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CCNP Security: A Must-Have Certification in 2024

CCNP Security - A Must-Have Certification in 2024

With cyber threats growing more complex, there’s a high demand for skilled professionals. Cisco’s CCNP Security certification is highly respected and helps you prove your ability to secure network infrastructures. This certification proves your skills in protecting network infrastructures and teaches you the latest in automation and programmability to grow your security operations.

The CCNP Security certification has recently been updated to keep up with new industry trends and technologies. It now includes a main exam and different specialized exams, allowing you to focus on your interests and skills.

This article covers the CCNP Security certification paths, including the main and specialized exams, the skills you will learn, and the job opportunities available for certified professionals. Whether you are starting your career in network security or looking to advance, this guide has all you need to know about the CCNP Security certification journey.

Overview of CCNP Security Certification

Cisco Security Report

The CCNP Security certification is a well-known certificate in network security. This certification validates the skills of network security professionals who can design, implement, and manage advanced security solutions for modern network environments. This certification is ideal for those who want to demonstrate their expertise in securing networks, providing data integrity, and protecting against cyber threats.

Key Features of the CCNP Security Certification

  • Complete Coverage: The CCNP Security certification provides a complete coverage of modern security technologies and practices. It prepares candidates to secure systems and networks in complex enterprise environments.
  • Flexibility in Specialization: One notable feature of the CCNP Security certification is the flexibility it offers through its concentration exams. After passing the mandatory core exam, candidates can choose a concentration exam that best fits their career goals and areas of interest.
  • Industry Recognition: The CCNP Security is a Cisco certification recognized globally and highly valued in the IT security industry. This certification can significantly enhance career prospects by demonstrating advanced knowledge and skills in network security.
  • Continuous Learning: The certification process helps professionals keep up with the new security technologies and trends to align with Cisco’s commitment to continuous learning and development.

Detailed Breakdown of CCNP Security Exams

The CCNP Security certification requires passing two exams:

  • A core exam
  • A concentration exam ( With a candidate’s choice)

Core Exam: 350-701 SCOR

The core exam, known as Implementing and Operating Cisco Security Core Technologies (SCOR 350-701), is a test that covers different security topics. This exam tests the candidate’s knowledge and skills in implementing and operating core security technologies. It includes:

  • Network Security: Understanding and implementing security measures to protect network infrastructure.
  • Cloud Security: Securing cloud environments and understanding cloud security threats.
  • Content Security: Implementing security measures to protect against content-based threats.
  • Endpoint Protection and Detection: Securing endpoints and detecting potential threats.
  • Secure Network Access, Visibility, and Enforcement: Providing secure access to network resources and maintaining visibility and enforcement of security policies.

The SCOR 350-701 exam is 120 minutes long and available in English and Japanese. It costs 400 USD, plus applicable taxes or Cisco Learning Credits.

Concentration Exams

Besides the core exam, candidates must also pass one of the following concentration exams, each focusing on a specific area of security:

  • 300-710 SNCF: Securing Networks with Cisco Firepower Next-Generation Firewall. The key topics are firewall architecture, policies, and VPN configurations.
  • 300-715 SISE: Implementing and Configuring Cisco Identity Services Engine. The key topics of this exam are identity management, access control, and policy enforcement
  • 300-720 SESA: Securing Email with Cisco Email Security Appliance. Its key topics are email security policies, spam control, and threat detection
  • 300-725 SWSA: Securing the Web with Cisco Web Security Appliance. The key topics are web security policies, URL filtering, and malware protection
  • 300-730 SVPN: Implementing Secure Solutions with Virtual Private Networks. The key topics of this exam are VPN architectures, configurations, and troubleshooting
  • 300-740 SCAZT: Designing and Implementing Secure Cloud Access for Users and Endpoints. The key topics are cloud security architecture, user and device security, and threat response.
  • 300-735 SAUTO: Implementing Automation for Cisco Security Solutions. Its key topics are Automation tools, scripting, and API integrations.

Passing Score For the CCNP Security Exam

Cisco does not explicitly state the passing score for CCNP Security exams. However, we can infer some details about the passing scores:

  • The core exam 350-701 SCOR has a passing score range of 750-850 out of 1000. A specific passing score of 825 out of 1000 is mentioned in a few sources.
  • Cisco does not consistently publish the passing scores for concentration exams like 300-710 SNCF, 300-715 SISE, etc.
  • Some general insights on Cisco exam passing scores: Passing scores can vary based on the exam version and are determined through statistical analysis by Cisco.

Although a passing score of 825/1000 is commonly cited for the 350-701 SCOR core exam, Cisco does not reveal fixed passing scores for the CCNP Security concentration exams. Cisco’s statistical analysis shows that passing scores likely vary slightly for different concentration exams.

The key takeaway is to aim for a high score above 80-85% on any CCNP Security exam to ensure passing, as Cisco does not publicly disclose the exact cut-off. Thoroughly understanding the exam topics and proper preparation remains crucial for success.

