Continuing education options, part 2: A new and improved way to submit (ISC)2 CPEs

An overview of (ISC)2's CPE Submission Program, including how to submit CPEs and the benefits of Trusted CPE Provider Submissions.

By Donald C. Donzal, CISSP, MCSE 2003

In part one of Continuing education options for CISSPs, Donald Donzal, editor of The Certified Security Professional Online Magazine, offers creative alternatives to meeting CISSP® and SSCP continuing professional education requirements. In this second part of the series, Donald introduces a new option for cashing in on those hard earned CPEs.

OK, the fun part's over. You've done your light summer reading on the beach, your game playing and your basket-weaving all in the name of continuing your professional education and keeping up with your (ISC)² requirements. But now you, the certified security professional, are responsible for making sure that (ISC)² knows about your "hard" work. Wouldn't it be nice if you could continue lying on the beach and have someone else do the paperwork and submissions for you?

Well,(ISC)² has made that possible by revamping their program, which is now officially known as the (ISC)² Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Submission Program.

Below are the specific methods of submitting your CPEs as specified by the official document describing the program by (ISC)².

CPE submission methods

  1. (ISC)² Member Electronic Submissions
    1. (ISC)² members are required to have an active e-mail address and establish an online (ISC)² account in order to submit CPE credits.
    2. CPE credits are submitted using the online (ISC)² CPE Submission Form (NOTE: Online form is located at www.isc2.org in the Member Section) CPE credits are processed and posted within a few business days after receipt.
    3. CPEs submitted via this method ARE subject to periodic audit.

  2. (ISC)² CPE Provider Submissions
    1. (ISC)² Corporate Affiliates and (ISC)² Academic Affiliates may choose to be an (ISC)² CPE Provider for events they conduct.
    2. (ISC)² CPE Providers ask (ISC)² members to provide (ISC)² Constituent Identification Numbers (i.e., member certification number) during the event registration process.
    3. After the event has concluded, the (ISC)² CPE Provider submits the CPE activity, on the (ISC)² member's behalf, to (ISC)² via the (ISC)² CPE Submission Form, for appropriate credit.
    4. It is the (ISC)² member's responsibility to confirm CPE submission on a timely basis.
    5. CPEs submitted via this method ARE subject to periodic audit.

  3. (ISC)² Trusted CPE Provider Submissions
    1. A select few of (ISC)²'s Corporate Affiliates and Academic Affiliates are designated as (ISC)² Trusted CPE Providers.
    2. (ISC)² Trusted CPE Providers ask (ISC)² members to provide (ISC)² Constituent Identification Numbers (i.e., member certification number) during the event registration process.
    3. After the event has concluded, the (ISC)² Trusted CPE Provider submits the CPE activity, on the (ISC)² member's behalf, to (ISC)² via the (ISC)² CPE Submission Form, for appropriate credit.
    4. It is the (ISC)² member's responsibility to confirm CPE submission on a timely basis.
    5. (ISC)² Trusted CPE Providers execute the (ISC)² Trusted CPE Provider Agreement, abide by the Trusted CPE Provider Guidelines, and are listed on the (ISC)² Web site as such. Additionally, (ISC)² Trusted CPE Providers are authorized to display the (ISC)² Trusted CPE Provider logo under appropriate use guidelines.
    6. CPEs submitted via this method ARE NOT subject to periodic audit.

The first two should be familiar to you, but it's the third option that is new and exciting. But let's go over each option and compare important differences between them.

The first option requires you to actually leave the beach and submit the CPEs yourself. Fortunately, (ISC)² has put this process online for you in the Member Login area, so at least there is no paper in the submission process. But keep in mind that you may want to hold on to those registration documents for that conference you attended, because this option is subject to an audit.

More information on the CISSP certification

The top 10 ways to earn CPEs

Earn free CPEs at Web Security School or E-mail Security School

Still need to take the CISSP exam? Go to Security School for CISSP training

The second option makes it a little easier for you, as the vendor of a specific activity or event submits the CPEs on your behalf. This will automatically be added to your account, so there is no worry of having to do the data entry on (ISC)²'s Web site. But still don't throw away your receipts as this method is also subject to an audit.

The best of all worlds would be to have an organization submit the CPEs for you and also not be subjected to an audit. That's what (ISC)² has done in their newest option with their Trusted CPE Provider program. For all intents and purposes, (ISC)² has done a pre-audit of each organization as well as the event or service they offer, and in turn made them a Trusted Vendor. For all of the hard work put in by (ISC)² beforehand, they have assurances that the organization and event are valid; therefore, there is no need for an audit after the fact.

(ISC)² realizes they significantly increased the demand for infosec education by requiring CPEs of all of their constituents. Marc Thompson, Executive Vice President of (ISC)² Institute says, "Although (ISC)² officially produces our own CPE events, we clearly can't directly support enough events to cover 120 CPEs for every CISSP in the world. So it only makes sense to form alliances with top quality education providers to make life easier for our certified professionals to earn and submit their continuing education."

Unfortunately, you can't take advantage of the Trusted CPE Provider program for your video games and other creative CPEs mentioned in part 1 of this series, but the bulk of your CPEs come from traditional means anyway. So, the new (ISC)² CPE Submission Program goes a long way in allowing you to concentrate more on your education and less on the red tape.

About the author
Donald C. Donzal, CISSP, MCSE 2003 had his first 'real' job as Systems Admin for a hospital and later formed a successful consulting business continuing his work in the medical field while expanding into the SMB and media markets. An entrepreneur at heart, he became CTO of Telco Billing Solutions, Inc. After the tech bubble burst, he accepted a position in his hometown as Director of IT for the Department of Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), home to the largest medical school in the country. Taking his experience from a wide range of industries and the security concepts intertwined in each, he co-founded The Digital Construction Company in 2004. A firm believer of life-long education, Mr. Donzal is also an advocate of industry certifications as a baseline of knowledge. For this reason, he created CSP Online Magazine as a free and open exchange of security information. Still employed by UIC, Mr. Donzal continues to preach the wonders of technology through a combination of writing, speaking, studying and, of course, working in IT.

CISSP® is a registered certification mark of the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium Inc., also known as (ISC) ². No endorsement by, affiliation, or association with (ISC) ² is implied.

This was first published in August 2005

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