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Top 10 Security Consultant Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top security consultant certifications available, with detailed information on each certification's requirements and benefits.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 16 min read

Certifications are important for security consultants in the job market because they demonstrate a level of expertise and knowledge to potential employers. They show that the consultant is knowledgeable about security topics and has taken the time to obtain certifications from industry-recognized organizations, such as ISC2 or CompTIA. Certifications also provide tangible proof of the consultant's ability to design, implement, and manage secure systems. Furthermore, some certifications may be required for certain positions or employers and can give a consultant an edge over other applicants who do not possess them.

This article reviews some of the most important certifications for Security Consultants and explains how they can help to further a Security Consultant's career.

What are Security Consultant Certifications?

Security consultant certification is a professional credential that demonstrates an individual’s knowledge, skills, and abilities in the field of security consulting. It shows employers and clients that an individual has the expertise necessary to provide effective advice on how to protect their systems, networks, data, and other assets from potential threats.

Security consultant certifications can help individuals differentiate themselves from their peers and demonstrate their commitment to the profession. The certifications also provide employers with a way to evaluate potential employees for positions related to security consultancy. With this certification, job seekers can demonstrate their qualifications for the position by showing employers that they have taken the time to learn about security-related topics and have achieved a certain level of proficiency in them.

Certification also serves as a form of continuing education for consultants who are already working in the field. By keeping up with current trends in security consulting, they can stay ahead of any new developments or threats that may arise. By obtaining a certification, individuals can show employers that they are staying up-to-date with industry best practices and standards.

Overall, security consultant certification provides both job seekers and those already employed in the field of security consulting with an opportunity to acquire additional knowledge and skills while demonstrating dedication to their profession.

Pro Tip: When selecting a security consultant, look for certifications that are specific to the industry you work in. Security consultants with industry-specific certifications will have a deeper understanding of the unique security challenges faced by your organization and can provide tailored solutions that meet your needs.

Related: What does a Security Consultant do?

Top 10 Security Consultant Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Security Consultants today.

1. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is an internationally recognized information security certification developed by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC)2. It is designed to demonstrate a mastery of a comprehensive body of knowledge in the field of information security.

The CISSP exam consists of 250 multiple-choice questions, and takes approximately 6 hours to complete. In order to be eligible to take the CISSP exam, candidates must have at least five years of cumulative paid full-time work experience in two or more domains from the (ISC)2 Common Body of Knowledge (CBK).

To obtain the CISSP certification, candidates must pass the exam and then submit an application for endorsement by another certified professional. The cost for taking the exam is $699 USD for members and $999 USD for non-members.

2. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) is a professional certification program in the field of information security. It is designed to provide individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to assess the security of computer systems by identifying vulnerabilities and weaknesses in target systems, using the same tools and techniques as malicious hackers.

The CEH program takes approximately five days to complete and consists of 18 modules that cover topics such as scanning networks, enumeration, system hacking, malware threats, and web application hacking. Upon completion of the course, participants must pass an exam administered by EC-Council in order to receive their certification.

To get certified as a CEH, you must first register for an exam at the EC-Council website. The cost of registration varies depending on your country of residence but typically ranges from $500-$900 USD. Once registered, you will need to attend a training course or purchase self-study materials from EC-Council in order to prepare for the exam. After successfully passing the exam, you will be awarded your CEH certification.

3. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) is a certification program offered by ISACA, an international professional association focused on information security, assurance, and governance. The CISM certification is designed to recognize professionals with the knowledge and experience necessary to design, implement, and manage an organization’s information security program.

The CISM exam consists of four domains: Information Security Governance, Risk Management and Compliance, Information Security Program Development and Management, and Information Security Incident Management. To be eligible for the CISM exam, applicants must have at least five years of cumulative work experience in information security management within the past 10 years prior to applying for the exam.

The CISM exam is offered twice a year in June and December. It takes approximately 4-6 weeks from the time of application submission to receive an authorization to test letter from ISACA. The cost of the exam is US$575 for members of ISACA or $760 for non-members.

4. Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)

Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) is an IT certification offered by ISACA, an international professional association for information security professionals. The CRISC certification is designed to recognize IT professionals who have the knowledge and skills to identify, assess, control, and monitor enterprise-level risks.

It typically takes three to six months of study time to prepare for the CRISC exam. To get the certification, candidates must first meet the eligibility requirements which include having a minimum of three years of experience in at least two of the four domains covered by the exam: Risk Identification, Risk Assessment, Risk Response and Mitigation, and Risk Monitoring and Reporting. After meeting these requirements, candidates must then pass a four-hour exam that covers topics such as risk management principles; risk assessment techniques; risk response strategies; risk mitigation processes; and risk monitoring practices.

The cost of taking the CRISC exam varies depending on where you take it. In general, it costs around $550 USD to register for the exam.

5. GIAC Security Essentials Certification (GSEC)

GIAC Security Essentials Certification (GSEC) is a certification program offered by the Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC). It is designed to provide security professionals with a comprehensive understanding of the core principles, technologies and processes required to secure a network or system. The GSEC certification is ideal for those who are looking to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in information security.

The GSEC certification requires successful completion of an exam that tests your knowledge of the seven domains of information security: Network Security, Cryptography, Access Control, Authentication, System Security, Risk Management and Incident Response. The exam consists of 125 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately four hours to complete.

In order to obtain the GSEC certification, you must first register for the exam through GIAC's website. The cost for taking the exam is $699 USD. After registering for the exam, you will receive an email from GIAC with instructions on how to access your online study materials and practice tests. You must also attend an approved training course prior to taking the exam. These courses typically range from two days up to one week in length and cost between $1,500 - $2,500 USD depending on the provider.

Once you have completed all of these requirements, you can take the GSEC certification exam at any Pearson VUE testing center worldwide. Upon successful completion of the exam, you will receive your official GSEC certification which is valid for four years from date of issue.

6. CompTIA Security+ Certification

CompTIA Security+ is an internationally recognized certification that verifies a professional’s knowledge and skills in IT security. It is designed to ensure that those who possess it have the knowledge and skills necessary to protect organizations from threats, both internal and external. The certification covers topics such as network security, compliance and operational security, threats and vulnerabilities, access control and identity management, cryptography, and more.

It typically takes around three months to prepare for the CompTIA Security+ exam. To get the certification, you must pass the exam with a score of 750 or higher on a scale of 100-900. The exam consists of 90 multiple choice questions which must be completed within 90 minutes.

The cost of taking the CompTIA Security+ exam varies depending on where you take it; however, it typically costs between $320-$400 USD. Additionally, some training providers may offer discounts if you purchase their course materials along with the exam voucher.

7. Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)

Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) is a certification program offered by (ISC)2, an international non-profit organization that focuses on information security. The CCSP certification is designed to provide individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to design, implement, and manage secure cloud computing environments.

It typically takes around three months of study and preparation to earn the CCSP certification. During this time, candidates should familiarize themselves with the exam topics covered in the CCSP Common Body of Knowledge (CBK). The CBK includes topics such as cloud architecture and design, cloud data security, identity and access management, risk management and compliance, business continuity and disaster recovery planning, incident response planning, and more.

To become certified as a CCSP, candidates must pass an examination administered by (ISC)2. The exam consists of 125 multiple-choice questions that must be completed within three hours. Candidates must also meet certain prerequisites before they can take the exam; these include having at least five years of cumulative paid work experience in information technology or information security roles.

The cost for taking the CCSP exam varies depending on where it is taken; however, it generally ranges from $599-$699 USD. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with registering for the exam or purchasing study materials.

8. ISACA Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

ISACA Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) is an internationally-recognized certification program designed to help individuals demonstrate their knowledge and experience in the field of information security management. It is a professional certification that validates an individual’s expertise in managing, designing, and overseeing an organization’s information security.

The CISM certification requires applicants to have at least five years of cumulative work experience in information security management. Applicants must also pass a four-hour exam that covers topics such as risk management, IT governance, incident response, and compliance.

It typically takes about six months to prepare for the CISM exam. The cost of the exam varies depending on your country of residence and ranges from $575 to $725 USD. In order to maintain the certification, you must complete 120 continuing education credits every three years.

