Well it’s official, the ISC2 have finally bestowed upon me the prestigious CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) accreditation!

I started my journey almost two years ago, just as the new 8 domain material came out.  Despite taking two years to sit the exam (will tell you why later), I managed to pass first time!  I am now certifiable!

Awfully chuffed with myself, but I can tell you having not done a ‘proper’ exam in around ten years, it was amongst the hardest things I’ve ever done.  A six-hour exam slot and I pretty much used all the time available.  The ISC2 do not award CISSP without a LOT of hard work.

For me going for CISSP has been more of a formalisation of the fact that I was always doing IT security, I just hadn’t realised it.

My career started as an IT Manager for a Construction business working in nuclear with a major establishment at Sellafield.  Having cut your teeth in that environment, security does become something that’s not particularly novel and almost second nature.

Having implemented ISO 27001 for Information Security Management for our clients, I can also say that played a big part in the understanding I required for the CISSP Exam.  The CISSP really gives you a rounded view on security that’s not entirely technical nor entirely management systems.

The one thing I’ve really taken away in recent weeks is that security should be baked in to any IT solution, whether it’s hardware or software – not slapped on.  Which I believe is something Unleashed has been doing since we started over six years ago!

Exam Tips

They say it’s always helpful to share with your peers some exam hints and tips for exams such as the CISSP.

I’m going to share with you what you shouldn’t do.

  • Do not get ill whilst doing the 5-day crash study exam prep course. (I’m also blaming the hotels faulty air-conditioning and the instructor who was also feeling rough!)
  • Do not purchase a house during exam prep.
  • Do not refurbish house whilst preparing for exam.
  • Don’t even think about getting married at the same time.
  • Do not believe builders when they say work will take 12 weeks and not 12 months!

What I can tell you is that after the crash classroom course, you’re encouraged to book your exam.  I didn’t and waited a little while.  I probably should have listened despite life’s challenges.  I had to re-arrange the exam three times which was about £35 per postponement which adds up!

I started seriously studying again around February and it took a good three months to get back into the position I was in following the crash study course run by IT Governance.   It really is important to use a course like that and set your exam no later than a month afterwards!

Also you’ll not be able to become CISSP certified without help and endorsement from other professionals.  So much thanks to my fellow CISSP’ers Simon Eappariello at iboss, Noah Ojok at BP and Geraint Williams, who conducted my training all that time ago!