What is the CASP Certification and why is it important for a security professional

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In the past few years, there has been a lot of cyber-attacks. Even big organizations like Google, Facebook, Dell have been a victim of such attacks losing millions of dollars. Because of the growth in cyber threats and attacks, all the IT companies are looking for security professionals. These are the experts who check for loopholes in your system in order to make them secure.

But it is not that easy to find a right security expert. This expert should have enough knowledge of the IT security domain and a good command of various security tools and practices. CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner certification is a well-recognized credential to identify the best IT security experts.

What is CASP Certification?

CASP stands for CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner. It is an advanced security certification offered by CompTIA. This certification for those technical professionals who wish to remain immersed in technology, owning risk management, enterprise security and architecture, as opposed to strictly managing.

This certification is similar to CISSP but more technical. It is accredited by ANSI to show compliance with the ISO 17024 Standard. It is also approved by the DoD for Directive 8140/8570.01-M.

The CASP+ certification checks for advanced-level competency in enterprise security operations and architecture, research and collaboration, risk management, and enterprise security integration. It was born out of an industry need for a hands-on, advanced-level cybersecurity assessment for organizations that require mastery-level skills to work directly with cybersecurity technologies and tools.

To achieve this certification, you need to pass the CompTIA CASP+ exam. This exam is considered difficult than other CompTIA exams such as CompTIA Security+ exam and the CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) exam. CompTIA recommends that you have at least ten years of experience and five years of experience in the security domain before taking the certification exam. It is also recommended to give CompTIA Security+ exam before CASP+.

This certification is ideal for really senior security professionals and not for beginners. For example, suppose you are a Chief Security Officer (CSO) or a Chief Information security Officer (CISO) or a Senior Enterprise Security Architect in an organization and it is your responsibility to make sure everything is safe. In that case, CASP+ certification is suitable for you.

How do you become CASP+ certified?

Buy an exam voucher: CompTIA offers the CASP+ certification in many countries. A voucher can be purchased for a country or region through Pearson VUE or the CompTIA Store, or an Authorized Partner. You must specify which country you want to redeem the vouchers for. Vouchers are only valid in the region where they were issued.

Schedule your exam: CompTIA certification exams can be taken online by OnVUE proctoring, or in person at Pearson VUE testing centers. Log in to create an account and schedule the CASP+ exam. Pearson VUE will send you an email once your exam scheduling has been completed. This email includes all information including the details of your testing center. This information should be saved for future reference.

Pass the exam: Passing your CASP+ exam requires you to prepare thoroughly either through in-person boot camp training or by studying at home through self-study books and online resources.

Comply with CompTIA Candidate Code of Ethics Policy (“Ethics Policy”): Once you pass your CASP+ exam and earn your credential, you will need to follow CompTIA’s Candidate Code of Ethics Policy (CCEP). CASP+ professionals cannot engage in misconduct, breach or submission of false or fraudulent information, or any other culpable behavior that could compromise the integrity or confidentiality of the certification exam.

Take part in CompTIA’s Continuing Education Program (“CCEP”): CompTIA offers a Continuing Education Program (CE) for renewal of certification. This allows candidates to maintain their active status.

CompTIA CASP+ Exam Details

CASP+ exam basically checks your technical knowledge which requires to implement enterprise security solution in complex environments. As mentioned before, it is recommended to have 10 years of IT experience with at least 5 years of hands-on experience in security domain before attempting for this exam.

This exam has multiple choice and performance-based questions. In performance based questioned, you get evaluated on a simulated environment, which is not a real live environment but very similar to it.

The test has  maximum of 90 questions which needs to be answered in just 165 minutes. In most of the CompTIA certification exams, you get a score at the end of the test and you get to know what was answered correctly and where you answered wrongly. But this is not the case in CASP+ exam. Here, at the end of the exam, you just get pass or fail remark, no score. If you get pass remark, you have done pretty well in your exam and you are surely at a level of an advanced security expert. You achieve CASP+ certification from CompTIA. This CAMP+ certification is valid for three years from the day you pass this exam.

Currently the exam fee is about 452$ which can be taken online or at the authorized testing centers. This exam last got updated back in 2018. This exam now also has questions on cloud migration, modern hacking techniques, cyber warfare etc.

How CASP compares to other certifications?

One of the things that regularly happens is people get confused about which security certification would be right for them and which one they should get certified in. They have questions like should I be doing the CISSP or the CASP+ and any other security certification.

They are trying to figure out, based upon the industry recognition of the certifications and the job requirements, which certification will be best suited to them.

CEH by EC council and CISSP by International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC)² are the two certifications often compared with CompTIA CASP+ certification. Before I compare these three certifications, let me talk about the CEH and CISSP briefly.

CEH stands for Certified Ethical Hacker. This certification authorizes an individual to have an understanding and knowledge similar to a hacker. A CEH certified professional can find flaws and vulnerabilities in a particular system by using multiple hacking tools.

CISSP stands for Certified Information Security System Professional. It is another popular certification in the security domain. This certification not only focuses only on penetration testing, but also provide detail knowledge on Cybersecurity. By bagging this certification, you get into a senior security role in an organization.

