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Which Would Be the Better Certification: OSCP, CEH, or CISSP?

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Offensive Security Certified Professional

Introduction to Information Security

Information Security is all about protecting information and information systems from unauthorized access, disclosure, usage or modification. Information Security ensures the Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability of information. If an organization lacks security policies and appropriate security rules, its confidential information and data will be unsecure hence, putting the organization at a great risk. An organization having well-defined security control policies and procedures helps in protecting the assets of that organization from unauthorized access and disclosures. For protecting an organization from any disclosure and modification, it needs an expert. These certifications validates the skills of security professionals in their respective domains.

CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker)

A Certified Ethical Hacker is a professional certificate, which validates the professional having knowledge and understanding how to find out the vulnerabilities and weaknesses in targeted systems. A Certified Ethical Hacker certification trains the security professionals to penetrate the system using exploitation tools and to think just like a malicious hacker. This manner to assess the security posture of a target system is completely legitimate and lawful. Individuals in the specific information security domain are trained by CEH credential certificates from a vendor-neutral side. It also covers some of the topics from the CISSP and many of the tools and techniques of penetration testing. However, it is far behind or not as in-depth as compared to the OSCP. CEH is an entry-level certification that only requires good knowledge at networking. An individual is able to have CCNA and CCNA Security before starting with CEH.

Scopes and Limitations of Ethical Hacking

Ethical Hacking is an important and crucial component of risk assessment, auditing, and countering frauds. Ethical hacking is widely used as penetration testing to identify vulnerabilities and risk, and highlight loopholes to take preventive actions against attacks. However, there are also some limitations of ethical hacking. In some cases, ethical hacking is not enough to resolve the issue. For example, an organization must first figure out what it is looking for before hiring an external pen-tester. It helps in achieving goals and saving time, then the testing team troubleshoots the actual problem and resolves the issues. The ethical hacker also helps to understand the security system of an organization better. It is up to the organization to take the actions recommended by the pen-tester and enforce security policies over the system and network.

CISSP (Certified Information Security Systems Professionals)

The CISSP is a very broad and high-level certificate and sometimes considered to be far better than CEH and OSCP. It is one of the world’s premier cyber security certification.  It has many advantages over the CEH and OSCP but penetration testing / hacking is NOT the primarily focus of the certification.

ISC2 is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1988 but started operating in 1989. Information security standards throughout the globe are defined by this organization.

CISSP certificates are awarded by the ISC2. For configuring and managing best in a cyber security program class, this certification provides the detailed knowledge. CISSP course is designed to test the abilities of any cyber security individual.

CISSP is the best certification one can get in cybersecurity since this certification is amongst the very demanding qualifications, which are recognized worldwide.  CISSP demand has grown in the last two decades as per survey report 2014, by ISC2. ISC2 has awarded CISSP certificates to candidates from over 149 countries around the world.


CISSP certified professionals are preferably hired to lead the organization in order to guarantee the highest data security level. Many of the jobs demand CISSP certification as one of the compulsory requirements. CISSP certified professional are also hired by organizations like banks that need a to ensure the security of their data from being hacked. CISSP is demanded as a mandatory requirement by even NSA in the US for job eligibility.

A three hours CAT exam (100 – 150 English) with at least 70% marks has to be cleared so as to get entitled to ISC2 confirmation process. A non-English CAT exam (100 – 250) with the duration up to six hours can also be taken. These are basically the endorsement process and after enrolling to the process, these professionals become members of the ISC2 community and are qualified for the CISSP certification, where benefits of accessing the resources within the community can also be taken.

Advantages of CISSP

  1. The certification is counted as qualifying for the highest level of IT certification when working with the US federal government. Federal IT certification has three levels; these are the A+ being considered Tier 1 and the CISSP being Tier 3.
  2. When compared to CEH or OSCP, it covers a much wider range of topics. It covers, Incident Analysis, Incident Handling, Penetration Testing Business Continuity, Asset Security, Risk Management, Security in Software Development, Security Operations, Identity and Access Management.
  3. It is perhaps one of the most significant and well respected certification for people looking to work with the IT security management.

CISSP Domains

The abilities of cybersecurity professionals are tested by the CISSP certification in eight domains, which are:

  1. Risk and Security Management
  2. Security Assessment
  3. Engineering and Security Architecture
  4. Network Security and Communication
  5. Access Management and Identity
  6. Testing and Security Assessment
  7. Operations for the Security
  8. Security of Software Development

Goal Oriented Career 

Without having any plan of becoming a CISSP certified professional, working in the cyber security field has no sense. Any individual in the cyber security industry should immediately start preparing for this high in demand certification as this certification will definitely enhance their skill sets and will also change their whole career by unlocking new opportunities to grab. The preparation is very easy for someone who is passionate and dedicated to succeed.

OSCP (Offensive Security Certified Professional)

OSCP, like CEH, also focuses on the penetration testing or hacking. It is a focused and useful certification and has become the standard for penetration testing in the security domain. Existing vulnerabilities are identified and organized attacks are executed by OSCP.

The penetration testing with Kali Linux training course must be completed first to take the OSCP certification. Identification and exploitation of a wide array of operating systems is learnt in a vast online VPN lab network.

OSCP is a very hands-on exam, which consists of two parts: a nearly 24-hour pen testing exam, and a documentation report due 24 hours after it. Before you can take the OSCP exam, you are required to take the Penetration Testing with Kali (PWK) course.

In a Nutshell and Recommendations

Anyone looking to take Pen-Testing as a career, the OSCP should be the number 1 choice while anyone willing to persue a career in Cybersecurity must have the CISSP as their target to be achieved. Certification is basically to compliment one’s skills and experience. However, they will of little value for someone who has no experience in this field. Below is the table defining recommendations for the certification with minimal experience.

 Certification Experience
CEH Recommended for beginners
OSCP Requires prior knowledge from CEH with less than 5 years’ experience
CISSP Requires 5 or more years’ experience

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