Solaris Security Certification: Defending IT Fortress

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Like a castle fortification, your enterprise’s IT infrastructure should be impenetrable because a breach could be catastrophic for your company, its shareholders, its partners and its customers. Layered protection, strategic placement, reliable construction and vulnerability assessment will all help to contain the damage caused by an intrusion.

In many enterprises, information security remains one of the most sensitive areas of concern and, if not properly addressed, can leave the drawbridge unguarded for attacks and the crown jewels of an organization open to compromise. Unless the Solaris systems are adequately safeguarded by appropriately skilled professionals, the enterprise’s networks and systems are at risk.

Defend Against Marauding Computer Threats
The act of fortifying and defending the IT infrastructure against threats is a science in itself. Protecting an IT environment against unauthorized access requires careful planning, reliable products, technology, skillful personnel and eternal vigilance. Security policy and planning, secured implementation and management, regular testing, robust passwords, patch maintenance, firewalls, threat detection and prevention and regular security audits are all common yet important tactics in the continuous process to manage security risks.

A recent study involving more than 500 computer-security professionals showed that within the previous 12 months, 91 percent of respondents had detected some level of security breach within their organizations. Information security continues to rank high on the list of corporate priorities as a result of new and pending legislation and heightened corporate interest in protecting intellectual capital and data, as well as consumer awareness and interest in protecting personal privacy.

Sun recognizes the importance of information security and the need for security to be comprehensive and well integrated into an organization’s policies and processes. As a result, Sun Microsystems has developed an extensive and growing security curriculum and certification program for those enterprises that need the most competent professionals to protect their systems from attack.

Sun security training will enable employees to use a variety of tools and techniques not only to help in identifying actual and potential attacks, but also to properly secure Solaris hosts throughout their life cycle against a variety of user and network attacks. This will, in turn, help to improve the security of the Solaris platform and avoid costly security breakdowns.

To succeed in managing the risks to the enterprise, Sun’s security certification offers IT managers greater assurance that properly trained and skilled individuals will be protecting their systems. While no individual training program or certification is a security panacea, Sun’s security program strives to validate individuals’ skills to help ensure that they are armed with the most recent and recommended knowledge and practices to better aid them in securing the systems that they manage.

Security Certification From the Source
The Sun Certified Security Administrator exam uses real-world security scenarios and examples that assess an individual’s ability to apply acquired knowledge in performing routine essential services, as well as reacting to unexpected and unusual situations. In this context, Sun security certification allows employers to rapidly identify information technology professionals who have the right skill set to manage the security on Solaris Systems and to protect their security infrastructure.

Futhermore, studies suggest that employers believe that having a technically certified staff is valuable to their business because they provide a higher level of service, credibility among clients, competitive advantage and increased productivity and efficiency. Security certification can also contribute to lower IT costs since administrators will be able to do it right the first time.

Security Certification Details and Exam Topics
The Sun Certified Security Administrator (SCSA Security) is for advanced system administrators, network administrators and security specialists who are responsible for administering security on one or more Solaris systems. The certification exam is for professionals with a minimum of six to 12 months of job-role experience administering security on the Solaris OS. Previous completion of Solaris system and network administration certification is recommended, but not required.

The Sun Certified Security Administrator exam includes 60 multiple-choice scenario-based, matching and free-response questions. It requires in-depth knowledge on security topics including general security concepts, detection and device management, security attacks, file and system resources protection, host and network prevention and network connection access, authentication and encryption.

The Sun Certified Security Administrator exam is delivered at authorized Prometric testing centers. In order to become a Sun Certified Security Administrator, candidates must obtain a passing score of 60 percent within a 90-minute time limit. The exam is currently offered in English, German and Japanese.

How Do I Prepare?
To prepare for the Sun Certified Security Administrator exam, follow these steps:



  • Step 1: Obtain and Understand the Test Objectives
    Verify your security knowledge by reviewing the exam topics outlined in the test objectives at
  • Step 2: Familiarize Yourself With the Nature of the Exam
    Assess your readiness by taking sample questions to familiarize yourself with the exam format, types of questions, time restrictions and length.
  • Step 3: Identify Your Deficiencies
    Identify your deficiencies by self-assessing using Sun’s security administrator online e-practice exam.
  • Step 4: Select a Training Method
    Attend Sun’s instructor-led courses, #SC-300: Administering Security on the Solaris 9 OS and #SA-399 Network Administration for the Solaris 9 OS, or attend corresponding Web- or CD-ROM-based courses offered by Sun. (See for more information.)
  • Step 5: Get Real-World Experience
    The best preparation for the exam is a minimum of six to 12 months of actual on-the-job experience administering security on Solaris Systems.


“Successfully taking the exam depended on having hands-on experience with the material covered,” said Scott Cromar, a senior UNIX administrator for a major New York City-based hedge fund. “It is well worth setting up a test network to experiment with the packages covered on the exam.”

To support candidates preparing for the exam, the “Sun Certified Security Administrator Study Guide” by Glenn Brunette will be available in 2004.

For more information on the Sun Certified Security Administrator certification, see

To Be or Not to Be Certified
Certification involves a personal investment. IT professionals drive their own careers, and certification credentials help to build and distinguish their technical worth from that of their peers. Certification is a differentiator and a straightforward way of demonstrating knowledge and validating skills.

The Sun Certified Security Administrator is one of the most recognized and sought-after security certifications in the industry. By obtaining Sun’s security certification, security professionals prove that they have the necessary competency to administer Solaris security.


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