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Security managers oversee cybersecurity policies, processes, and practices within organizations. They supervise cybersecurity employees, prepare and oversee budgets, and implement new security tools and technologies. Security managers know how to use relevant technology and equipment, respond to and report security incidents, and coordinate with fellow managers to ensure cybersecurity safety.
As the world of information technology continues to cross into work and play, the demand for managers in the tech sector remains strong. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 16% increase in employment for computer and information system managers from 2021-2031, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.
Because cybersecurity continues to change, security managers need to remain up to date on the latest threats and solutions. One of the best ways aspiring and current security managers can master the field and demonstrate their abilities to others is by earning security manager certifications.
What Is Certification in Security Management?
Security manager certifications supplement degrees, experience, training, and other credentials. Unlike licenses, which some positions may require, certification is optional. Professional certifications demonstrate competence and attest to a security manager's dedication, determination, and diligence.
These credentials also vary in scope. Some certifications demonstrate knowledge of a specific tool or technology, while others highlight expertise in best practices and standards in cybersecurity. Other types of security management certifications attest to competence in legal aspects of cybersecurity and leadership abilities.
Why Pursue Certification as a Cybersecurity Manager?
Pursuing cybersecurity manager certification can have several positive outcomes. Current cybersecurity professionals who want to move into managerial roles demonstrate their expertise in aspects of the field. These credentials can boost reputability, increase earning potential, and allow for transitions to new and exciting roles.
With security manager certifications, individuals can position themselves for more advanced roles. The BLS reported in May 2021 that computer and information systems managers earned median pay exceeding $159,000, while junior counterparts like computer system analysts earned just over $99,000.
A certification in security management also increases overall knowledge of cybersecurity. These credentials can increase a candidate's confidence and expand their knowledge of the field.
The information below highlights the top security manager certifications from leading credentialing bodies in cybersecurity.
Security Manager Career Overview How to Become a Security Manager The Typical Day of a Security Manager
Top Certifications for Security Managers
In the cybersecurity field, independent organizations like the Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC), (ISC)², ISACA, and the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants (EC-Council) offer certifications in different focus areas. Additional organizations like ASIS International, CompTIA, and Cisco similarly provide credentialing opportunities in various aspects of cybersecurity.
Advanced and executive certifications may provide the best opportunities for security managers. The certified chief information security officer (CCISO) from EC-Council, for example, doubles as a leadership course and an information security management program.
Certifications for security managers vary in content, scope, and length. Cybersecurity professionals can earn specialized certifications that align with their role or industry. Earning certified healthcare information security and privacy practitioner (HCISPP) credentials from (ISC)² can help healthcare professionals, for example. A career with the Department of Defense (DoD) may require specific certifications from GIAC.
The following list of credentials is not comprehensive but highlights the best security management certifications available.
EC-Council is a leader in IT and e-business certification programs. Established in 2001 as a response to the attacks of September 11, 2001, EC-Council provides certifications to protect against attacks on e-commerce and other sectors.
EC-Council has certified nearly 250,000 cybersecurity professionals in 145 countries. The organization trains Department of Defense employees, operates EC-Council University, and hosts a learning platform with micro degrees and video lessons.
Certified Chief Information Security Officer (CCISO)
Designed by a collection of information security executives, the CCISO credential focuses on technical knowledge and management principles. As a training and certification program, the CCISO explores the five domains:
- Governance, risk, and compliance
- Information security controls and audit management
- Security program management and operations
- Information security core competencies
- Strategic planning, finance, procurement, and third-party management
Each applicant must have five years of experience in at least three domains to apply for the CCISO exam. An alternative is completing the EC-Council information security manager (EISM) program.
The CCISO exam includes 150 questions candidates complete in 150 minutes.
Advanced Network Defense (CAST 614)
The CAST 614 certification covers advanced ethical hacking. Individuals assess hacking methods, learn to establish best practices and methodologies for secure environments, and develop skills to reduce advanced persistent threats.
The program suits firewall administrators, system architects, and system administrators working across industries. As a course designed for individuals with experience, the CAST 614 is available in self-study, in-person, and live online formats.
EC-Council Information Security Manager (EISM)
The EISM covers much of the same material as the CCISO but accommodates cybersecurity professionals with less experience. The EISM exam covers the same five domains as the CCISO but includes fewer scenario-based questions.
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Founded in 1999, GIAC offers over 40 cybersecurity certifications. GIAC's offerings align with the SANS Institute's training standards to serve industry, government, and military clients worldwide. GIAC's programs are also accredited by the American National Standards Institute.
GIAC's certifications span six focus areas:
- Offensive operations
- Cloud security
- Industrial control systems
- Digital forensics and incident response
- Management, legal, and audit
GIAC Security Leadership (GSLC)
The GSLC program suits information security managers, security professionals with leadership responsibilities, and information technology managers. Areas covered include cryptography concepts and applications, managing secure operations centers, managing security architecture, and risk management.
Earning the certification attests to the learner's understanding of governance and technical controls used to protect, detect, and respond to security issues. The GSLC exam includes 115 questions and lasts three hours.
GIAC Strategic Planning, Policy, and Leadership (GSTRT)
The GSTRT emphasizes the development and maintenance of cybersecurity programs through business analysis and strategic planning. The GSTRT accommodates information security officers, security managers, and aspiring security leaders.
Enrollees explore security policy, leadership, and communications while developing analytical skills to determine current and future security needs. The GSTRT exam includes 75 questions and lasts three hours.
