How to Become a Network Security Architect
Smartphone, laptop, tablet are practically an extension of ourselves. We all have set up, a finger print lock or pattern lock on the mobile, a Username & Password to login to our Gmail account, provided our phone number as the alternate back up, to verify our identity, just in case we forget our password…what are these?
These are nothing but examples of setting up policies and practices to protect and secure our devices. A mechanism to prevent anyone unknown from being able to access our devices or the data & information stored on our devices.
Similarly organizations spread across locations provide access to their employees from remote locations via high speed networks. Companies store a huge amount of data & information related to employees, customers, and third parties. How do they safeguard the networks and shield the data and information from unauthorized access or malicious activities? The answer is, with a team of highly skilled Network Security Architects
Who is a Network Security Architect? What exactly does a Network security architect do to protect the networks? What are their roles & responsibilities? What knowledge & skills does one require to become a Network Security Architect? How to become a Network Security Architect? We will cover all these aspects in this article.
Who is a Network Security Architect?
A Network Security Architect is the person responsible for securing the network and preventing unauthorized access to the network & data of an organization with an objective to ward off any threats or malicious activities.
Network Security Architect sets up policies and practices to protect the integrity of the network, establishes multiple layers of defenses and authentication to ensure only the authorized users gain access to the network.
To summarize, a Network Security Architect designs, builds, tests and implements network security systems within the IT network of the company.
What are the roles & responsibilities of a Network Security Architect?
The role of a security architect starts with assessing the current network security systems, involves identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the system, and implementing measures to fortify network security. Their responsibilities include but are not limited to:
- Conduct penetration tests, risk analyses, and ethical hacks on local area networks, wide area networks, and virtual private networks.
- Assess the effectiveness and efficiency of routers, firewalls, and similar security systems.
- Check for any vulnerabilities in the hardware or software systems.
- Design and implement network security architectures for organization specific needs while following industry best practices.
- In case of a security breach, architects have to determine the causes, extent of damage, and ensure a quick recovery to return to normalcy.
- After the event, they have to revamp security measures to prevent future attacks.
What kind of knowledge & Skills required to become a Network Security Architect?
On the academic front, you should have a Bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, or related field. You should have about 3-5 years of hard core professional experience in the Network Security Domain.
A Network Security Architect has to anticipate each and every possible option that hackers may try to gain entry into the systems of an organization. They have to be extremely vigilant and capable of designing a robust and scalable network security system with multiple layers of defenses and authentication to shield the data & information from falling into the wrong hands.
Naturally, to become a Network Security Architect, you are expected to have a good understanding of complex networks and IT systems, network hardware configuration, network protocols, networking standards, network & information security policies.
Particularly, you should be well versed with and have hands-on experience of implementing the various types of Network Security such as : Firewalls, Email security, Anti-virus and anti-malware software, Network segmentation, Access control, Application security, Behavioral analytics, Data loss prevention, Intrusion prevention systems, Mobile device security, Security information and event management, Virtual Private Networks, Web security, Wireless security and so on.
Network Security Architect Career Potential & Average Salary
As per a report published on Markets & Markets: The global network security software market size is expected grow from USD 13.5 billion in 2019 to USD 22.8 billion by 2024, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11.0% during the forecast period.
Considering the growth potential in the Network Security Software market, logically, the demand for skilled Network Security Professionals will be high. It therefore presents a great opportunity for professionals who wish to pursue a career in the Network Security Domain.
The Salary of Network Security Architect depends on a number of factors such as Education, Certification, No. of years of Experience, Additional Skills etc.. As per Salary.com, the average salary of Network Security Architect in US ranges from $108,000 to $139,000
How to become a Network Security Architect?
If you are serious about becoming a Network Security Architect, we recommend enrolling in a professional course that equips you with the knowledge and hands-on expertise to design, build, test and implement network security.
I-Medita conducts the Network Security Architect Certification Training Courses for Networking professionals. We provide in-depth knowledge about network security architectures, best practices how to architect and deploy robust and scalable network security solutions. We provide you the opportunity to work on Real Time industry Projects to gain proficiency in designing, planning & implementing network security.
Professional Training, Hands-on Professional Experience and Professional Certifications are the pathways to become a Network Security Architect.
Benefits / Importance of Certifications
Having a Professional Network Security Certification under your belt, endorses your knowledge and skills and provides you a distinct edge over the competitors when it comes to job prospects. Certifications enhances chances of obtaining higher salary and quicker promotion and boosts your career growth.
Let us now look at the prominent Network Security Certifications recognized worldwide.
- CCNP Security : Cisco Certified Network Professional Security
- CCIE Security : Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert Security
- Checkpoint CCSA, CCSE CCSM Certifications
- Palo Alto : PCNSE
- CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker
- CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional
- AWS Certified Security : Specialty
- Juniper Networks Certified : Internet Specialist, Security (JNCIS-SEC)
- Fortinet Network Security Expert (NSE 8)
- CompTIA Security+
1. CCNP Security : Cisco Certified Network Professional Security
- CCNP Security Certification comprises of 2 Exams. A core exam, A concentration exam of your choice.
- Core exam : Implementing & Operating Cisco Security Core Technologies v1.0 (350-701 SCOR), endorses your knowledge of security infrastructure including network security, cloud security, content security, endpoint protection and detection, secure network access, visibility, and enforcements.
