Wednesday, 23 January 2013

IT Security high in demand - what certs to go for

It’s everywhere, we keep hearing. Cyber crime is taking over the world with unending waves of attacks that seem to get more and more difficult to deal with.  Even MI5 is battling "astonishing" levels of cyber-attacks in the UK industry and Symantec has stated in their 2011 report that they recorded thousands of hacking events every second.

The subject also came up in the ASIS / (ISC)2 Congress 2012 in Philadelphia when Janet Napolitano, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, stated that there has been over 106,000 reports of cyber attacks in 2011 to the US-CERT (United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team).

What this means…

As the number of IT security threats continue to grow, the demand for those to defend against it has become ever more important. IT security has become the fastest growing sector in the IT industry.

Taking the opportunity

Opportunities in IT security are popping up everywhere so why not take it? Get the right security certification and earn on average £50,000. Here are four certs which are highly respected and will guarantee advancement.

Top four security certs

CISSP is offered by the highly respected (ISC)2 vendor. CISSP professionals are always in demand and many businesses now require it. It’s one of the key certs employers look for to fill management-level information security positions. Having a CISSP demonstrates that you have a strong understanding of security concepts as well as the specific methodologies involved.

It is very well known in the IT security community and has also become a requirement in many companies in order to join their IT security team.

According to, the average salary for a CISSP professional is £50,000.

CISM is offered by ISACA and is also highly sought after for IT positions. Widely recognised in organisations and government agencies.

It provides a body of knowledge for information security management, focusing mainly on information risk management. It also demonstrates to employers that the professional has a strong understanding of security governance, risk management and compliance, security program development and management, and security incident management.

According to, the average salary for a CISM professional is £55,000.

3. EC-Council - Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

The CEH certification from the EC-Council is widely recognised as the entry into the hacking world. As an ethical hacker, you’d attempt to penetrate the networks or computers of the organisation you work for. Why would you do this? "White hat" ethical hackers are widely sought after to help find and fix the vulnerabilities that would otherwise be exploited by "black hat" criminal hackers.

Demand for CEH professionals continues to grow. Due to the alarming increase in cyber attacks over the past decade, organisations are looking for ways to protect themselves and tighten their security. The CEH course and certification covers all that is needed to identify system vulnerabilities and countermeasures.

According to, the average salary for a CEH professional is £40,000.

4. CompTIA Security+

The Security+ certification is offered by the world renowned CompTIA and is one of the highest paying security certifications. It demonstrates that you have a strong knowledge of security concepts, cryptography, access control, and the tools and procedures to respond to security incidents. You’ll also learn about disaster recovery methods, risk management, and compliance and operational security. 

Once gained, you’ll then be able to anticipate and prevent cyber attacks, and effectively deal with security events. The Security+ cert is greatly recognised in the industry, many companies have it as a requirement including the U.S Department of Defense’s IT department.

According to, the average salary for a Security+ professional is £47,000.

Note, it's worth checking the links to for each of the certs, as average salaries can vary over time.