CASP Certification: Overview and Career Path
Introduction – What is the CASP Certification?
The CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) certification is a vendor-neutral credential. It is an internationally targeted validation of advanced-level security skills and knowledge. CASP covers the technical knowledge and skills required to conceptualize, engineer, integrate and implement secure solutions across complex environments to support a resilient enterprise.
The certification is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), so as to show compliance with the ISO 17024 standard. ANSI is a non-profit organization that oversees the development of voluntary consensus standards for products. It ensures that the certification undergoes regular reviews and updates in order to meet the exam objectives.
In this article, we will take a look at the CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner certification and the benefits that come along with it. We examine its relevance in the cyber security market and describe the best methods that candidates might consider while preparing for the examination. By the end of this publication, aspiring candidates will come away with basic understanding of the certification and whether it is a skill area they wish to pursue.
Who should earn the CASP?
As the nature of cyber threats broadens, the number of security threats to organizations grows globally. Organizations are beginning to realize that security cannot be an afterthought, nor something to be addressed after an attack has already wiped out the business. It must be developed at the foundational level in order to ensure the organization’s electronic health and safety. This has created a need for security professionals globally. Aspirants of the CASP will mostly be individuals attempting to attain a position in the IT security field with the aim of addressing the numerous security challenges that are facing organizations. According to research conducted in 2017 by Enterprise Strategy Group, the cyber security skills shortage is getting worse, and IT professionals are seeing the importance of advancing their skillset to address this shortage.
What experience do you need?
In order to be eligible to take the examination, candidates are required to have ten years of experience in IT administration, including at least five years of hands-on technical security experience.
How does the CASP compare to other security certs?
The CASP certification is one of the security certifications that are vendor neutral. It can be seen as a stepping-stone to more specialized and vendor-specific certifications. The topics covered under the different domains therefore apply to many security devices and technologies. Therefore, detailed training on these can be obtained in books covering those particular technologies.
The following are some of the other security exams that compare in terms of difficulty and qualification requirements with the CASP:
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
The CISSP certification is the most esteemed cybersecurity certification in the world. It recognizes information security leaders who understand cybersecurity strategy as well as hands-on implementation. The CISSP certification is a great way to demonstrate your knowledge at an elite level. It shows the ability to design, engineer, implement, manage, and run an information security program within an organization. CISSP was the first information security credential to meet the strict conditions of ISO/IEC Standard 17024.
Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)
The CCSP is the premier cloud security certification. Co-developed with Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), it is one of the hottest certifications on the market today. The CCSP recognizes IT and information security leaders who have the knowledge and competency to apply best practices to cloud security architecture, design, operations and service orchestration. It shows that one is on the forefront of cloud security. This certification is ideal for experienced, high-achieving IT and information security professionals who work in and/or consult about cloud platforms.
Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP)
If your is going to be strongly connected with the security aspects of the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC), you should begin preparation to study for a CSSLP certification. The certification was created in 2008 and would be beneficial for professionals in a variety of careers, from IT analysts to project managers, as well as engineers who are specifically working with the Software Development Lifecycle. Like the CCSP, CSSLP is a focused specialty, and is meant to show certificate holders’ proficiency in application security and their ability to analyze and eliminate vulnerabilities. Candidates who plan to devote a significant period of their career to software development security will find this certification to be an excellent calling-card to future employers, showing that are you are a long-time professional with demonstrable SDLC qualifications.
The overall choice of certification to pursue depends on the preference of the candidate and the ability of the market to accommodate holders of a specific certification. Make sure you have an idea of where you’d like to your career to be in the years to come before embarking on a high-level certification study.
Currently, jobs in the cybersecurity field have gone up by 80% more over the past three years than any other job related to information technology, promising exciting opportunities for certified professionals not only now but also in the years to come.
Is the CASP Worth the Investment?
Acquiring the CASP accreditation is not easy due to the diverse technologies that candidates must master. Thus this question must be regularly pondered in the candidates’ minds: “is it worth it?” In order to appreciate the benefits of the hard-earned CASP certification, a review of a few desirable job titles might be in order.
The following positions would greatly benefit from the expertise of the CASP credential. In some cases, a CASP certification might even be a requirement for entry.
