Navigating the realm of cybersecurity credentials can be daunting, but if you’re focused on climbing the pinnacle, knowing how to get CISSP certification is key. Recognised globally, this certification not only validates one’s expertise but also opens doors to esteemed roles in the industry.

Securing CISSP security certifications is not just about passing an exam; it’s about mastering a comprehensive body of knowledge and demonstrating real-world application. As cyber threats evolve, so does the importance of having qualified professionals at the forefront. Let’s break down the step-by-step process to ensure you’re well-equipped and ready for the challenge ahead.

What is CISSP? 

CISSP stands for “Certified Information Systems Security Professional.” It’s a globally recognised cybersecurity certification offered by (ISC)² — the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium. The CISSP certification targets seasoned security professionals, including practitioners, managers, and executives, aiming to validate their comprehensive understanding of diverse security practices and principles.

Why Pursue the CISSP?

  • Market Demand for CISSP-Certified Professionals: Amidst a time when cyber threats are escalating, businesses are actively searching for skilled and knowledgeable individuals capable of safeguarding against advanced cyber attacks. The CISSP certification is frequently listed as a preferred or mandatory qualification in job listings, underscoring its high demand.
  • Career Advancement Opportunities: Holding a CISSP can significantly accelerate your career trajectory. Whether you’re eyeing a managerial position, a specialised role, or even a C-suite title like CISO (Chief Information Security Officer), this certification can serve as a strong foundation and differentiator in your professional journey.
  • Credibility and Recognition in the Cybersecurity Community: A CISSP certification is not just another line on your resume—it’s a testament to your commitment and expertise in the field of cybersecurity. With this certification, you gain immediate respect and recognition from peers, employers, and industry stakeholders.
  • Potential Salary and Career Growth Benefits: Numerous surveys and reports indicate that CISSP-certified professionals often command higher salaries than their non-certified counterparts. Additionally, the certification can unlock opportunities for roles with greater responsibilities and broader scopes, leading to long-term career growth and stability.

How to Get CISSP Certification? 

Earning CISSP security certifications requires a strategic approach. Discover the seven crucial steps, from understanding eligibility criteria and mastering CISSP domains to developing a study plan and acing the exam, propelling you toward success.

Step1: Understand the CISSP Requirements

  • Experience Requirement: At the core of the CISSP eligibility criteria is the mandate that candidates have a solid foundation of real-world experience. Specifically, you need five years of cumulative work experience across two or more of the CISSP domains. This ensures that certified professionals aren’t just book-smart but also possess practical insights that only hands-on experience can provide.
  • Experience Waivers: Now, for those thinking, “I don’t quite have the five years,” there’s good news. (ISC)² offers some flexibility here. Depending on your educational qualifications or if you hold other pertinent certifications, you might qualify for a waiver that can reduce the experience requirement by a year. This not only showcases the inclusivity of the CISSP program but also means that dedicated professionals can accelerate their certification journey. 

Step 2: Familiarise Yourself with the CISSP Domains

Working on how to get CISSP certification means diving deep into a vast ocean of cybersecurity knowledge. The backbone of this knowledge is structured around the eight CISSP domains, each representing a significant area of the information security world. Let’s embark on a whirlwind tour of these domains:

  1. Security and Risk Management: This is the foundation stone of the CISSP domains. Here, you’ll delve into policies, guidelines, and the intricacies of risk management, setting the tone for all other areas of study.
  2. Asset Security: How do organisations classify and secure their valuable assets, be it data or physical entities? This domain brings to light the importance of asset protection, ensuring they’re both available and confidential.
  3. Security Architecture and Engineering: Dive into the world of designing and building secure systems. This domain helps you grasp the concepts behind cryptography, secure system design, and the integration of security controls.
  4. Communication and Network Security: As our world becomes more interconnected, the security of our communications channels becomes paramount. This domain delves into the design and protection of secure network architectures.
  5. Identity and Access Management (IAM): Here, the focus shifts to ensuring that only authorised individuals can access specific resources. IAM is the art and science of rights and permissions, playing a critical role in protecting sensitive data.
  6. Security Assessment and Testing: You’ll explore the tools, techniques, and thought processes behind assessing and testing an organisation’s security measures. It’s one thing to implement security controls, but how effective are they? This domain seeks answers.
  7. Security Operations: This domain offers a deep dive into the day-to-day activities that ensure an organisation’s information assets remain secure. From incident management to disaster recovery, it covers the spectrum of operational procedures.
  8. Software Development Security: With software running the modern world, ensuring its security from inception to deployment is essential. This domain sheds light on the software lifecycle and the critical security measures at each phase. 

Step3: Decide on a Study Approach

Successfully preparing for how to get CISSP certification exam necessitates a strategic approach to learning. Candidates typically choose between self-study, formal training, or a combination of both. Let’s delve deeper into these options to help you make an informed decision.  

What Are the Pros of Self-Study?

  • Flexibility: You can study at your own pace, fitting your preparation around your personal and professional commitments.
  • Cost-Effective: Generally, self-study materials are less expensive than enrolling in formal training programs.
  • Customised Learning: Tailor your study plan to focus more on domains where you feel less confident and spend less time on areas where you already have strong knowledge.

What Are the Cons of CISSP Self-Study?

  • Requires Strong Self-Discipline: Without the structure of a formal class, staying motivated and adhering to a consistent study schedule is entirely up to you.
  • Limited Interaction: You might miss out on the benefits of group discussions and the ability to ask questions in real time.

