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Microsoft certifications and the CISSP exam

Will any of the Microsoft certifications help prepare me for the CISSP exam?

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Short answer -- no. It's a whole different mind set. Microsoft (MS) exams, and in turn the study materials, are obviously vendor specific. The CISSP exam is vendor neutral, and thus looks at the security landscape with a wider focus from multiple vantage points. So while the MS exams will go through the details of how to setup MS products in a more secure manner, they have a heavy bias towards the MS way of doing things... and rightfully so. Cisco and Check Point exams are the same way. So, will the MS exams help you? Yes. Will they prepare you for the CISSP exam? No. That being said, if you are in charge of security for an MS shop in the real world and I'm your boss, your having the broad knowledge of the security concepts in the CISSP exam along with the details of maintaining an MS infrastructure in MCSE 2003: Security would make me much more comfortable.

On the flip side, the knowledge attained from the CISSP will open your eyes to a lot of topics. So when your MCSE instructor covers crypto in two sentences but spends half a day on building and maintaining PKI with MS technology, you won't be so lost.

This was first published in November 2006

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