CCNA security - what's required?

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Cisco Certified Network Associate Security (CCNA Security), a certification offered by Cisco, demonstrates the skill and knowledge of a network professional at associate level to secure the Cisco networks. A CCNA Security certified professional is proficient in building up a security infrastructure for the Cisco network, identifying the weaknesses and threats to the networks, and minimizing the threats to the security of the networks. With emphasis on technologies relating to core security, maintaining integrity of network devices through troubleshooting and monitoring, installation, and availability and confidentiality of data and services, the CCNA Security certification syllabus ensures competence in technology used for security of networks of Cisco.The prerequisite for a professional to take up the CCNA Security certification, a professional must have CCNA Routing and Switching, CCENT or any CCIE certification.

CCNA Routing and Switching Certification

Certifying the proficiency in foundational networking, the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Routing and Switching program is aimed at network engineers of entry level. Professional such as Network Administrators, Network Support Engineers and Network Specialists with an experience of 1-3 years will find this program very useful in enhancing their knowledge in networking and be a valued resource for their employer. A CCNA Routing and Switching certified professional will be competent in installing, configuring, operating and troubleshooting of medium-sized routing and switching networks. There are no prerequisites for candidates applying for this certification.


Considered as the first step towards attaining CCNA, the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT)validates the competence of professional for network support positions at entry-level. The professional certified as CCENT will have the aptitude for installation, operation and troubleshooting a branch network of a small enterprise with a basic level network security. CCNA is one step forward compared to CCENT as it involves more complex network security systems in branch networks of medium size enterprises.The program includes knowledge enhancement in various networking topics such as WAN technologies, routing and switching fundamentals, networking fundamentals, configuration of simple networks and basic security and wireless concepts. This certification also does not have any prerequisites for the candidates to be fulfilled.


Introduced in 1993 by Cisco, Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) is the most reputed certification in the networking industry. To retain its status of being a standard setter in the internetworking know-how, Cisco ensures that the program regularly updated.  Moreover the testing methods and tools of this program including a hard written exam and a performance based lab are also constantly revised to maintain the value, quality and relevance of the certification.

With the representation of CCIE certification holders being less than 1% among the networking professionals globally, the CCIE certified Network Engineers are considered to mastering the Cisco products and solutions and known for their expertise in skills in the network engineering field. Their reputation of being the top level networking experts worldwide with in-depth knowledge in the networking field position them for being employed for the most challenging assignments in the networking industry.

Exam for CCNA Security Certification:

To be certified as a Cisco Certified Network Associate Security (CCNA Security), the networking professionals have to take up the 640-554 Implementing Cisco IOS Network Security (IINS) exam. The exam developed to assess the knowledge and skills of the candidate in developing security system for the Cisco routers, switches and related networks. Passing the exam is an establishment of a professional’s proficiency in installation, supervision and troubleshooting of networking devices, ability to sustainreliability, privacy and availability of data and devices and gain expertise in the Cisco technologies in relation to network security system..

The content according to its significance in percentage terms in the IINS exam include VPN Technologies (19%), Cisco IPS (16%), Cisco Firewall Technologies (15%), Common Layer 2 Attacks (10%), Secure Network Management and Reporting, IOS ACLs, Security and Cisco Routers and AAA on Cisco Devices comprising of 8% of the content of the exam and the least being 6% from the Common Security Threat related content. However, this is only a general guideline of topics included in the exam and there may be additions of other related topics on any exam. 

Course for Taking up Implementing Cisco IOS Network Security (IINS) exam

The recommended course to be taken for taking this exam is Implementing Cisco IOS Network Security (IINS) 2.0. The course framework includes course introduction, fundamentals of networking security, protection of security infrastructure of networks and control and containment of threats to a secure network connectivity. It is an instructor-led 5 day course emphasizing on implementation and supervision of the complete policy relating to network security through examples of attributes and technologies of Cisco IOS security along with an introduction to the functional aspects of Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA). For enrolling for this course, the candidate must have work experience in Cisco IOS networking and concepts and Windows operating system as well as erudite proficiency identical to Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 1 (ICND1).

The course presented to the channel partner customers and end users by the training partners of Cisco includes practical lab exercises, discussions and lectures. The course students use the CLI on Switches, routers and ASA’s of Cisco and Cisco IOS security attributes through web-based GUIs (Cisco Configuration Professional) to perform various basic tasks for securing a small branch office network.

The objective of the course us to equip a professional with the competence to develop and execute a secure network infrastructure with the capacity to counter any threat or weaknesses in the network, comprehensive knowledge and ability to practically apply the various parts of the policies relating to security of networks, ability toimplement and monitor security infrastructure in small size and medium size enterprise networks and know-how of VPN technologies and strategies for use, configuration in various sites and access in remote areas.

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