Ask the Expert: PKI Certification

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Dear Ed:




I am a student at the Tilburg University in the Netherlands. I am conducting some research on the value of public key certification. I am looking for some articles about this subject. A general part of the research is about “value” in general. I want to add some definitions and the dimensions of value. Do you have any idea where I can find some more info and a definition of certification value? This would be very helpful to me. Thank you very much and good luck with your newsletter.




Bart W.


Tilburg, NL






Dear Bart:




I’m not aware of any certs that focus entirely on PKI, though you will find that most security certs do provide PKI with ample–but by no means exclusive–coverage. This ranges from entry-level certs like Security+ (, SANS GSEC (, and TICSA ( all the way up to senior level certs like CISSP ( and CPP ( As for the value part, I’d urge you to investigate salary surveys that talk about the economic value of IT certifications (the most usual argument raised to justify them, both pro and con). By perusing the various important online certification magazines and publications–most notably,,,, and so forth–you’ll find ongoing discussion of certification value in both the articles and editorial content and in the message forums that are very active on all of those sites. Most people see value in four or more dimensions: (1) employee skills and knowledge, (2) return on investment, and (3) effect on total costs of ownership, and (4) effect on costs of doing business, particularly for fee-based technical support. The basics are that IT certification increases employee skills and knowledge, provides varying (but positive) returns on investment, helps to lower total costs of ownership, and generally drives down costs for out-of-house technical support.




Good luck with your research. It’s a great topic and should lead to interesting results.




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