The IT Certification Resource Center

Featured Deal

Get CompTIA, Cisco, or Microsoft training courses free for a week.
Learn More ❯

Get the inside scoop on what it takes to pass the CSPFA exam and earn CCSP certification. Sample a free chapter.

Cisco's CCSP (Cisco Certified Security Professional) certification is a sure feather in any IT professionals cap, but it isn't an easy one to earn. We asked Cisco Press author Greg Bastien what it takes to go from CCNA or CCIP to CCSP, and how his new book can help. Here's what he had to say:

GoCertify: How is the CCSP different from Cisco's other certifications?

Bastien: The CCSP Certification focuses specifically on the skill sets needed to perform security functions. Of course, in-depth knowledge and understanding of routing is required before you can begin to apply any security principles.

GoCertify: Who is the Cisco CCSP certification intended for?

Bastien: This certification is designed for Networking Professionals that are responsible for designing, implementing, and troubleshooting Cisco networks utilizing multiple levels of security.

GoCertify: What is the target audience for this book? What degree of experience and knowledge should they have?

Bastien: The book was written as a guide for experienced professionals wishing to complete the CSPFA exam. It is possible for someone with less experience to successfully complete the exam by using the book, but the ultimate goal should be to attain the skills rather than just the certification.

GoCertify: How large of a leap is it to go from CCNA to CCSP?

Bastien: A candidate would need to be a very strong CCNA. Remember that most security principles are applied to a functional network. If you cannot route your traffic from point "A" to point "B" then it isn't necessary to ensure the traffic only gets through on the correct ports. since it can't get there in the first place.

GoCertify: What about from CCIP to CCSP?

Bastien: CCIP is more geared towards routing protocols, and the technologies used to move data. Again these skills require an in-depth understanding of routing and switching. Because the CCIP provides such a strong foundation of skill sets I think the CCSP would be a rather simple transition.

GoCertify: In your opinion, what is the most difficult topic or subject that is covered on this exam?

Bastien: I wouldn't say that any of the topics are "difficult". However, most of the topics are "complicated" and that is why we tried to emphasize the inter-action between the many commands. The most complicated section deals with configuring Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) because there are so many different possible configurations and because they must be correct in order for the VPN to function. It isn't possible to be "close enough".

GoCertify: What exam day tips do you have for CSPFA exam takers?

Bastien: Try to focus on how things work and why. There are too many possible questions on the exam to just memorize everything. You really need to arm yourself with enough information to be able to think through the problem instead of just guessing "C".