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Cert spotlight: Hype is high over Security+

Security+ is a new entry-level certification currently in beta from the Computing Technology Industry Association.

A new beginner security certification is receiving a lot of buzz and may become a standard rung in the security pro career ladder.

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The Computing Technology Industry Association's Security+ certification is still in beta, but companies like Microsoft and Cisco are considering requiring it for their security certifications.

"That would be quite an endorsement," said Ed Tittel, president of Austin, Texas-based LANWrights Inc. and a certification expert. "Security+ is positioned to become the standard entry-level security certification."

The Security+ certification offers a split between operational and theoretical security issues, which is a good fit for beginner certification, Tittel said. It would be good for network administrators, system administrators and IT infrastructure workers, Tittel said.

Tittel sees a few advantages of Security+ certification. CompTIA has a global reach, which means the exam will be available in a host of foreign languages. Getting the certification is a good way to see whether applicants are interested in security and have the abilities for it, Tittel said.

A new Security+ holder, however, probably wouldn't be able to chuck his other duties right away to become a full-time security professional, Tittel said. Other certifications would be needed. "Everybody needs to start somewhere. This is a well-defined first step," he said.

The Security+ will become available in November. Tittel recommends that people interested in it wait until the beginning of next year to take advantage of the review materials that will be available. Tittel is working on review materials, and at least two other publishers are coming out with books on the exam. "[Review materials] are a sign there is optimism out in the security community about the certification," he said.

Someone taking the Security+ exam should have at least two years of networking experience and a good understanding of TCP/IP, according to CompTIA's Web site. Pricing hasn't been set but will likely fit in the range for other CompTIA exams, which run between $89 and $199.

The exams are offered at both the VUE and Prometric testing centers.

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