What is ECSA?
Last updated on 01st Oct 2020, Artciles, Blog
Cybersecurity is a growing field and one in which companies are constantly hiring experienced and certified professionals. With more and more of our lives in the cloud and on the net, protecting personal and corporate information has to be a high priority. Certifications demonstrate the expertise of your IT team.
What is ECSA?
ECSA is a program offered by the EC-Council that teaches advanced uses of LPT (License Penetration Tester) methodologies and techniques to security professionals. The exam includes a penetration test and a written report.
Why choose ECSA?
The best reason is the hands-on testing. The exam is not a bunch of questions about how one would go about a penetration test, but an actual test in a well-designed lab environment. This demonstrates to you that your IT professionals really do have the credentials to protect the company systems.
Penetration tests are a vital part of the design and administration of any secure network and people capable of performing them are valuable. This certification focuses on applying skills rather than classroom learning. The certification is also vendor-neutral and qualifies an individual to work on equipment from multiple sources. It is globally recognized.
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What are the Prerequisites?
To sit for the exam, one must have either attended a training course at an approved center or validate two years of information security experience. Needless to say, attending the training course is often easier.
While they do not technically have to have the CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) certification, it is highly recommended. This is also a good certification for anyone going into cyber security. Note that the CEH does have the EC-Council Network Security Administrator (ENSA) credential as a prerequisite.
Who should take ECSA?
Experienced security professionals and ethical hackers who you want or need a validation of their abilities to conduct and analyze penetration tests. It is designed for students that have the experience and real world knowledge to move to the next level. As the experience requirement in lieu of training is two years, this is clearly not intended to be an entry level certification. It follows on from the CEH certification.
In fact, the course is aimed at existing network and system administrators and information security analysts. It’s also good for cyber security risk assessors.
What can you do with ECSA?
The purpose of ECSA is to prove that your IT security professionals not only knows about penetration tests, but can perform them and do good analysis afterwards. This makes them a more valuable member of the team.
It is a stepping stone to the Licensed Penetration Tester (LPT) certification, which is globally recognized as an expert-level certification in the field of ethical hacking. In fact, it is considered the most rigorous penetration testing certification there is (one actually has to pass a background check to take the exam).
As the world becomes more and more aware of the importance of cyber security, more and more companies are hiring advanced level professionals to protect their assets. Are you one of them?
Why is ECSA so Important?
Think of the ECSA as a continuation of the CEH course, a more complex follow-up. It goes beyond the standard ethical hacking skill set by incorporating hands-on lab sessions dedicated to penetration testing. These sessions teach cybersecurity professionals on how to analyze the results of hacking techniques and the technological tools involved.
Consider the ECSA training course to be the second part of a three-stage process. Most cybersecurity experts begin with the CEH course mentioned earlier, then take on ECSA, and finish off with Licensed Penetration Tester certification. The IT community recognizes LPT as the last word in ethical hacking expertise. You’re seen as an accomplished expert in the field of cybersecurity if you have LPT certification.
Learning ethical hacking is a good idea, but ECSA takes you a step further and helps to distinguish you from the crowd. By gaining this certification, you show any hiring organization that you’re proficient in the skills and techniques needed to protect their systems and valuable data. ECSA is one of the five proven certifications that can significantly boost your cybersecurity career and enhance your earning power, according to a Hackread article.
What’s the ECSA Examination?
To earn your ECSA certification, you must complete a hands-on penetration testing exam made up of multiple challenges. For instance, you may have to acquire the hash of a protected file or break into a machine, tasks that you must finish within the allocated time limit.
Once you meet and beat the challenges, you then must submit a penetration testing report detailing what you did and what the best fixes are. So not only do you have to carry out a penetration exercise, you must come up with counter-measures to your previous efforts!
The actual ECSA examination comes after you have finished.
