Top Network Security Certifications and How to Choose the Right One for You

Network security is an organization’s first line of defense against hackers and other cyber threats. However, just like there are many different forms of cyberattack, there is a vast number of varying cybersecurity certifications to choose from.

Although having so many choices is arguably a good thing, the sheer number and variety also pose a challenge. What are the best network security certifications? Which one(s) are right for you and your organization? Are any of them universally applicable?

Today, we are going to shine the spotlight on network security certifications, including what they are, why they are necessary, how to choose the right one, network security training courses, and related employment facts. But before we get to the certifications, let’s review the fundamentals of network security.

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What is Network Security?

Many experts define network security as the practice of taking protective measures for protecting network infrastructure from trespassing, illegal access, modification, abuse, change, destruction, or the unauthorized gathering and release of data. The full process requires a combination of hardware devices, security software, and user awareness of security procedures and techniques.

The latter element can range from employees briefed on proper security practices to professionals who have taken network security training.

Why is Network Security Needed?

So many aspects of our lives have migrated to the digital world. We use the internet to conduct financial transactions, communicate with family and colleagues, make purchases, seek entertainment, and engage in research. So much of our personal information resides online, everything from birthdates to Social Security or other identification numbers, to health history, credit history, criminal records, among other things.

All that data, all those transactions, are vulnerable to hackers and cybercriminals. The more of our lives we commit to the internet, the higher the risk of compromise. Moreover, the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) means even more reliance on wireless networks, which only increases the threat landscape. There is too much at stake in our personal and commercial lives to let network security slip. So, what kind of network security is out there?

Network Security - Infographic

What are the Types of Network Security?

There is a whole arsenal of network security tools and types available for the cybersecurity professional. Here’s a high-level overview:

  • Software

    The software resource includes anti-virus, anti-malware, and anti-spyware. These tools are available as suites or as subscriptions, updated continuously to keep up with the latest threats. These applications monitor your network, blocking intruders, malware, and viruses.
  • Password Protection

    Such a simple measure, but extremely important. Strong passwords are an inexpensive yet effective way of keeping systems, applications, and networks safe. Note that we said “strong” passwords, not ones like “password” or “99999”.
  • Firewalls

    If you picture your network as an exclusive nightclub, then the firewall would be the bouncer, working the door and keeping out undesirables. They filter traffic (incoming and outgoing), based on predetermined policies, preventing unauthorized users from coming in.
  • Email Security Software

    Email is a very vulnerable point in any network. To that end, email security software can not only filter out incoming threats, but it can also even prevent certain kinds of data from being transmitted out.
  • Segmented Networks

    This process sorts and divides traffic based on specific established criteria. Segmented networks are especially useful for limiting users to just one area, the one they need to do their work while keeping them out of the data that’s outside of their wheelhouse. Restricting users like this helps decrease the overall network’s weak spots.

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Network Security Jobs and Salaries

With the rise in cybercrime, there is an unsurprising corresponding increase in demand for network security professionals. Not only do opportunities abound, but the compensation is generous. Here’s a sample of popular cybersecurity careers and salaries, according to mondo :

  • Information Security Manager: $125,000 to $215,000
  • Cybersecurity Engineer: $120,000 to $200,000
  • Application Security Engineer: $120,000 to $180,000
  • Cybersecurity Analyst: $90,000 to $160,000
  • Penetration Tester: $80,000 to $130,000
  • Network Security Engineer: $125,000 to $185,000

Which are the Best Network Security Certifications?

Before you can make big bucks in the network security field, you need to learn the tools and skills. That’s where network security training comes in. Network security certification courses not only give you the essential knowledge for these positions, but they also give you that valuable certificate that shows prospective employers that you have the required qualifications.

Let’s dig into some of the major certifications.

  • CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker

    Also known as “white hat hackers,” these are IT security professionals whose job it is to try and penetrate systems and find vulnerabilities. Businesses and organizations hire them to find weaknesses in the system and figure out how to fix them. When you consider how important cybersecurity has become, it’s unsurprising that this certification is sought-after.
  • CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional

    This certification is for experienced security professionals who are responsible for the development and management of their organization’s security procedures, policies, and standards. It is perfect for IT security professionals who want to take their careers to the next level.
  • CISM: Certified Information Security Manager

    This certification is a critical resource for IT professionals who have enterprise-level security management responsibilities. They manage, develop, and oversee security systems and develop organizational best practices.
  • CCSP: Certified Cloud Security Professional

    Because the cloud has become ubiquitous, this certification is very high in demand. The course focuses on IS and IT professionals who apply best practices to cloud security architecture, design, operations, and service orchestration. If you work with cloud platforms, this is a must.
  • CISA: Certified Information Systems Auditor

    This certification target IS professionals who focus primarily on audit control, assurance, and security.
  • COBIT 5 Certification Training

    IT auditors, developers, managers, and leadership benefit the most from this certification. COBIT 5 maximizes the value of information by incorporating the latest thoughts and theories on enterprise governance. The certification covers management techniques and provides globally accepted principles, practices, and analytical tools and models, all designed to help increase the organization’s and individual’s trust in information systems, as well as in their value.
  • CompTIA+ Security+

    This certification provides knowledge and training in cryptography, threat management, identity management, network access control, security systems, risk identification, and mitigation. It’s geared toward entry-level IT people.

Which certifications you choose depend on where you are in your career, and the ideal list will be different for each person. For instance, the last two certifications are best suited for entry-level IT professionals, while offerings such as CISM and CISSP are for more experienced security experts.

For the IT professional who wants to be a well-rounded individual, there’s no better way than to gain certification in all the above gradually. Even the best, most experienced cybersecurity professional can benefit from some upskilling. Doing so not only improves your standing within your organization, but it also makes you a more marketable choice if you decide to find a new position elsewhere. Upskilling brings expertise, leverage, and freedom.

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Presenting a Great Path to Network Security Certification

If all this information about network security has inspired you to pursue a better career in the field, then Simplilearn can help you on your way. The CompTIA Security+ Certification - SY0-501 Exam Training course is a globally trusted certification that validates foundational, vendor-neutral IT security knowledge and skills. As a benchmark for best practices in IT security, this certification training covers the essential principles of network security and risk management.

Whether you choose the Blended Learning or corporate training option, the course includes 32 hours of instructor-led learning, covering the half-dozen domains that are essential for becoming an IT security professional. You also get an exam voucher and a course completion certificate.

So, visit Simplilearn today, and master all the nuances of network security. The training you get will be a valuable commodity in today’s rapidly growing digital world!

About the Author


Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

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