- Senior Information System Security Engineer (ISSE): An Information Systems Security Engineer (ISSE) is the person in an organization who determines system security requirements. The ISSE also designs the security layout or architecture and determines required security tools and existing tool functionality. An ISSE must first determine the client’s security requirements and then take measures to build systems around those requirements to maintain the security of systems and information. The ISSE designs the architecture of an information system (IS) and chooses the pieces of the system used to perform the needed functions.
- Senior Information Security Officer: The Senior Information Security Officer acts to ensure Information Security concerns, ensuring that the client is compliant with internal policies and regulatory requirements. Additionally, the incumbent will be responsible for overseeing risk assessments and security operations. The role is a blend of Governance, Risk, Compliance and Security Operations.
- Information Security Manager: Information Security Managers are responsible for protecting their organization’s computers, networks, and data against threats, such as security breaches, computer viruses or attacks by cyber-criminals. These intrusions can disrupt an organization’s information technology systems or lead to a loss of confidential information. The roles of the manager include managing the development of IT security standards, best practices, architecture and systems for more than one IT functional area across the enterprise, developing the enterprise security strategy, managing security projects and overseeing the implementation of processes and methods for auditing.
- Chief Information Security Officer (CISO): A CISO is the executive-level manager who directs strategy, operations, and the budget for the protection of enterprise information assets and also manages that program. The scope of responsibility will encompass communications, applications and infrastructure, including the policies and procedures that apply. This position can have different titles for the same or similar duties, including Chief Information Technology Officer (CIO), Information Systems (IS) Security Manager, Corporate Security Executive, and Information Security Director.
- Senior Security Engineer: The Security Engineer understands how to design architecture that protects the company. The engineer many need to work with other security specialists to help mitigate damages during current attacks. The engineer assists in analysing, planning, implementing, maintaining, troubleshooting and enhancing large complex systems or networks consisting of a combination that may include mainframes, mini-computers, personal computers, mobile devices, LANs, WANs, servers, data storage and the physical and logical components that integrate these systems together as an enterprise networking backbone.
- Chief Security Officer (CSO): Increasingly, Chief Security Officer means just what it sounds like: The CSO is the executive responsible for the organization’s entire security profile, both physical and digital. CSOs oversee all aspects of risk management, security policies, and IT infrastructure. These positions are a part of a circle of executives along with CTOs, CIOs, CFOs, and CEOs. CSOs are responsible for protecting all components of an internal network including software and hardware. They often work with their teams to create security policies that keep customer and employee information from unauthorized access. CSOs also frequently own or participate closely in related areas, such as business continuity planning, loss prevention and fraud prevention, and privacy.
Candidates might find the following companies among those who strongly prefer hiring CASP-accredited professionals:
- Booz Allen Hamilton
- Network Solutions
- S. Army
- S. Navy
- Verizon Telematics
What is the best way to train for the CASP?
There are a couple of ways that prospecting CASPs can prepare for the certification, depending on the preferences and level of understanding of the candidate. Some preferences are discussed below in brief overview for candidates to pick their best suit.
The good thing about in-person bootcamps is that they are well structured, with skilled instructors leading sessions. The structure allows candidates to be accountable for their study progress while at the same time building their motivation to remain focused on the objectives of the study.
Live Online Training
Candidates who prefer classroom-based study in the comfort of their own living room or workspace might be best suited by this study mode. Here, the candidate is logged online to an active and live session where an instructor takes charge of the session. This study mode has various advantages. The candidate can, for example, enjoy session re-sits, interact in real-time with the instructor, ask questions whenever necessary, save on travel expenses by being able to study online, and, in some cases, gain access to video recordings, depending on the terms agreed upon with the facilitator of the training.
The self-study mode of training requires tremendous discipline in order to cover the content in the required time. Candidates choosing this mode might want to obtain study materials online and use them to prep for the examination. For example, for $2,999, candidates can gain access to Infosec Institute’s Mentored Online training. The package breakdown can be found here according to position and occupation.
The benefit of this study mode is that candidates have online access to the CASP course at their disposal for 120 days. Media files can also be shipped to candidates’ offline.
The CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner certification equips candidates with the necessary skills to fit into the ever-growing computer security industry. Candidates that are awarded with the certification are able to showcase a hands-on ability to work with the latest technologies within a organizational security environment. Because of this, globally-recognized corporations and security firms are much more likely to hire professionals with this difficult but highly-desired certification. If you think you have what it takes, start down the path today!