The ECSA is a four-hour exam consisting of 150 questions. There is a widespread misconception that exam takers must score at least 70 percent to pass the exam, but the actual percentage may vary according to the EC-Council information page.
The number of questions you must answer correctly to get a passing grade depends on the difficulty of the questions given to you at the time of the exam, which will differ. You may end up answering fewer questions correctly, but—because of the extraordinary difficulty of the problems in that section—you still may pass that part of the exam! Think of it as an example of quality over quantity.
The big takeaway is that you can’t depend on the exam being your standard pass/fail test based on achieving a fixed percentage. The ECSA examination is a tough test covering a very challenging field, so conventional exam methods don’t apply here.
IT professionals who should consider taking ECSA training include but are not limited to:
- Ethical hackers
- Firewall administrators and security testers
- Network server administrators and system administrators
- Penetration testers
- Risk assessment professionals
- Security analysts and security engineers
So if your job has anything to do with IT security, it would be a good idea to look into ECSA certification. Even if it’s not presently part of your job description, it could be at a later date. Also, if you ever want to be promoted within your organization, the ECSA would make you a more appealing choice to the powers that be!
What Are the ECSA Exam Requirements and What Are the Costs Involved?
You must attend and pass a certified ECSA training course, attend an official EC-Council training session, or furnish verifiable proof of having at least two years’ worth of information security experience to sit for the exam. If you didn’t take a training course, you must complete an eligibility form before taking the test.
Furthermore, candidates must be at least 18 years old. Candidates under 18 years of age can take it if they can provide written consent from a parent or guardian and a supporting letter from their accredited higher education institution.
If you’re going the two years’ experience route, the application fee is $100 and is non-refundable. In the other two cases, the payment is either waived or factored into the course cost.
Once your application is accepted, you have three months from the date of approval to take the exam. The EC-Council ECSA exam cost is $999. If you fail the exam, you can’t get a refund.
Why Register With the EC-Council ECSA Anyway?
According to the EC-Council’s website, their mission is “to validate information security professionals who are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge required in a specialized information security domain that will help them avert a cyber conflict, should the need ever arise.”
If you register with the EC-Council, you become part of an organization that is widely recognized and respected in the field of cybersecurity. Being a member in good standing adds extra luster to your security credentials.
Each EC-Council ECSA member must participate in continuing education, achieving 120 credits in three years (at least 20 credits per year). After the three years are up, the ECSA requires you to renew your certification by participating in the EC-Council Continuing Education (ECE) Program, as detailed on the ECSA online policy page.
What Are ECSA Jobs and Salaries Like?
According to Payscale, an EC-Council Certified Security Analyst can pull in an average of $94,000 annually. Many of them work in the capacity of a cybersecurity engineer, penetration tester, or security engineer.
Do You Want to Tackle the ECSA?
The best way to get your ECSA career off the ground is to gain as much certification in relevant fields as you can. ACTEcan help you with its CISSP Certification course, considered the gold standard in the field of information security. This CISSP training aligns with (ISC)² CBK 2018 requirements and trains you to become an information assurance professional who defines all aspects of IT security, including architecture, design, management, and controls. Most IT security positions require or prefer a CISSP certification.
Also, ACTE offers CISM Certification Training to help you build your skill set. This course is an essential certification for information security professionals who manage, design, oversee, and assess enterprise information security. This CISM course, closely aligned with ISACA best practices, enables you to define and design enterprise security architecture, achieve IT compliance and governance, deliver reliable service to customers, and understand how IT security systems can contribute to broader business goals and objectives.
With certifications like these under your belt, you will be better equipped to take that ECSA course and, subsequently, pass the ECSA exam and become a certified professional. From there, you can get started on a cybersecurity career or keep on the learning track and shoot for LPT certification.
Whatever your choice is, remember that cybersecurity is a hot topic, and the demand for qualified professionals is increasing, especially amid rising fears of cybercrime. If your dream job is in cybersecurity, you will find many organizations eager to make those dreams come true.
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