In August 2022, ISC2 launched one of the largest cybersecurity initiatives ever with a new ISC2 Certification. With an ambitious goal of getting One Million Certified in Cybersecurity to address the growing cybersecurity workforce gap, ISC2 has pledged to give those that qualify a chance to get Certified in Cybersecurity (CC) for FREE.
In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about getting Certified in Cybersecurity. We will also compare this new ISC2 certification with the CompTIA Security+ to see which entry level cybersecurity certification is the best for your career.
Table of Contents
Why is the ISC2 Certification FREE?
According to ISC2, over 464,000 cybersecurity jobs were filled in 2022. While this is significant progress for the growing cybersecurity workforce, the shortage of cybersecurity workers continues to increase at a surprising rate of 26.2% year-over-year. Currently, ISC2 estimates that there is a worldwide gap of 3.4 million cybersecurity professionals.
As a result, ISC2 is creating a career pathway for entry level cybersecurity professionals to learn about core cybersecurity concepts and enable everyone to break into the cybersecurity industry.
What is Covered in the ISC2 Certification Certified in Cybersecurity?
Keep in mind that the ISC2 Certified in Cybersecurity Certification is positioned for entry level professionals. Majority of the content is focused on core cybersecurity concepts to lay the foundation for more advanced certifications. You will learn cybersecurity terminology and begin to understand how to apply these concepts in the field.
The new ISC2 certification covers the following five cybersecurity domains.
Incident Response, Business Continuity, and Disaster Recovery
Access Controls Concepts
- Chapter 1: Security Principles
- Security Concepts in Information Assurance (confidentiality, integrity, availability, authentication, non-repudiation, privacy)
- Risk Management Process (risk identification, risk assessment, risk remediation)
- Security Controls (technical, administrative, and physical controls)
- Governance Elements and Processes (policies, procedures, standards, regulations)
- ISC2 Code of Ethics
- Chapter 2: Incident Response, Business Continuity (BC) and Disaster Recovery (DR) Concepts
- Incident Response Concepts
- Business Continuity Concepts
- Disaster Recovery Concepts
- Chapter 3: Access Controls Concepts
- Physical Access Control Concepts (physical security controls, monitoring, authorized vs. unauthorized access)
- Logical Access Control Concepts (least privilege, separation of duties, role-based access control)
- Chapter 4: Network Security
- Computer Networking (networks, ports, applications)
- Network Threats and Attacks (types of threats, identification, prevention)
- Network Security Infrastructure (design, on-premise, cloud)
- Chapter 5: Security Operations
- Data Security (encryption, data handling, logging and monitoring)
- System Hardening (configuration management, baselines)
- Security Awareness Training (social engineering, phishing)
Certified in Cybersecurity Exam Details and CPE Requirements
The Certified in Cybersecurity exam consists of 100 multiple choice questions across the five cybersecurity domains. There is a two hour maximum time duration for the exam. In order to pass, you need to score a minimum of 700/1000. Since this is an entry-level exam, no prior work experience is required, which is perfect for those looking to break into the cybersecurity industry.
After passing the exam as a credential holder, you will need to earn 45 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits during a three-year certification cycle in addition to paying a $50 Annual Maintenance Fee (AMF).
Which one is better? CompTIA Security+ or ISC2 Certified in Cybersecurity Certification
As you may have noticed, there are numerous cybersecurity certifications that exist today. There are limited options when it comes to entry-level cybersecurity certifications and today, there are two main choices: CompTIA Security+ or the ISC2 Certified in Cybersecurity Certification.
Entry Level Cybersecurity Certification Comparison
(at least 2 years of IT experience recommended)
Pathway: CySA+, PenTest+, CASP+
DoD 8570 Approved
Cost: $392 – $977
ISC2 Certified in Cybersecurity
(no work experience or formal education required)
Pathway: SSCP, CISSP
NOT DoD 8570 Approved
Cost: $0 – $649
Both entry-level certifications are great choices and offer different advantages. On one hand the CompTIA Security+ is more well-known and is DoD 8570 approved. On the other hand, the ISC2 Certified in Cybersecurity is very new, but has the name recognition of ISC2 and best of all it is FREE. You cannot go wrong with either choice or even take both exams.
Is there Training Available for the ISC2 Certified in Cybersecurity Certification?
Yes, ISC2 offers FREE official on-demand training so that you can study at your own pace. This learning experience will help you learn cybersecurity foundational concepts and prepare yourself to take the exam. The training consists of 14 hours of content with knowledge checks and interactive scenario-based content. One thing to keep in mind is that once you access the training, it is only available for 180 days.
Is there an Official ISC2 Certified in Cybersecurity Textbook?
Yes, there is an ebook version of the textbook available directly from ISC2. However with the limited content, access limitation of 1 year (365 days), and a price tag of $19.95, I would not recommend purchasing it. You’re better off purchasing a CISSP textbook (either used or new) to learn these concepts. You can use the CISSP book as a reference and continue to use it as needed throughout your cybersecurity career.
Study for the New ISC2 Certification using FREE Flash Cards
ISC2 has generously created a bunch of FREE resources to help you study for the Certified in Cybersecurity certification. You can access all of the flash cards with the links below. They are all hosted on Quizlet with different study modes to prepare you for the exam.
- Flash Cards for Chapter 1: Security Principles
- Flash Cards for Chapter 2: Incident Response, Business Continuity (BC) and Disaster Recovery (DR) Concepts
- Flash Cards for Chapter 3: Access Controls Concepts
- Flash Cards for Chapter 4: Network Security
- Flash Cards for Chapter 5: Security Operations
Join a CC Study Group Forum and Study Together
Looking for a partner or someone to study with? ISC2 has created a community forum, where you can join a CC study group. You’ll find useful comments and information from like-minded professionals who are gearing up to take the exam. Check it out!
Think You’re Ready for the Certified in Cybersecurity Certification Exam?
Lucky for you, ISC2 has shared a practice quiz for the new ISC2 certification. You can take the 10 question practice quiz as many times as you like to get a feel for the different types of questions. Use the practice quiz as a signal to understand how well prepared you are or if you need to study any specific areas to strengthen any knowledge gaps. (ISC2 Certified in Cybersecurity Practice Quiz)
If you’re interested in the new ISC2 Certification with the limited time offer, register for an ISC2 account and get Certified in Cybersecurity for FREE.
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