Definition

International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC)2

Contributor(s): Madelyn Bacon

The International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, more commonly known as (ISC)2, is a non-profit organization that provides security training and certificates.

Also colloquially referred to as "the Consortium," (ISC)² was formed in 1988 by a group of security organizations looking to create a vendor-neutral, standardized certification program to validate the competency of security professionals.

The most notable certification offered by (ISC)² is the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). Other provided certifications are Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP), Certified Authorization Professional (CAP), Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP), Certified Cyber Forensic Professional (CCFPSM), HealthCare Information Security Privacy Practitioner (HCISPPSM), Information Systems Security Architecture Professional (CISSP-ISSAP), Information Systems Security Engineering Professional (CISSP-ISSEP) and Information Systems Security Management Professional (CISSP-ISSMP).

All (ISC)² certifications require applicants to pass thorough, in-person examinations, which are administered by Pearson VUE at its testing centers around the world. The exams typically require several hours to complete, with the CISSP taking up to six hours, the CSSLP and CCFP taking up to four hours and the SSCP plus several others taking up to three hours. Most of the exam questions are written in multiple-choice format. The consortium recommends that those looking to acquire a certification enroll in an associated training seminars through a live online class, in a classroom or by hosting a private training taught by an instructor. Training seminars are given by the (ISC)² Training Centers and Official Training Providers.

Everyone who obtains a certification from (ISC)² automatically becomes a member. Members typically include enterprise information security professionals with titles such as CSOs, CTOs, CIOs, security managers, systems engineers, systems integrators, chief risk officers, systems administrators and network administrators. All members are held to the (ISC)² Code Of Ethics and if someone intentionally or violates the Code is subject to a peer review and may have their certification(s) revoked.

In 2011, the Consortium started the annual (ISC)² Security Congress conference where attendees are offered educational seminars on current and emerging security issues, security best practices and challenges facing security leaders. The event takes place in a different city each year.

Organizations that offer competing certifications include the SANS Institute, ISACA and CompTIA.

This was last updated in March 2015

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