Preparation and Study Resources for CCNP Security

Preparation and Study Resources for CCNP Security from 591Lab

To prepare for the CCNP Security exams, candidates can use multiple study resources, including official Cisco guides, online courses, and practice exams. Some recommended resources include:

  • Cisco Press Books: Comprehensive guides such as the “CCNP and CCIE Security Core SCOR 350-701 Official Cert Guide” by Omar Santos, which provides detailed coverage of exam topics, practice questions, and test-taking strategies.
  • Practice Exams: Using Real exam dumps questions from providers like 591Lab to assess knowledge and identify areas for improvement.

Hands-on Lab Practice

To practice hands-on labs for the latest CCNP Security exams, you have several options that provide real-world experiences. Here are some recommended methods and resources:

Cisco offers virtual labs specifically designed for CCNP Security preparation. These labs provide access to lab exercises and topologies identical to those used in Cisco’s e-learning products and authorized instructor training courses. The benefits include:

  • No downtime for equipment resets
  • Access to lab exercise instructions from a convenient sidebar within any active lab
  • Realistic lab environment using Cisco IOS Software.

591Lab Written and Proxy Exam Support

591Lab offers an online, hands-on tool that helps students gain real-world skills that are required to pass the SCOR 350-701 exam. The labs cover the full exam topics and provide a competency-based, interactive, online training experience. Features include:

  • 24×7 access to the question and accurate solution dumps
  • Simulated real-world networking hardware, software applications, and operating systems
  • Fully Proxy Exam Support is also available.

GNS3 and Other Network Simulators

GNS3 is a popular open-source network emulator that allows you to build and test virtual networks using real Cisco firmware. It can emulate complex, real-world networks and is widely used for CCNP and CCIE preparation. Other similar tools include:

  • Cisco Modeling Labs (CML)
  • EVE-NG

Physical Labs

Building a lab with actual Cisco devices is an option for those who prefer working with physical hardware. This can include routers, switches, firewalls, and other networking equipment. Although this method can be expensive and take up more space, it provides the most realistic experience. You can find used Cisco gear on platforms like eBay or through companies that refurbish and resell network hardware.

Cisco Authorized Training Partners

Cisco’s authorized training partners offer courses that include hands-on labs as part of their curriculum. These courses are designed to provide extensive hands-on experience with Cisco security solutions, including deploying Cisco Firepower Next-Generation Firewall, configuring access control policies, and more. For instance, Implementing and Operating Cisco Security Core Technologies – SCOR v1.1.

Online Courses and Virtual Labs

Platforms like 591Lab provide virtual labs with 24×7 access, allowing you to practice configuration, troubleshooting, and testing various networking concepts in a realistic environment. These labs are designed to bridge the gap between academic understanding and real-world application (Contact exam consultants for CCIE Security Lab v6.1 lab dumps).

Benefits of Having CCNP Security Certification

CCNP Security certification Jobs in USA

Getting this certification can increase your career opportunities and your earnings. Here are the key ways in which the CCNP Security certification can influence career opportunities:

1. Validation of Advanced Skills

  • Specialized Knowledge: The CCNP Security certification demonstrates a deep understanding of security infrastructure, including network security, cloud security, content security, endpoint protection, and secure network access.
  • Industry Recognition: It is one of the most respected certifications in the industry, signaling to employers that the holder has the expertise to handle complex security challenges.

2. Higher Job Opportunities

  • Many Job Roles: The certification prepares professionals for different roles, such as Network Security Engineer, Security Operations Engineer, Lead Security Engineer, and Senior Information Security Engineer.
  • Demand in the Job Market: There is a high demand for professionals with CCNP Security certification due to the increasing number of cyberattacks and the need for robust security measures in organizations.

3. Higher Salary Potential

  • Competitive Salaries: Certified professionals can expect competitive salaries. For example, in the United States, the salary range for CCNP Security professionals is approximately $75,000 to $120,000 per year.
  • Global Salary Insights: The certification also leads to attractive salaries in other countries, such as £30,000 to £55,000 per year in the United Kingdom, CAD 60,000 to CAD 90,000 per year in Canada, and AUD 70,000 to AUD 110,000 per year in Australia.

4. Career Advancement

  • Professional Growth: The certification positions individuals for senior-level roles and provides a pathway to further certifications like CCIE Security, which can lead to even higher positions and salaries.
  • Recognition and Credibility: Holding a CCNP Security certification enhances credibility and recognition within the industry, making it easier to secure promotions and leadership roles.

6. Access to Advanced Technologies

  • Hands-on Experience: The certification process includes extensive hands-on training with advanced security technologies, such as Cisco Firepower Next-Generation Firewall, Cisco ASA Firewall, and Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE).
  • Continuous Learning: Certified professionals have access to the latest security technologies and best practices, ensuring they stay current with industry developments.

