Two certifications that candidates often have questions about are the Certified Information Security Auditor (CISA) from ISACA, which was previously known to be the Information Systems Audit and Control Association, and the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) from The International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC)². Both of these certifications cover cybersecurity concepts. A closer look at the certifications can help you determine which certification is right for you while revealing the important takeaway: CISA has an auditing focus, and CISSP has a technical, managerial focus. Well, the short answer to this is that they both are very difficult to obtain, as both require in all 5 years of experience and if you wish to obtain any of the mentioned certifications, you should obtain the training provided by the SPOTO Club. To back it up to my words, let’s have a detailed overview of both as well as their differences.
CISA: Auditing with a Technical Twist
The first step in understanding the difference between the two certifications is to start with their names. Here’s a good tip: to understand an acronym, learn the words that form it (things are often what they sound like). CISA, if you remember, stands for Certified Information Security Auditor. The keyword in this acronym is the last one. Auditing, in a security context, means evaluating the security of a company's information system by measuring how well it conforms to a set of established criteria. A meticulous audit characteristically would be assessing the security of the system's physical configuration, software, environment, information handling processes, and user practices as well as often determines regulatory compliance.
CISSP: Technical with a Managerial Twist
Compare CISA’s auditing focus with the technical, managerial perspective of the Certified Information Systems Security Professional certification. While CISAs can expect to audit security controls and policies, CISSPs are the individuals who implement the controls and enforce the policies.
The domains, or knowledge areas, of the two certifications, demonstrate their disparate focuses. The domains of the two certs are in the following table:
1. Auditing Information Systems
2. Governance and Management of IT
3. Information Systems Acquisition, Development, and Implementation
4. Information Systems Operations, Maintenance, and Service Management
5. Protection of Information Assets
1. Security and Risk Management
2. Asset Security
3. Security Architecture and Engineering
4. Communications and Network Security
5. Identity and Access Management
6. Security Assessment and Testing
7. Security Operations
8. Software Development Security
As you could see, CISSP explores technical areas, as well as CISA, hones in on auditing information systems. From a percentages standpoint, CISA would be having five auditing-focused domains. Sub-domain topics include technical concepts, but they are sprinkled in and are not the main focus of the domain. It is considered fair to say that CISA is 90 percent auditing and 10 percent technical. CISSPs are in the business of selling security and managing security. CISAs are in the business for ensuring standards, regulations, as well as policies, are being followed think compliance.
CISA vs CISSP: More Like CISA and CISSP
If you were reading this piece in order to get a final word on whether your next certification should be CISSP or CISA, we have good news: There is no wrong answer. Both the CISSP and CISA are important certifications that can make you valuable to your current or prospective employers. What you should recognize is that if you really want to stand out, you should strive to have both the auditing focus of CISA and the technical skills of CISSP. Auditing and security are related. It would be quite rare to find someone implementing a security plan without including auditing. In most cases, auditing forms the backbone of any security plan. Without auditing, you cannot ensure compliance.
Whether you select any of the certifications, you would require lots of training and for that, it is recommended to have a good and reliable study dumps, like that offered at the SPOTO Club.
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