASA VPN Solutions)
So while the Course/Exam acronyms have changed, the underlying objectives and technologies are largely the same. The major differences in the new courses is that they reflect more adherence to the actual job tasks performed, rather than a pure technology focus. It might sound like a subtle difference, but it points to a migration happening at Cisco for all of its courses, basing its development work more so on Job Task and Job Role analyses.
This is a good thing for employers and particularly for one major employer: the Department of Defense. The DoD has place the strengthening of its “Information Assurance Workforce” at the top of its priority list. Most of you already know about the DoD 8570 mandate. This shift in Cisco Certification methodology answers the need for more “Performance-Based” training and certification.
And for you cert hounds, there is one big advantage of the CCNP Security over the CCSP: one less exam. If you have already started working toward your CCSP, don’t worry, there is a migration path for you. Check out our CCNP Security Certification page for more info.
Also, being on the inside track has its perks: We have already productized and released an all-inclusive CCNP Security Boot Camp.
If any of this leaves some confusion, please let me know,
Barry Kaufman, Fast Lane