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MS Security Cert Landscape Moving into 2008

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don

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Post Tue Nov 27, 2007 10:11 pm

MS Security Cert Landscape Moving into 2008

With Windows Server 2008 right around the corner, I thought it might be interesting to see where they were going with not only the new version of the certs but also the security specializations.

As you may have heard, the title MCSE is going bye-bye in place of MCITP (MS Certified IT Professional). MS makes no excuse for changing the title as they were sued by almost every global organization and some governments over their use of the word "engineer." So it was their intention for quite some time to get rid of it. So while they were changing the name, they also decided to change the entire program based more on job duties and with a shorter exam track IE less exams.

This new way of doing their certifications have been around for a little while starting with SQL Server 2005. Since this is the first major upgrade (barring R2) of their server platform, it is just now catching up to the current group of MCSAs and MCSEs.

Few interesting points to mention:

1. MCSA and MCSE will never expire. They will just eventually lose their value as people eventually move away from Server 2003, although that won't happen for quite some time.
2. The new MCITP credential will have only a 3 year life-span and will have a recertification requirement, although only 1 exam will meet that requirement.
3. There is NO security specialization with the MCITP. Instead, MS says that security is included as part of the normal content covered by the study materials and exams.

For more info on Server 2008 certs:
https://www.microsoft.com/learning/wind ... fault.mspx

MS will however continue their big push into security with their Forefront family of products of which ISA Server 2006 is now a part. Speaking of which, after more than a year on the market, MS is finally releasing an exam for ISA Server 2006. The MS page with details of this new exam isn't up yet, but you can get some early details from a blog run by some of the MS employees:

http://blogs.msdn.com/trika/archive/200 ... -2006.aspx

Here some more info on the Forefront Security Product Line:
http://www.microsoft.com/forefront/prod ... rview.mspx

So bottom line is if you want a MS specific credential with security as a focus, a Forefront product certification exam seems to be your only option. We'll see how this all pans out in 2008.

Here are a few links to free MS security training:
- MS's own eLearning for Windows Server 2008
- ISA expert Dr. Tom Shinder's site, http://www.isaserver.org
- MS site introducing Forefront technologies with case studies, trial downloads and virtual labs.

Hope you found this of interest,
Don
CISSP, MCSE, CSTA, Security+ SME
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venom77

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Post Wed Nov 28, 2007 11:20 am

Re: MS Security Cert Landscape Moving into 2008

Thanks for that info, Don. I actually watched a presentation on the MS website about the new server and certifications. I'll check and see if I have the link for everyone.

For those of you wondering the certification path, I'll outline it here..

The MCSA is becoming MCITP Server Administrator. To achieve this credential, you'll need to pass only 3 exams:

70-642:TS:Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure
70-640:TS:Windows Server 2008 Active Directory
70-646:Pro:Windows Server 2008 Server Administrator

The MCSE is becoming MCITP Enterprise Administrator. To achieve this credential, you'll need to pass 5 exams:

70-620:TS:Windows Vista Client*
70-643:TS:Windows Server 2008 Application Platform
70-642:TS:Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure
70-640:TS:Windows Server 2008 Active Directory
70-647:Pro:Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Administrator

* can be substituted with a client/office combo exam (forgot the number)

As for upgrading, there are two upgrade exams (1 for MCSA and 1 for MCSE) that basically combine several of the above exams into 1.

70-649:TS:Upgrading MCSE on 2003 to 2008 (AD, Network, App exams)
70-648:TS:Upgrading MCSA on 2003 to 2008 (AD, Network)

In addition to those, if you're an MCSE looking to become an Enterprise Administrator, you'll need to take a client exam and the Enterprise Admin. exam. If you're an MCSA looking to become a Server Administrator, you'll only need to take the Server Admin. exam in addition to the upgrade exam.

Hope that gives everyone a good idea about what's to come with the new certifications, I know I found it quite interesting and am looking forward to them :)

Bill
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Florin

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Post Wed Nov 28, 2007 1:04 pm

Re: MS Security Cert Landscape Moving into 2008

Interesting info.

Thanks guys!
Security+, OSCP, CISM, CISSP
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don

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Post Wed Nov 28, 2007 3:28 pm

Re: MS Security Cert Landscape Moving into 2008

Good review BillV.

One other thing to point out is that it would be a really good idea to plan your final goal before starting on the new path. Main reason: there is no direct upgrade path from MCITP - SA to MCITP - EA like there was between MCSA and MCSE. MS now looks at them as 2 completely different job roles. So when asked, they will tell you that these new certs are not simply replacements for the old ones. They are completely different.

As an example, many who wanted MCSE went for MCSA first knowing that they could eventually get their MCSE without taking any wasted exams. This is not the case with the new certs. MCITP - SA takes a different path than the MCITP - EA.

Think about it this way. Server Admin (SA) basically stays in the server room / data center thus you can see from BillV's outline below, there are only 3 exams and they are ALL Server 2008 exams. Enterprise (EA) has a big picture view of the entire enterprise and thus a different path. Here are the main differences when going for EA instead of SA:

1. Client TS exam (XP or Vista) is required.
2. 1 additional Server 2008 TS exam, Application Platform (also includes virtualization), is needed.
3. Completely different Pro exam.

With the new structure, it is always good to keep in mind the 2 types of exam: Technology Specialist (TS) and Professional Series (Pro).

TS is tied to a product or specific MS technology. Pro is reserved for a higher end or advanced job role. One must be proficient with a product IE pass a TS exam before they can go for a professional designation.

So, as of right now, when going for a security focused cert, you will be looking at a TS exam. The TS exam for ISA Server is coming soon and the TS for Forefront Client is available now. No Pro certs as of yet.

If interested, the link below will get you to the webcast for Server 2008 Certs mentioned by BillV as well as an upcoming webcast on transitioning your skills from MCSA/MCSE to the MCTS: Server 2008 (Not MCITP):

http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/w ... fault.mspx

Hope this helps,
Don
CISSP, MCSE, CSTA, Security+ SME

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