Security added to MCSE and MCSA certification

Microsoft systems engineers and administrators wanting to enhance and validate their IT security skills across the Windows 2000 platform will now have the opportunity to do so through the vendor’s new security professional certifications.

Two security courses are now being offered as additional electives to Microsoft’s certified systems engineer (MCSE) and certified system administrator (MCSA) qualifications: MCSE -- Security on Microsoft Windows 2000 and MSCA -- Security on Microsoft Windows 2000.

Both have been designed to address the pressing need for a means of verifying the skills of professionals working with network security, Microsoft Australia technical manager Derek Kerr said.

Topics covered in both the MCSE and MCSA security certifications include implementing network infrastructure, deploying and managing Microsoft’s Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2000 and network security fundamentals.

As well as passing all required MCSE or MCSA exams, security candidates will need to sit two core security elective exams. Candidates undertaking the MSCE security certification will also be required to undergo an additional exam based on the MCSE-specific topic, "Designing security for Microsoft networks".

Kerr said the new courses are tied to the CompTIA industry standard exams, and because of this people who already possess a CompTIA security+ certification will be exempt from the MCSE and MCSA security elective exams. The CompTIA security+ qualification is a vendor-neutral certification that tests individuals on their knowledge of network security issues. Several organisations contribute and monitor the CompTIA certification, including IBM, Symantec, Microsoft, VeriSign and RSA Security.

Alternatively, applicants for the MSCE or MCSA certification who have completed the core exams for either of the two qualification levels may choose to undertake the CompTIA security+ exams to qualify for the security specialisation, Kerr said.

According to the Microsoft Web site, individuals wanting to apply for the new security qualifications should have at least 12 months of experience in implementing and administering desktop and network operating systems, and “managing the network infrastructure in the typically complex computing environment of medium-to-large organisations”. First-hand knowledge of implementing security and a general understanding of security issues is also advisable.

Microsoft’s third-party training providers, including Excom Education, Spherion Education and Dimension Data Learning Solutions will be offering a selection of courses from the two new security certifications Australia-wide from July 2003.

A similar security certification for Windows Server 2003 will be available later this year. Exams for MCSE and MCSA certifications across the Windows 2003 platform should also be accessible from August, Kerr said.

Charles Sturt University is also in the process of adding the new security components from Microsoft to its IT masters program, Kerr said. The Masters IT program was announced in December 2002 as a joint venture between Microsoft, Charles Sturt University and online education provider IT Masters to provide masters-level certification to network administrators.

More information on the security certifications is available at the Microsoft training and certification Web site: http://www.microsoft.com/traincert/

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