What Are the Main Resources?

  • Books: The Official (ISC)² Guide to the CISSP CBK, CISSP All-in-One Exam Guide, and CISSP book For Dummies are popular choices.
  • Online Materials: There are numerous online platforms offering practice exams, video tutorials, and forums for discussions with fellow CISSP candidates.

What Are the Pros of CISSP Formal Training?

  • Structured Learning: Courses provide a clear and structured pathway through the CISSP domains, which can be especially helpful for beginners.
  • Direct Access to Experienced Instructors: You can get immediate answers to your questions and clarification on complex topics.
  • Networking Opportunities: Interacting with peers and instructors can provide valuable insights and connections in the cybersecurity field.

What Are the Cons of CISSP Formal Training?

  • Higher Cost: Formal training programs can be expensive, with prices varying widely.
  • Less Flexibility: You will need to adhere to the training schedule, which might not always align with your personal commitments. 

How to Choose a Reputable Training Centre or Online Course?

  • Check Accreditations: Ensure that the training provider is accredited and recognised by (ISC)².
  • Look for Experienced Instructors: Instructors should have substantial real-world experience and a deep understanding of the CISSP domains.
  • Seek Recommendations: Ask for recommendations from colleagues or look for reviews online to get insights from past students.
  • Ensure Comprehensive Coverage: The training should cover all eight CISSP domains comprehensively.

Step 4: Gather CISSP Study Materials

Embarking on the journey of how to get CISSP certification demands a comprehensive and well-rounded study plan. Central to this is gathering the right study materials that not only align with the CISSP curriculum but also cater to various aspects of your preparation. Here’s a detailed guide on how to assemble your study arsenal:

Official (ISC)² CISSP CBK (Common Body of Knowledge):

  • What it Offers: This official guide provides an exhaustive coverage of all the eight CISSP domains, ensuring that you have a thorough understanding of the key concepts, terms, and principles.
  • Why it is Important: Being the official guide, it is aligned with the (ISC)² CISSP exam objectives and is updated regularly to reflect the most current information and practices in the field.
  • How to Use it Effectively: Utilise this book as your primary reference material. Dedicate time to each domain, ensuring that you fully grasp the concepts before moving on.

Recommended Study Guides and Practice Exams:

  • Study Guides: Look for well-reviewed CISSP study guides that provide clear explanations, real-world examples, and tips for the exam. Some popular CISSP book options include the “CISSP All-in-One Exam Guide” and “CISSP For Dummies”.
  • Practice Exams: Engaging with practice exams is crucial as they help you familiarise yourself with the exam format, identify areas of weakness, and track your progress.
  • Interactive Learning: Opt for resources that offer interactive learning experiences, such as flashcards, quizzes, and simulation exams.

Online Forums and Study Groups:

  • Peer Support: Platforms like Reddit, Discord, and other cybersecurity forums have dedicated CISSP communities where you can find support, advice, and answers to your queries.
  • Study Groups: Joining a study group can be beneficial as it provides a platform for collaborative learning, sharing resources, and gaining different perspectives on complex topics.
  • Stay Updated: Participating in forums and groups is an excellent way to remain current with the most recent developments in the industry, updates to the exam, and established best practices.

Additional Resources

  • Video Tutorials: There are numerous online platforms offering video tutorials that can be particularly helpful for visual learners.
  • Webinars and Workshops: Keep an eye out for webinars and workshops conducted by experienced professionals or (ISC)² itself.

Step 5: How to Register for CISSP Exam

Registering for the CISSP exam is a crucial step in your how to get a CISSP certification journey. It not only makes your commitment official but also sets a definitive timeline for your preparation. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to register for the exam and select a testing centre: 

How to Find and Select a Testing Centre?

  • Visit (ISC)²’s Official Website: Start by visiting the (ISC)² official website, where you will find all the necessary information regarding test centres and availability.
  • Create an Account: If you haven’t already, you’ll need to create an account on the (ISC)² website. This will be your portal for all things related to the CISSP exam, including registration, scheduling, and receiving your results.
  • Choose Your Exam Location: Use the website’s search functionality to find available testing centres nearby. Consider factors like distance, accessibility, and test centre reviews when making your choice.
  • Check Availability: Once you’ve selected a test centre, check the available dates and times. Test centre availability can vary, so it’s crucial to book your spot well in advance to secure your preferred date.
  • Confirm and Pay: After selecting your date and time, confirm your booking and proceed to payment. Ensure that all the details are correct before finalising your registration.

Step 6: Day of the Exam

The day of the CISSP exam is crucial, and knowing what to expect, along with strategies to manage nerves and maximise performance, can significantly impact your success. Here’s a detailed guide to help you navigate the day with confidence.

What to Expect at the Testing Centre:

  • Arrival: Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled exam time. This gives you enough time to check in and get settled without feeling rushed.
  • Identification: Bring a valid, government-issued photo ID. The testing centre staff will verify your identity against your exam registration details.
  • Security Procedures: Be prepared for strict security procedures. You may be asked to empty your pockets, and personal belongings will likely need to be stored in a locker.
  • The Testing Environment: Expect a quiet, monitored environment. The staff at the testing centre are there to ensure that all candidates have a fair and distraction-free testing experience. 

Setting your sights on how to get CISSP certification demonstrates a profound commitment to cybersecurity excellence. With a robust study plan and a resolve to succeed, you’re well on your way to overcoming the challenges and reaping the substantial professional rewards that this esteemed certification brings. Your pathway to success is clear and achievable.