Some say that IT security certifications awarded by the likes of (ISC)2 are strong indicators of individuals' knowledge and experience. Tests to receive these certs are both tough and comprehensive, often requiring an industry sponsor, college education, and/or related work experience to sit for them. Plus, they require continuing education credits to remain up-to-date.
Other pundits, however, say phooey on certs that measure abilities through desk tests that many people often prepare for by memorizing facts or attending accelerated training courses. To them, many years of working on the job with more experienced individuals, in addition to degrees from established universities, are better barometers of a professional's level of expertise, often propelling ambitious individuals to their dream jobs.
One point that many folks on both sides seem to agree on: (ISC)2's CISSP certification has become the market's gold standard. These days, many a 'help wanted' ad requires that candidates have a CISSP certification to even be considered for a vacant post.
That may change, however. As our new West Coast Bureau Chief Ericka Chickowski reported on www.scmagazine.com, Gartner analyst Jay Heiser advised in a recent brief that the U.S. and other countries better pay some well-deserved attention to a new U.K.-based security organization that could very well become a global leader in setting standards for this industry's professionals.
Organizers of the Institute of Information Security Professionals (IISP) seem to be gunning for (ISC)2's spot as the industry's top worldwide certifying body by attempting to follow training and cert models set by more traditional professions, such as law and medicine.
Whether IISP will make a successful go of it remains to be seen. Even Heiser noted that the new group will only succeed "if the market demands that IISP becomes the authoritative professional development and standards-setting body."
And really, if the over-arching consensus is that (ISC)2 foots that bill with its current list of certifications, IISP organizers will have a steep learning curve ahead of them -- one that could see them passing with flying colors or heading into remedial training.
In addition to Ericka in California, we've also hired a new reporter, Dan Kaplan, who is based in New York. Please feel free to drop them a line to check in.
Illena Armstrong is Editor-in-Chief.