CASP+ vs CISSP

When you compare to CISSP and CASP, there is a big difference in the certification exam patterns and the experience required to go for these certifications. CISSP requires full-time paid work experience for at least five years in two or more domains. They ask for proof before they allow you to attempt the certification exam. Whereas CASP requires ten years of IT experience and out of which five years of experience should be in the security domain. CASP certification is more relevant for those folks who are trying to get into government jobs or contracts. It is said that CISSP certification is more challenging to achieve than CASP+. The CISSP exam has 250 question which needs to be answered in six hours. Whereas CASP+ certification has 80-90 questions that need to be answered in 165 minutes.

CASP+ vs CEH

In order to compare CASP+ and CEH, you will have to consider two certification exams of CEH – CEH MCQ + CEH Practical. In CEH, you need to pass two exams to show your practical credibility in the industry. The first exam has 125 multiple choice questions which is conducted for 4 hours. This exam is to test your knowledge of this domain. The second exam, CEH Practical is for 6 hours where you get 20 practical challenges to solve. Same thing you achieve in a single exam in CASP+. CASP+ eligibility criteria are strict compared to CEH. For CEH certification, you only need two years of work experience in the security domain. That is why this certification is also opted by many beginners in the security domain.

Here is a table also for you to understand the differences.

Comparison CASP+ CEH (MCQ + Practical Exam) CISSP
Certification Body CompTIA EC Council (ISC)²
Started In 2018 2003 1994
Eligibility Criteria 10 Years of IT experience, 5 Year hands-on experience in security domain 2 Years of Experience 5 Years of full-time paid experience in 2 or more domains a/c to CISSP CBK
Focus Area Risk Management, Enterprise security Operations and Integrations, Research & Development Hacking Tools and Techniques Security and Risk Management, Communication and Network Security, IAM, Security Operations
Exam Pattern Multiple Choice + Performance-based Multiple Choice + Practical Challenges Multiple choice + Advanced Innovative Questions
Exam Duration 165 Minutes 4 Hours (MCQ) + 6 Hours (Practical) 6 hours
Fees 452$ 950$ 699$
Best Suited For Security Architect, Application Security Engineer, Chief Security Officer Ethical Hacker, Penetration Tester, Cybersecurity Analyst Chief Information Security Officer, Security Manager, IT Director

Which job opening can you apply with a CASP+ certification?

CASP+ is a more in-depth, technical and comprehensive certification for a professional working in the IT security domain. This certification shows more experience in hands-on rather than just theoretical knowledge. There are plenty of job profiles out there for a CASP+ certified security expert.

Here are a few most popular job profiles for a certified CASP+ candidate.

Security Engineer: A Security Engineer is a person who is responsible for creating solutions for existing security problems in an organization. This person evaluates new technologies and processes to define, implement and maintain corporate security policies. A Security Engineer also does the installation of firewall and intrusion detection systems.

Chief Security Officer: This is a very senior and management level position in a company. CSO is the decision-maker for all the enterprise security policies (operational, strategic, reputational) developed by security engineers and analysts. He/She is responsible for managing the entire security team and assigning them their work according to their departments.

Cybersecurity Analyst: A Cybersecurity Analyst works on an organization’s computer networks and systems to plan and carry out security measures. This person is responsible for continually monitoring the organization’s network for any breach, threat or attack. He/She has to create a contingency plan for the company if any hacker has successfully implemented the attack.

Why is CASP+ so important for security professionals?

CASP+ certification is only for advanced practitioners, not managers. It’s a hands-on, performance-based certificate that is available to advanced practitioners at any level of cybersecurity. Cybersecurity managers identify the best cybersecurity frameworks and policies to be implemented. CASP+ certified professionals, however, are able to implement those solutions.

CASP+, unlike other certifications, covers both security architecture as well as engineering. CASP+ is unique in that it qualifies technical leaders for cyber readiness assessments within enterprises, and to design and implement the appropriate solutions to make sure the organization is prepared for any attack.

Who should take the CASP+ exam?

The CASP+ is an excellent option for career cybersecurity professionals who are looking for a technical role. However, it is ideal for those seeking positions at the top of security performance.

CASP+ Security Architects

Systems architects and network architects are often specialized in the design role, but don’t have to be involved in programming, implementation, or troubleshooting every day. CompTIA created the CASP+ certification keeping in mind several positions, including security architects.

CASP+ Security Engineers

IT engineers are often in the unique position to have the most detailed knowledge about how a network or system works. Employers will be able to see that you are capable of creating secure systems just like an architect. Employers will be able to see that you are able to get into the details and solve smaller issues as an administrator. This is a great asset for understanding the implications of minor problems on the overall architecture. A security engineer is the best-suited position for CASP+ certification.

CASP+ for Application Security Engineers

Mobile devices and fixed assets are expected to seamlessly integrate in our increasingly connected world. App security requires a different focus than traditional network and system security. It also requires a unique skill set.

CASP+ certification does not limit you to servers and traditional networks. CompTIA designed the CASP+ specifically to recognize top-level talent across a variety of domains, including app safety. As an application security engineer, having a CASP+ certification on your resume means that you can combine multiple tech resources into one system that is well protected against both internal and external threats.

Final Thoughts

Security experts are in demand currently and it is going to remain that way in the future. Having a certification tag on your profile will authorize your credentials of being a qualified security professional.

CASP+ certification, although launched just three years back, is now considered equivalent to the big players like CISSP and CEH. The growth trend of this CompTIA certification has been excellent. If you are interested in making a long-term career in the security domain and have the required experience, I would suggest going for CASP+ certification. Getting this certification on your portfolio will unlock new opportunities and help you grow in the IT security domain.

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