9. EC-Council Certified Network Defense Architect (CNDA)

EC-Council Certified Network Defense Architect (CNDA) is a certification offered by the EC-Council, an international organization that provides certifications in various areas of information security. The CNDA certification is intended for IT professionals who are responsible for designing, implementing, and managing secure network architectures. It is designed to provide these professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to protect networks from malicious attacks and threats.

The CNDA certification requires applicants to take an exam that covers topics such as network security principles, network architecture design, and security technologies. The exam consists of multiple choice questions and must be completed within three hours.

In order to get the CNDA certification, applicants must first register for the exam through the EC-Council website. Once registered, they will receive instructions on how to prepare for the exam as well as access to practice tests. Once they have successfully passed the exam, they will receive their certificate in the mail.

The cost of taking the CNDA exam varies depending on where it is taken but generally costs between $500-$600 USD.

10. ISACA Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT)

ISACA Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT) is an internationally recognized certification program designed to assess and validate the knowledge, skills and abilities of professionals who are responsible for the governance of enterprise IT. It is a comprehensive program that covers topics such as risk management, compliance, information security, business continuity, audit and assurance, and organizational structure.

The CGEIT certification requires candidates to have a minimum of five years of professional experience in IT governance-related roles. Candidates must also pass a two-hour exam consisting of 150 multiple choice questions. The exam can be taken at any Pearson VUE center worldwide or online via ProctorU.

The cost of the CGEIT certification varies depending on the country you are located in. Generally speaking, it costs around $500 USD for ISACA members and $700 USD for non-members.

In order to maintain your CGEIT certification status, you must earn 120 continuing professional education (CPE) credits over a three-year period. Additionally, you must renew your membership with ISACA every year in order to remain certified.

Do You Really Need a Security Consultant Certificate?

Security is an ever-present issue in our world today, and it’s only becoming more important as technology advances. With the rise of cybercrime, data breaches, and other security threats, businesses are looking for ways to protect their networks and data. One way to ensure that a business is protected is to hire a security consultant with a certificate or qualification.

A security consultant certificate shows that the individual has been certified by an accredited organization or professional body. It demonstrates that the individual has extensive knowledge in the field of security and can handle any situation that may arise. The certificate also indicates that the individual has completed training courses on various topics related to information security such as risk assessment, vulnerability management, access control, firewalls, cryptography, etc. In addition to this, they must demonstrate their understanding of industry standards and best practices.

Having a security consultant certificate is not necessarily required for all businesses but it can certainly be beneficial in some cases. For example, if your business handles sensitive customer data or deals with financial transactions then having a certified expert on hand can give you peace of mind knowing that your network and data are secure. Additionally, if you have multiple locations or require remote access to your systems then having someone with expertise in this area can help you navigate these challenges effectively.

In conclusion, while having a security consultant certificate may not be essential for every business it can certainly be beneficial depending on your needs and requirements. If you are looking for an effective way to protect your network and data then considering hiring someone with a certification could be worth considering.

Related: Security Consultant Resume Examples

FAQs About Security Consultant Certifications

1. What certifications are available for security consultants?

Answer: Common certifications include Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Certified Authorization Professional (CAP), and CompTIA Security+.

2. How do I become certified as a security consultant?

Answer: To become certified, you must typically pass an exam and meet certain experience requirements. The specific requirements vary depending on the certification.

3. What skills do I need to be a successful security consultant?

Answer: Security consultants require strong technical, problem-solving, communication, and project management skills. They should also be knowledgeable in areas such as network security, data security, risk assessment, and compliance standards.

4. How long does it take to become a certified security consultant?

Answer: The time required to become certified depends on the certification chosen and the individual’s prior knowledge and experience level. Generally, it takes between 6 months and 2 years of study to complete the necessary coursework and pass the exam(s).

5. What is the cost of becoming a certified security consultant?

Answer: The cost of becoming a certified security consultant varies depending on the certification chosen and any additional training or courses taken in preparation for the exam(s). Generally speaking, most professional certifications cost between $500-$2000 USD for registration fees alone.