IT Certifications Overview – CSSA

Introduction

Industrial technology is one of the best paying career fields in the country. The person who works in the field uses technology to improve the production levels of a company, reducing the time spent on each operation and increasing revenue. There are many types of IT certifications—in this article we will deal exclusively with one of them: the CSSA (Certified SonicWall Security Administrator).

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Certificates: Information Security, Information Systems Management, Wireless Communications
Master's: Master's-Information Systems Management, Master's-Network and Communications Management
Accreditation: HLC - NCACS
Associates: Information Technology
Bachelor's: Computer Forensics, Network Management, Systems Security
Accreditation: ACICS

What a CSSA does

From 1991 to 2012, when it was acquired by the Dell company, SonicWall sold Internet appliances for protecting computers against malware, spyware, viruses and other online threats, as well as solutions for issues regarding compliance with PCI (payment card industry). The person with a CSSA helps client companies with their security issues and tries to find ways to prevent them from becoming an issue in the first place.

Many jobs can be obtained with a CSSA certificate. You can choose, for instance, to become a senior systems engineer. In this position you help the project managers and other members of your team to define tasks in such a way as to ensure that they are carried out to completion; take part in technical discussions; and identify new sources of income for your business.

Why get a CSSA certificate?

A certificate, it should be noted, is quite different from a license, which can be granted only by a government agency and is the only way to perform certain jobs legally. It is granted instead by a private body, and while it is not illegal to do the designated work without one, it is nonetheless a good thing to have, as the person holding it can show it to any prospective employer during an interview to prove that he has the skills necessary to perform the tasks that the position requires.

How to receive a CSSA certificate

As with all IT certificates, you must pass an examination in order to receive one. You can register online for the Network Security Basic Administration Training course at this website. When you complete the course, your instructor will give you an access key. Classes are held in many major cities throughout the United States and Canada, and in Mannheim, Germany.

Dell provides both instructor-led and eLearning courses, each of which teaches the fundamentals of security technology. Dell recommends very strongly that both kinds be taken in preparation for the certificate exams. The student may take the eLearning courses at his own pace.

In addition, there is SonicWall’s Authorized Training Partners program that delivers educational programs designed to meet the student’s own needs and preferences. There are three such partners in North America—Braxton-Grant Technologies Inc., Global Knowledge and VPN Dynamics—and others throughout the world.

Sample of CSSA certification courses

Some of the eLearning courses that need to be completed for a CSSA certificate include the following:

  • SonicWALL Email Security (SES) Overview—covers current trends in email security and protection against threats that emanate therefrom
  • Understanding eMail Security Threats & Countermeasures—teaches how to manage inbound and outbound threats and make connection lists; also covers the “tools of the trade” commonly used by hackers
  • SES Network Design Consideration—group management, scalability, architecture, solution selection, whether to use appliances or software
  • SES Administration & Operations—backup and restore options; CLI (command-line interface) commands and scripting; how to restore email security if it goes down; putting up anti-phishing and anti-spam reports; disk space management

There are additional classes on advanced SES concepts such as black lists, DNS SPF and Bayesian filters.

Higher-level certificates

The person who has passed the CSSA test and found gainful employment in the field may not be content to “rest on their laurels.” They may instead wish to move up to an even higher level where the pay is even better. Two such certificate levels exist—the Master CSSA and the CSSA Professional (CCSP). Only those who have received their CSSA certificates may take the exams for these higher ones.

The need for persons with a CSSA certificate is very great. Email security has become one of the biggest investments that companies and even private individuals are making. The nature of spam itself has changed quite drastically since the early days of the Web: Back then, most hackers were lone operators seeking attention, but many hackers are now seeking economic gain and operate in groups. In a very real way, hacking is becoming a form of organized crime.

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