Ask the Expert: Intermediate GIAC Certs?

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Q:
Dear Ed,

 

Love your articles when I have time to read them. The clarity of your writing is much appreciated. I was looking for comparisons of various computer security certifications

 

and came across your article “Understanding Certification Ladders.” I noted that for the giac.org certifications, you listed GSEC, then GIAC, then GSE. I’ve looked all over www.giac.org, and have not been able to find any reference to a level 2 certification named “GIAC”. Can you tell me which certification that referred to?

 

Brian S.

 

Washington, DC

 

 

 

A:

 

Dear Brian:

 

Thanks for asking (and the kind words). What I’m talking about is actually a whole slew of intermediate level certs available from the SANS GIAC offerings, as follows:

 

 

GIAC Certified Intrusion Analyst (GCIA)

 

GIAC Certified Firewall Analyst (GCFW)

 

GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH)

 

GIAC Certified Windows Security Administrator (GCWN)

 

GIAC Certified UNIX Security Administrator (GCUX)

 

 

GIAC Systems and Network Auditor (GSNA)

 

GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst (GCFA)

 

 

If you poke around in the GIAC certification pages, you can find more information about all of these credentials. To obtain a GSE, in fact, one must first obtain all 5 of these intermediate credentials:

 

GIAC Certified Firewall Analyst

 

GIAC Certified Intrusion Analyst

 

GIAC Certified Incident Handler

 

GIAC Certified Windows Security Administrator

 

GIAC Certified UNIX Security Administrator

 

 

Thus, the GSNA and GCFA function as specialist credentials to some extent, because they don’t “count” toward the GSE. But all are intermediate level certs nonetheless.

 

 

I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear enough on the subject in my earlier writings. I’ll be sure to add a footnote to future discussions to make it clearer that it is a “category description” and to provide pointers to its members.

 

Thanks for the feedback!

 

–Ed–

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