GIAC Security Operations Manager (GSOM)
The GSOM trains learners to design, plan, and manage security operations centers efficiently and strategically. The program covers prioritization and collection of logs and generating a response playbook. Additional topics include metrics, analytics, and long-term strategies to assess improvements for security operations.
Security operations managers can grow technical and leadership abilities through the GSOM program. The GSOM exam includes 75 questions and lasts two hours.
(ISC)² is dedicated to standardization and certification in the cybersecurity industry. Members enjoy access to continuing education programs, local chapters, volunteer opportunities, and the organization's online community.
Uniting cybersecurity professionals around the world since 1989, (ISC)² uses its Common Body of Knowledge (CBK) as the foundation for all of its certifications. (ISC)² offers certifications for individuals at all stages of their careers.
Alongside programs in general cybersecurity, (ISC)² provides opportunities to earn credentials in security administration and operations, cloud security expertise, risk management framework, and cybersecurity leadership. Within the cybersecurity leadership program, enrollees can specialize in engineering, architecture, or management.
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
The (ISC)² CISSP certification meets the needs of current and aspiring security managers, auditors, architects, and consultants. This certification covers security practices and principles for keeping organizations safe.
The CISSP exam covers eight domains of the CBK:
- Security and risk management
- Asset security
- Security architecture and engineering
- Communication and network security
- Identity and access management
- Security assessment and testing
- Security operations
- Software development security
Each candidate must have at least five years of work experience in two or more of the eight domains, with a four-year degree satisfying one year of that requirement. The CISSP exam includes multiple choice and advanced innovative questions.
Certified Information Systems Security Professional, Management Concentration (CISSP-ISSMP)
As an extension of the core CISSP certification, the CISSP-ISSMP emphasizes six domains of the CBK:
- Leadership and business management
- Systems lifecycle management
- Risk management
- Threat intelligence and incident management
- Contingency management
- Law, ethics, and security compliance management
The program focuses on the establishment, presentation, and governance of information security programs. Learners leave the program equipped to manage and lead incident handling and breach mitigation teams.
To qualify for the CISSP-ISSMP, each candidate must have a CISSP and two years of paid work experience in one or more of the six domains of the CISSP-ISSP CBK.
Certified Healthcare Information Security and Privacy Practitioner (HCISPP)
Designed for individuals working in the healthcare industry, the HCISPP is the only certification that unites privacy best practices and techniques with cybersecurity training. Learners study policies and procedures to implement, manage, and assess security and privacy controls across healthcare organizations.
The HCISPP is ideal for health information managers, information technology managers, compliance officers, and medical records supervisors. The exam covers seven CBK domains:
- Healthcare industry
- Information governance in healthcare
- Information technology in healthcare
- Regulatory and standards environment
- Privacy and security in healthcare
- Risk management and risk assessment
- Third-party risk management
A candidate needs at least two years of work experience in one of the domains of the CBK to take the HCISPP exam.
Additional Certifications for Security Managers
ASIS International's CPP covers seven essential security management domains:
- Security principles and practices
- Business principles and practices
- Personal security
- Physical security
- Information security
- Crisis management
The CPP exam contains 200 questions learners complete in four hours. To qualify for the CPP, individuals need to meet education and experience requirements.
ISACA's CISM program trains learners in information security governance, program development and management, incident management, and risk management to meet the needs of practicing and future security managers. The CISM exam includes 150 questions.
Preparing for Certification Exams
Candidates should spend significant time preparing for certification exams. Making time may be a challenge for individuals who work full time, but experience and daily work responsibilities also offer opportunities to apply and explore the topics covered by the certification. Dedicating time in the mornings, evenings, or weekends may similarly help with preparation and time management.
Most certifications offer training materials. Learners can complete online courses, in-person training, or self-study for certification exams. Additional manuals, study guides, and review questions may be available for purchase. Along with these resources, individuals may choose complete practice exams, connect with study groups, or work with tutors.
One of the most important lead-ups to a security manager certification is a degree in cybersecurity, information technology, or a related field. You can find out more about these below.
- Bachelor’s in Cybersecurity Programs
- Master's in Cybersecurity Programs
- Bachelor's in Information Assurance Programs
- Bachelor's in Information Technology Programs
- Computer Science Degree Programs
- Degrees in Business and Technology
- Information Systems Security Degree Programs
- IT Management Degree Programs
Choosing the Best Security Management Certifications
Choosing the best security management certifications means finding the program that aligns with your professional goals. Along with costs, consider recommended preparation time, test format, and whether your employer will help pay for your certification.
Always check for any requirements before pursuing certification. Many certifications for security managers require a specific amount of experience. These credentials also commonly require renewal. Determining how often you will need to renew your security manager certification and associated costs can influence your choice.
Resources for Cybersecurity Managers
FAQ About the Best Certifications for Security Managers
What is the most valuable security certification for managers?
The most valuable security certification for managers meets your career goals. Credentials that combine technical information with content about leadership, communication, and business practices may be especially beneficial.
Do cybersecurity managers need to be licensed?
Cybersecurity managers do not need to be licensed but benefit from having certifications in the field.
Are the top certifications for security managers hard to get?
The top certifications for security managers are challenging and require a lot of dedication and preparation. Their difficulty attests to the esteem they can bring to your resume and career.
Which cybersecurity certification should I get first?
You should get the cybersecurity certification that best applies to your entry-level goals. A general cybersecurity certification may be ideal before earning a security management certification.
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