What is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional?

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Mitigating risk has always been an important part of running a business in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. It used to be that this meant having secure locks and perhaps security personnel to monitor the premises. Today though, some of the most damaging attacks on business come in the form of data breaches and the exploitation of IT systems. Once a company’s IT system has been breached, it can be very expensive and time-consuming to rectify. And if the breach involves the compromise of customers’ private information, regaining their trust is often no easy task. It is no longer enough for a business to protect its physical location; it also needs to protect its data and IT systems. Enter the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). Although there are other certifications, CISSP is one of the most respected and requested cybersecurity certifications.

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What is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional? (CISSP)

The CISSP is a designation developed by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC) that is recognized worldwide. It is a vendor-neutral standard that lets others know that the person with this designation is highly skilled and knowledgeable when it comes to implementing and managing an IT security program. It is a highly desirable designation for IT firms looking to hire cybersecurity experts. 

The ISC recommends CISSP certification for roles such as Chief Information Security Officer, IT manager, Security Systems Engineer, and Security Analyst, to name a few. 

The Rigorous Process of Becoming a Certified Information Systems Security Professional

To become CISSP certified, candidates must not only pass the CISSP certification exam but must also have at least five years of full-time experience working in at least two of the eight CISSP domains. To pass the exam, individuals must score a minimum of 700 points out of 1000. 

The eight domains covered in the CISSP exam are as follows:

  • Security and risk management – which includes topics such as security governance principles, compliance requirements and risk-based management concepts. 
  • Asset security – including data security restrictions, safeguarding privacy and categorization and possession of data. 
  • Security architecture and engineering – which includes topics such as engineering processes using secure design models, assessing and mitigating vulnerabilities in systems and cryptography. 
  • Communications and network security – including protecting network parts, protecting communication channels and the use of layout values in network design and their protection. 
  • Identity and access management – which includes physical and logical access to assets, identification and authentication, and authorization mechanisms. 
  • Security assessment and testing – including disaster recovery, business continuity plans and awareness training for clients. 
  • Security operations – which includes understanding and supporting investigations, logging and monitoring activities, and incident management. 
  • Software development security – including examining hazard evaluation and detecting weaknesses in source codes. 

In addition to work experience and passing the exam, candidates must also go through an endorsement process by subscribing to the ISC Code of Ethics. 

Since very few candidates meet all the CISSP certification requirements, there are a couple of ways that one can fast-track their way to certification. These include: 

  • Becoming an ISC Associate where they can work closely with the consortium to gain more in-depth knowledge of cybersecurity. 
  • Gain additional certifications offered through CompTIA such as entry-level A+, Network+ and Security+ certifications. 
  • Obtain SSCP certification.

Finally, it is important to recognize that CISSPs must not only go through the rigorous steps to obtain their certification but must also work to keep it. Like other professional organizations, the ISC mandates that its members stay current on the latest trends in cybersecurity. To maintain their designation, CISSPs must earn at least 120 continuing education credits every three years. These credits can be earned by taking courses, attending conferences, or by teaching or volunteering. 

Why Your Business Should be Working with a Certified Systems Security Professional 

Whether you have an in-house IT department or work with a vendor that provides IT management, it’s important to know that you have individuals with CISSP certification working on your behalf. Here are a few benefits individuals with CISSP certification can bring to your organization. 

  • Unparalleled expertise: When you have a CISSP certified individual working on your team, you know that you’ve got the best there is in IT security. The CISSP exam itself covers a diverse range of domains, including security and risk management, access control, cryptography, network security, and more. This certification underscores a high level of expertise and dedication to the field. 
  • Enhanced security: CISSP certified experts have a thorough understanding of the most current IT security threats along with extensive knowledge of the best practices and strategies for mitigating risks. The knowledge of a CISSP can empower your business to take preventive action to ensure that sensitive data and IT systems remain secure. 
  • Increased credibility: Data breaches are a threat not only to the organization that has been breached but also to its customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders. Enlisting a CISSP to your organization demonstrates that you take the security of your organization with the utmost seriousness and that safeguarding assets is a top priority. 
  • Regulatory alignment: Numerous regulations, including HIPAA and PCI DSS, mandate that organizations have qualified and certified personnel overseeing their information security efforts. Working with a CISSP helps to ensure your organization’s compliance with these requirements and helps you to avoid possible penalties for non-compliance.
  • Enhanced risk management: CISSPs are extremely well-versed in risk management. A CISSP certified expert can help your organization to identify and prioritize risks, implement effective controls, and monitor for potential threats.  

In short, having a CISSP helping to protect your business from cybersecurity attacks gives you peace of mind knowing you have a supremely qualified individual taking care of this crucial component of your business. 

Contact Fusion Computing today

If you are looking for managed IT solutions in the Toronto or Hamilton area, contact Fusion Computing today. Our staff is comprised of dedicated IT and cybersecurity professionals, including those who are CISSP certified such as Mike Pearlstein (CEO, CISO, IT Strategist). Don’t leave the security of your sensitive data and IT systems to just anyone. Contact us today to receive the highest standard of service.