How To Win Specialist Cisco Firewall Certification

Security is a hot topic in today's networks, and will remain for a long time to come. With that in mind, you should consider adding a Cisco security certification to your resume and firewall skills to your skill set.

It is a big jump from the CCNA to the CCSP (Cisco Certified Security Professional) and Cisco made the leap more manageable by adding Specialist certifications. These certifications can give a boost to both your resume and your skills, and act as a great "stepping stone" to the CCSP.

Currently, Cisco offers four VPN / Security certifications, these being Cisco Firewall Specialist, Cisco IPS Specialist, Cisco VPN Specialist, and Cisco VPN / Security Specialized sales. Since every WAN engineer has contact with Cisco firewalls on a regular basis, let's take a look more closely at this popular certification first. In the preparation of this article (October 21, 2005), Cisco offers an option for each of the two exams you need to spend to achieve this certification. For the first test, you can take the 642-551 SND (Securing Cisco Network Devices) or 642-501 SECUR (Securing Cisco IOS Networks). The choice for the second exam are the 642-522 SNPA (Securing Network with PIX and ASA) and 642-521 CSPFA. The subjects of these exams include, IPSec, NAT, firewalls, AAA, and mapping policies. (As always, you should check the latest survey of plants on the Cisco website.
 
The only prerequisite for this certification is that you must hold a valid CCNA certification.

As always, get some practical experience is the best way to prepare for Cisco exams. (Your employer will get a bit upset if you practice your settings on your PIX. There Rack online rental services that include Cisco security devices in their pods.

Cisco certifications are a great way to help protect your career and your network. Use your CCNA as a foundation, and continue to build on your skills!
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