Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Cloud

9/7/2016
10:30 AM
Jung Lee
Jung Lee
Commentary
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail vvv
50%
50%

Defining The Common Core Of Cybersecurity: Certifications + Practical Experience

Security certifications are necessary credentials, but alone won't solve the industry's critical talent gap.

There’s an adage in the legal community that passing the bar exam does not make you a good lawyer. But does obtaining a certification make you a good cybersecurity professional? The answer, similarly, is no. But it’s a step in the right direction.

Given the rapidly increasing cybersecurity threats facing businesses today, the need for more qualified cybersecurity professionals has never been more urgent. Recent estimates from Cisco peg the current shortfall of cybersecurity professionals at one million, and Symantec estimates that number will rise to 1.5 million by 2019. And yet, despite the rapid growth of the field over the last 10 years, cybersecurity is still very much a wild west when it comes to talent.

One of the major hurdles that the industry hasn’t quite overcome is how to define the cybersecurity field as a profession. Compared with more established fields like medicine and law, cybersecurity lacks the common core of defined knowledge and hands-on training at the level which can be typically seen in medical, legal, or other licensing-driven professions. Until a certification or credential exists that acts as a de facto license demonstrating this core knowledge, we must continue to establish career paths that can be evaluated by the stakeholders in the industry and we must apply the same rigor in defining the cybersecurity common core, as well as the specialties beyond the core.

Critics of certifications point to the lack of hands-on skills and the fact that to be effective, a credential must mean something. Efforts such as the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) initiative from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have made some headway in bringing leadership and vision to help define the cybersecurity field and increase the number of skilled cybersecurity professionals, but there is still work to be done as the profession matures. In the meantime, current cybersecurity certifications help provide guiding milestones. So while cybersecurity might currently lack a true career path or licensure component in today’s environment, certifications provide a way to objectively measure a candidate’s knowledge and skills and ensure that he or she can meet the demands of the job. It also shows that the person is committed to learning further about cybersecurity.

Much like the bar in the legal profession, cybersecurity certifications are necessary, but not sufficient. Evaluations of prospective cybersecurity professionals should include a true capability review that goes beyond passing a certification, and includes additional measurements for assessment like interviews, in house testing, and other training transcripts. As in other professions, hands-on experience and continuing education are paramount in the cybersecurity field.

Given the complexity, quantity, and evolution of cyber threats, vigilance with regard to continued training couldn’t be more critical to a well-rounded cyber professional. The industry should recognize these upcoming labor shortfalls and work together to rationalize the paths and training for the newly certified professionals that our industry so desperately needs.

For example, a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification, issued by (ISC)², has long been considered a gold standard certification within the cybersecurity industry. The CISSP certification requires five years’ experience, in addition to passing the exam. While CISSP hopefuls without five years of experience may choose to take the exam and receive an Associate designation, ultimately the hands-on experience is required. However, the CISSP – or any certification for that matter – needs to be something that tests fundamental skills and truly means something to employers who need professionals who can really get things done.

Beyond the CISSP, there’s a patchwork of other certifications like the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) or the Network+ and Security+ certifications from CompTIA. All of these certifications provide some of the fundamentals, but are still largely a patchwork rather than a comprehensive baseline to work from.

The most in-demand cybersecurity positions today require highly-skilled individuals. Whether you enter the cybersecurity field straight from school, as an ethical hacker, or an IT professional, it’s the combination of certification and practical experience that allows you to demonstrate your cybersecurity expertise and establish confidence among employers and potential employers that you’re up to the task of protecting their most critical business assets.

Related Content:

 

Jung Lee leads test preparation products at CyberVista, a cybersecurity and workforce development company. Previously, Jung was in product development and management for a number of Kaplan Test Prep's graduate-level courses, including GRE, MCAT, DAT, and others. He started ... View Full Bio
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
Navigating Security in the Cloud
Diya Jolly, Chief Product Officer, Okta,  12/4/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Navigating the Deluge of Security Data
In this Tech Digest, Dark Reading shares the experiences of some top security practitioners as they navigate volumes of security data. We examine some examples of how enterprises can cull this data to find the clues they need.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-16772
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-07
The serialize-to-js NPM package before version 3.0.1 is vulnerable to Cross-site Scripting (XSS). It does not properly mitigate against unsafe characters in serialized regular expressions. This vulnerability is not affected on Node.js environment since Node.js's implementation of RegExp.prototype.to...
CVE-2019-9464
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-06
In various functions of RecentLocationApps.java, DevicePolicyManagerService.java, and RecognitionService.java, there is an incorrect warning indicating an app accessed the user's location. This could dissolve the trust in the platform's permission system, with no additional execution privileges need...
CVE-2019-2220
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-06
In checkOperation of AppOpsService.java, there is a possible bypass of user interaction requirements due to mishandling application suspend. This could lead to local information disclosure no additional execution privileges needed. User interaction is not needed for exploitation.Product: AndroidVers...
CVE-2019-2221
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-06
In hasActivityInVisibleTask of WindowProcessController.java there?s a possible bypass of user interaction requirements due to incorrect handling of top activities in INITIALIZING state. This could lead to local escalation of privilege with no additional execution privileges needed. User interaction ...
CVE-2019-2222
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-06
n ihevcd_parse_slice_data of ihevcd_parse_slice.c, there is a possible out of bounds write due to a missing bounds check. This could lead to remote code execution with no additional execution privileges needed. User interaction is needed for exploitation.Product: AndroidVersions: Android-8.0 Android...