Today's focus: Setting the standard for security

Security certification is one of the most sought after by employers, and of the many programs out there, the Global Information Assurance Certification is one of the most popular.

Foote Partners' Quarterly Hot Technical Skills and Certifications Index found that GIAC and Certified Information Systems Security Professional certification were some of the fastest-growing and highest-paying titles. The report points to growing importance of vendor-neutral certification such as the GIAC series. (Go to for more results of the study.) GIAC offers nine security certifications that range from entry-level skills to advanced technical specialties such as intrusion detection and forensics. Here's a quick summary of the options that may interest you:

* GIAC Security Essentials Certification (GSEC): These techies have the essential knowledge and skills required of anyone with security responsibilities within an organization.

* GIAC Certified Firewall Analyst (GCFW): This certification requires the knowledge, skills and ability to design, configure and monitor routers, firewalls and perimeter defense systems.

* GIAC Certified Intrusion Analyst (GCIA): GCIA requires IT pros to configure and monitor intrusion detection systems and read, interpret and analyze network traffic and related log files.

* GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH): To achieve this designation, candidates must have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to manage incidents; to understand common attack techniques and tools; and to defend against and/or respond to such attacks when they occur.

* GIAC Certified Windows Security Administrator (GCWN):

Targeted at those responsible for managing Windows 2000 and NT networks, this certification validates the ability to secure and audit Windows systems and add-on services.

* GIAC Certified Unix Security Administrator (GCUX): The GCUS requires techies to have the knowledge, skills and abilities to secure and audit UNIX and Linux systems.

* GIAC Information Security Officer (GISO): Geared for those who must oversee the security of information and information resources, this certification combines basic technical knowledge with understanding of threats, risks and best practices.

* GIAC Systems and Network Auditor (GSNA): The certification requires the knowledge, skills and abilities to apply basic risk analysis techniques and to conduct a technical audit of essential information systems.

* GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst (GCFA): These security pros have the knowledge, skills and abilities to handle advanced incident handling scenarios, conduct formal incident investigations, and carry out forensic investigation of networks and hosts.

For more information, go to GIAC's site at, where you'll find information about the individual certifications, qualifications and frequently asked questions.

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