Although the government standard to which the CCNP Security (and its predecessor, the CCSP) complies was released in March 2004 (CNSS Instruction 4013: National Information Assurance Training Standard for System Administrators) it wasn’t until yesterday that Cisco announced its compliance with said standard in its Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP Security) and Cisco Certified Security Professional (CCSP) credentials.
When I saw an early draft of this material under embargo from Cisco, tht draft only mentioned the CCSP and didn’t include the new CCNP Security credential introduced in October, 2010. This led me to speculate that Cisco had decided to keep the CCSP alive while also introducing a successor certification — namely, the CCNP Security credential. It does take time to get over the hurdles necessary for a credential to achieve the necessary recognition from the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Committee on National Security Systems (CNSS) to assert that courseware meets a training standard. I had guessed that CCSP would stick around long enough for the CCNP Security to be recognized. But with CCNP Security now part of the mix from the get-go, I have to guess that Cisco will retire CCSP sooner rather than later, to help it keep its sizable certification portfolio under control.
Here’s what the press release on this accreditation says on the subject:
This recognition of CCNP Security complements the existing CNSS 4013 designation for CCSP. It also is the progression of CNSS 4011, a feature of the CCNA Security curriculum.
I have to assume that Cisco will keep the CCSP alive long enough for candidates in the pipeline to get certified, and commitments to training providers to certify staff for government agency or contractor jobs in this area to be met. After that, I’d expect to see a migration/upgrade path for CCSPs to switch over to the newer CCNP credential, probably by taking some kind of exam after the refresh interval (two years) for the CCSP elapses.