6 Job Roles for CCNP Security Holders in the Network Engineering Field

The CCNP Security certification opens up a variety of job roles in the network engineering field. Here are some of the key positions that professionals with this certification can pursue, along with their responsibilities and requirements:

1. Network Security Engineer

Responsibilities

  • Implement and test new security features
  • Plan and execute network upgrades
  • Troubleshoot and respond to security incidents
  • Configure and maintain security devices such as firewalls, VPNs, and intrusion prevention systems (IPS)
  • Monitor network traffic for suspicious activity and vulnerabilities

Requirements

  • In-depth knowledge of Cisco security products (e.g., Cisco ASA, Firepower, ISE)
  • Experience with network security protocols and technologies
  • Strong troubleshooting and analytical skills
  • Relevant certifications such as CCNP Security

2. Cybersecurity Engineer

Responsibilities

  • Design and implement security measures to protect IT infrastructure
  • Conduct risk assessments and vulnerability testing
    Develop and enforce security policies and procedures
  • Respond to and mitigate security breaches and incidents
  • Collaborate with IT teams to ensure secure network architecture

Requirements

  • Strong understanding of cybersecurity principles and practices
  • Experience with security tools and technologies (e.g., SIEM, IDS/IPS)
  • Knowledge of regulatory compliance and industry standards
  • Relevant certifications include CCNP Security and CISSP

3. Security Field Engineer

Responsibilities

  • Provide on-site and remote support for security solutions
  • Install, configure, and maintain security hardware and software
  • Conduct security assessments and audits
  • Train and support clients on security best practices
  • Develop and implement security solutions tailored to client needs

Requirements

  • Hands-on experience with Cisco security products
  • Strong customer service and communication skills
  • Can travel to client sites as needed
  • Relevant certifications such as CCNP Security

4. Senior Network Engineer

Responsibilities

  • Design and implement complex network solutions
  • Oversee network infrastructure upgrades and expansions
  • Provide network security and compliance with industry standards
  • Mentor and train junior network engineers
  • Manage network performance and troubleshoot issues

Requirements

  • Extensive experience with network design and implementation
  • Strong knowledge of routing and switching protocols
  • Proficiency in network security technologies
  • Relevant certifications such as CCNP Security and CCNP Enterprise

5. Network Administrator

Responsibilities

  • Manage and maintain network infrastructure
  • Monitor network performance and ensure uptime
  • Implement network security measures
  • Perform regular backups and disaster recovery planning
  • Support end-users with network-related issues

Requirements

  • Experience with network administration and support
  • Knowledge of network security best practices
  • Strong problem-solving skills
  • Relevant certifications such as CCNP Security

6. Technical Support Engineer

Responsibilities

  • Provide technical support for network and security issues
  • Troubleshoot and resolve hardware and software problems
  • Assist with network configuration and maintenance
  • Document technical procedures and solutions
  • Collaborate with other IT teams to ensure seamless operations

Requirements

  • Strong technical knowledge of networking and security
  • Excellent communication and customer service skills
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks at once
  • Relevant certifications such as CCNP Security

Recertification

The CCNP Security certification remains valid for three years. To maintain the certification, professionals must recertify by passing one of the following:

  • One technology core exam
  • Any two professional concentration exams
  • One CCIE lab exam
  • Earning 80 Continuing Education points through Cisco’s Continuing Education program

Wrapping Up for CCNP Security Certification

The Cisco CCNP Security certification is an important milestone for network security professionals who want to advance their careers and stay ahead. This certification covers many security topics, from network security to cloud security, content security, and endpoint protection. By achieving the CCNP Security certification, professionals can demonstrate their expertise in designing, implementing, and managing advanced security solutions for modern network environments.

As threats increase, network security professionals need to keep up with the latest technologies and best practices. The CCNP Security certification provides a flexible way to learn advanced security skills, helping professionals handle different challenges in the field.

Starting your journey of obtaining the CCNP Security certification is a decision you won’t regret. With the right study resources and hands-on practice, you can achieve this highly desirable certification and offer new career opportunities. Remember, continuous learning is important for success in network security, and getting a CCNP Security certification is a smart choice for your career.

FAQs

Who should pursue the CCNP Security certification?

The CCNP Security certification is ideal for network professionals who must concentrate on securing network devices and implementing security measures across the network, particularly those working with Cisco security products.

Is CCNP Security hard?

Yes, the CCNP Security certification is considered challenging due to its comprehensive coverage of advanced security topics and the depth of knowledge required, making it more difficult than the CCNA certification.

Can I take CCNP Security without CCNA?

Absolutely, you can take the CCNP Security exams without having a CCNA certification, as Cisco has removed the prerequisite requirements for its professional-level certifications.

How much does CCNP Security cost?

The total cost for the CCNP Security certification is $700, which includes $400 for the core exam (350-701 SCOR) and $300 for one concentration exam.

Is CCNP Security in demand?

Yes, CCNP Security is in high demand as organizations increasingly require robust and scalable security solutions to protect against sophisticated cyber threats. This makes security expertise crucial in the IT industry.

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