Microsoft jumps on the security cert bandwagon

Microsoft has unveiled two new security specializations, available as part of the current Windows 2000 MCSA and MCSE tracks.

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Rumors about Microsoft security certifications have been rife for nearly two years now. But at TechEd in Dallas last week, Microsoft finally unveiled its security cert plans. Its new certification involves two new security specializations, available as part of the current Windows 2000 MCSA and MCSE tracks. These new tracks effectively spin existing programs and exams into new credentials for security-minded Windows IT professionals...

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The idea behind the new specializations is to "identify IT professionals who demonstrate deep, role-based security skills on the Microsoft Windows 2000 platform." You can find an overview of the new programs on the Microsoft Web page entitled "Introducing MCSA: Security and MCSE: Security," which includes pointers on the tracks' detailed requirements and FAQs about each specialization.

In a nutshell, Microsoft has tweaked both the MCSA and MCSE requirements by steering electives and certain core requirements directly onto a security heading.

The MCSA: Security requirements include a total of five exams:

 

  • Either 70-210 (Windows 2000 Professional) or 70-270 (Windows XP Professional) remains the core desktop requirement.
  • 70-215 (Windows 2000 Server) and 70-218 (Managing a Microsoft Windows 2000 Network Environment) remain the networking system core requirements.
  • Two more additional security specialization exams are also required (one more than the "plain-vanilla" MCSA) and must include 70-214 (Implementing and Administering Security for Windows 2000), and either 70-227 (ISA Server) or the CompTIA Security+ exam (SY0-101).

    The MCSE: Security requirements include a total of seven exams:

     

  • Either 70-210 (Windows 2000 Professional) or 70-270 (Windows XP Professional) remains the core desktop requirement.
  • 70-215 (Windows 2000 Server), 70-216 (Windows 2000 Network Infrastructure) and 70-217 (Windows 2000 Directory Services Infrastructure) remain the networking system core requirements.
  • The Core Design exam is limited to a single choice: 70-220 (Designing Security for a Windows 2000 Network).
  • The same two security specialization exams are required as for the MCSA: 70-214 (Implementing and Administering Security for Windows 2000), and either 70-227 (ISA Server) or the CompTIA Security+ exam (SY0-101).

    Moving up from an MCSA: Security to MCSE: Security means taking three more exams, because 70-218 (a valid elective for the "plain vanilla" MCSE) does not count toward MCSE: Security. Those three exams would be: 70-216, 70-217 and 70-220.

    What does this all mean? It means that the CompTIA Security+ exam should get a well-deserved boost, since it's the only general security concepts and practices exam in the lot. It also means that Microsoft is shrewdly making use of its existing exam collection to create security credentials without having to add a bunch of new exams.

    Expect versions of the security specialization for Windows Server 2003 to follow closely in the wake of the upcoming 70-29x exams, which go live in August 2003 and should be completely out by the end of that year.

     


    Ed Tittel runs a content development company in Austin, Texas, and is the series editor of the Que Exam Cram 2 and Training Guide series. He's worked on many books on Microsoft, CompTIA, CIW, Sun/Java and security certifications.
This was first published in June 2003

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