Ascendant Learning Offers Security Certification

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Ascendant Learning has launched the Security Certified Program (SCP) in response to industry demand for a vendor-neutral certification option for information security professionals. The program features two levels of certification covering both core skills and integrated security technologies. The first exams will be available through Prometric sometime in the fourth quarter of 2001.

“I’ve had a lot of opportunity to work with a lot of industries and develop a lot of content,” said Uday O. Ali Pabrai, chairman of the board at Ascendant Learning and co-creator of both the SCP program and the CIW certification program. “After [developing] the CIW program, I noticed there’s a void in the industry in vendor-neutral certifications for security professionals.”

The vendor-neutral SCP program offers two levels of certification: Security Certified Network Professional (SCNP) and Security Certified Network Architect (SCNA). The SCP credential is designed to measure knowledge in both core skills as well as specific security technologies, such as intrusion detection system (IDS), Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), firewalls, biometrics and forensics.

“I put a tremendous amount of effort into finding the framework to accurately reflect the reality of the challenges of the security industry,” said Pabrai. “One of the things that’s unique about the program is that it’s a mirror image of what you see in the industry. We broke it down into two levels. The first level is defense, which is where most businesses are today. There are three basic components to level one: firewall systems, intrusion detection and VPNs. Level two, which is trust, is where all businesses will need to be soon with respect to security.”

Both levels of SCP certification require two courses and two exams. Level-one courses for the SCNP credential, which focuses on defense, consist of Network Security Fundamentals and Network Defense and Countermeasures. Level two includes PKI Concepts and Planning and PKI and Biometrics Implementation.

“One of the things I’ve been preaching,” said Pabrai, “is that, just as business is transforming to e-business, similarly in the security industry there’s going to be a transition from defense-oriented technology to trust-oriented technology.”

Exams will be available through Prometric, and the SCNP exams should be available sometime in the fourth quarter of 2001, Pabrai said. He added that level-two exams for the SCNA certification will be out in the first quarter of 2002.

Courseware for the SCP program is being developed by Element K. The first-level courses will be available in instructor-led format by the end of October, and the second-level courses will be available in December. Online courseware will be available for the first level of certification by the beginning of 2002 and for the second level by the end of the first quarter of 2002. See for more information on instructor-led and online courses.

“The most important thing about the courses is the focus of how the content is developed for the students themselves,” said Kent Michaels, vice president of product development for Element K. “We put a high standard on the quality of content we deliver in both our instructional and our technical content.”

See for more information on the SCP program and for updates on exam availability.

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