CCNA vs CISSP

June 28, 2015

 

The CCNA and CISSP are two completely different certifications.  To begin with, one tests you on networking and architecture, while the other will test you on all domains of information security.

 

The CCNA will help you configure Cisco routers and switches, but it will also go into a lot about the technical aspects of networking.

 

It’ll teach you about general networking and routing concepts that can be applied across the board and not just to Cisco devices.  It’ll teach you about the role of a default gateway,  private IP addresses, static routes, and enforce your skills in subnetting.

 

You’ll learn why we need NAT, and how to configure it on a Cisco router.

 

You’ll learn when to use static routes vs dynamic routing protocols.

 

When you take your CCNA exam, there will be multiple choice questions, and a lab that you must troubleshoot.  You will be expected to know Cisco IOS commands and look for issues given a scenario.

 

When employers see that you have CCNA, they expect you to come into their environment ready to troubleshoot networks.

 

The CCNA is geared toward aspiring network and network security engineers.

 

The CISSP is different.

 

 

The grueling CISSP exam will only briefly touch on the topics of the CCNA.  Even then, you will not learn anything about configuring a Cisco device, or any other device.

 

That’s because the CISSP is not proprietary to any vendor, it is neutral.

The CISSP provides a holistic view of information security.

It’ll teach you about AES-CBC encryption, or whether you need a Type B or Type C fire extinguisher for an electrical fire, or what type of access control is enforced by the military or private organization.

 

You’ll learn how to calculate ALE and whether to accept or avoid a risk to your company.

 

You’ll learn about asymmetric encryption and the role of a registration authority.

 

The CISSP exam will test you with 250 questions within a 6 hour time frame (new exam has max 150 questions within 3 hours).  There won’t be any technical labs, but after I took that exam, I’d rather take the CCNA anyday.  The CISSP is a tough exam.

 

An employer will see your CISSP, and know that you take your information security career seriously.  They see that you have the discipline to pass the exam.

 

Difference Between CCNA and CISSP

One of the members of my Facebook group “CISSP Exam Preparation – Study Notes and Theory” succintly explained the difference between a CCNA and  CISSP below.

 

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very good question!!! and yes CCNA security guy can secure the information of an organisation by disabling telnet, enabling SSH, securing SNMP and NTP, disabling source route etc. but who tells him to do all these things in an organization?? the information security policy, which is built by a CISSP guy. And CISSP guy wrote the policy of securing routers because he read it in Telecommunication and Network Security domain of the CISSP exam.

On the other hand a CISSP guy will also make a policy for physical security or application development security but can a CCNA security guy do the same in these cases?

 

CISSP teaches you all the aspect of security through 10 domains, and it is vendor neutral certification so you can apply the policy to any vendor CISCO, Juniper, HP but a CCNA guy can only configure Cisco Router.

 

Now the exam complication, the exam is so complicated and contains more than 1 right question because it wants to make you pick the best decision in a scenario which you can apply in real life.

In the end both CCNA security and CISSP guy secure information but one tells what to do to secure an information and the other one performs the task to secure it.

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