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Novell consultants getting their CISSPs

Known for its in-house certifications, Novell announced that it will have 75 of its security consultants earn their CISSP certifications during the next three fiscal quarters.

Novell Inc. plans to cash in on the cache of the CISSP certification as part of an effort to bolster its push into the security space.

The Provo, Utah-based company will have 75 of its security consultants become Certified Information Systems Security Professionals during the next three quarters. Novell is well known for its own professional certifications, but the company admits that it is not the first organization people think of when they hear 'security.'

The CISSP certification has been described as the Ph.D. of the security space. It's the one certification that holders generally display on their business cards. Novell sells products that secure identity management, Web application development and cross-platform networking services.

Novell sees several benefits to having its employees become CISSPs, particularly the increased credibility that the certifications will provide during customer calls, said Bill Maxey, a global solution manager for Novell's access and security solutions. "It would give them credibility when talking about solutions with CISOs and CSOs who have the certification themselves," he said.

The real strength of the CISSP certification is that it addresses the gamut of security, including the related business and ethical issues, said Maxey, a CISSP. The "common body of knowledge" central to the certification ensures that holders have a foundation in all areas of security, including physical security and legal issues, he said.

Currently, Novell employs eight CISSPs. The company hopes to have 25 existing employees certified each quarter for three quarters. The company will provide these employees with training and other assistance, including an internal Web site with a discussion forum and other resources. Each employee's manager will be involved, to ensure that workers have enough time to prepare, Maxey said.

In many ways, Novell sees its adoption of the CISSP certification as a win-win for the company and for employees. The company gets the credibility of having CISSP-certified workers. The employees get the recognition afforded by the certification.

In fact, it's becoming common for companies to play up the number of CISSPs they employ. For example, Deloitte & Touche has more than 400 CISSPs, said Marc Thompson, vice president for global education programs at the International Information Systems Security Certifications Consortium Inc. (ISC2), which administers the CISSP certification.

ISC2 often works with companies that want their employees to get the CISSP certification. The firm provides candidates with training and review materials. news exclusive: "Cert Spotlight: CISSPs 'know' security" expert advice: "How to become a CISSP" news exclusive: "Corporate security career path often cultivated internally" news exclusive: "Cert Spotlight: CISA focuses on information assurance"

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