- Concentration exams focus on emerging and industry-specific topics such as Cisco Firepower, identity services, email security, web security, VPNs, and automation. You must pass one of the following concentration exams:
- Securing Networks with Cisco Firepower (300-710 SNCF)
- Implementing and Configuring Cisco Identity Services Engine (300-715 SISE)
- Securing Email with Cisco Email Security Appliance (300-720 SESA)
- Securing the Web with Cisco Web Security Appliance (300-725 SWSA)
- Implementing Secure Solutions with Virtual Private Networks (300-730 SVPN)
- Automating and Programming Cisco Security Solutions (300-735 SAUTO)
2. CCIE Security – Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert Security
CCIE Security : CCIE Security is the highest level of Security Certification provided by Cisco and carries huge significance worldwide. To achieve CCIE Certification, you have to pass 2 exams.
Step 1: Written qualifying exam : Implementing and Operating Cisco Security Core Technologies (SCOR 350-701)
This exam validates, your knowledge of security infrastructure, network security, cloud security, content security, endpoint protection, secure network access, visibility and enforcements.
Step 2: Lab exam : CCIE Security v6.0
This 8-hour hands-on lab exam examines your skills & expertise right from designing and deploying to operating and optimizing Cisco security solutions.
3. Checkpoint CCSA, CCSE CCSM Certifications
Check Point Certified Admin (CCSA) R80.x.
CCSA authorizes your knowledge to start-up, configure and manage daily operations of Check Point Security Gateway and Management Software Blades systems on the GAiA operating system.
Check Point Certified Expert (CCSE)
CCSE endorses your knowledge to build, modify, deploy and troubleshoot Check Point Security Systems on the GAiA operating system. It tests your practical skills in debugging firewall processes, optimizing VPN performance and upgrading Management Servers. Please achieve CCSA certification (R80) before attempting CCSE certification.
Check Point Certified Master (CCSM)
Achieving a CCSM Certification proves the ability to perform advanced troubleshooting and manage virtualized security in high-end networks and advanced security optimization techniques.
It tests your knowledge about advanced database management, kernel mode & user mode troubleshooting, advanced network address translation, VPN troubleshooting, threat prevention policies, clustering, deploying IPv6.
Get more information here : https://training-certifications.checkpoint.com/#/
4. Palo Alto Networks Certified Network Security Engineer (PCNSE)
The PCNSE certification validates professionals knowledge to design, install, configure, maintain, and troubleshoot Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation Firewalls and knowledge of the Palo Alto Networks product portfolio.
Get more information here : https://www.paloaltonetworks.com/services/education/certification
5. CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker
EC Council is a premier organization that provides the Certified Ethical Hacker Certification. An Ethical Hacker enables companies to identify any loopholes / vulnerabilities in the security systems. This certification tests the hackers skills in Information Security Threats and Attack Vectors, Attack Detection, Attack Prevention, Procedures, Methodologies.
Get more information here : https://www.eccouncil.org/programs/certified-ethical-hacker-ceh/
6. CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional
The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is one of the most prestigious security certifications conferred by (ISC)², the World’s Leading Cyber Security Professional Organization.
(ISC)²recommends that security professionals must have a minimum of five years full-time work experience, specializing in two or more of 8 security domains mentioned in the Common book of knowledge which are:
- Security and Risk Management
- Asset Security
- Security Architecture and Engineering
- Communication and Network Security
- Identity and Access Management (IAM)
- Security Assessment and Testing
- Security Operations
- Software Development Security:
CISSP endorses the candidates’ technical & and managerial skills, knowledge and experience to design, engineer, and manage overall security of the company and their competence in security domains.
Get more information here : https://www.isc2.org/Certifications/CISSP
7. AWS Certified Security – Specialty
AWS certification requires you to be well versed with designing & implementing solutions in IT security domain for at least 5 years. You should minimum 2 years experience securing AWS workloads. AWS Certified Security – Specialty (SCS-C01) certification endorses your understanding of specialized data classification, data protection, data encryption, internet protocols and AWS mechanisms to implement them for effectively securing AWS Platform.
Get more information here : https://aws.amazon.com/certification/certified-security-specialty/
8. Juniper Networks Certified Internet Specialist, Security (JNCIS-SEC)
Juniper Networks certification for professionals experienced in using Juniper Networks Junos OS for SRX Series devices. It authenticates understanding of Application Security, Advanced Security Policies, Advanced Threat Prevention, High Availability Clustering, Virtual SRX or cSRX, Juniper Identity Management Services, SSL Proxy, Juniper Secure Analytics (JSA)
Get more information here : https://www.juniper.net/us/en/training/certification/certification-tracks/junos-security-track?tab=jncisec
9. Fortinet Network Security Expert (NSE 8)
The NSE 8 Fortinet Network Security Expert Certification endorses your knowledge of network security design, configuration, troubleshooting complex networks. It comprises of a written exam and a practical exam, and you must pass both exams to obtain Fortinet NSE 8 certification.
- Fortinet NSE 8 Written Exam includes questions regarding design scenarios, configuration extracts, troubleshooting scenarios to test your knowledge and experience about security networking and Fortinet solutions.
- Fortinet NSE 8 Practical Exam : 2 days hands-on exam that involves configuring and validating a complete network topology involving multiple Fortinet products.
Kindly note: NSE 8 practical exam will not be scheduled till end of 2020 due to COVID-19.
Get more information here : https://training.fortinet.com/local/staticpage/view.php?page=nse_8
10. CompTIA Security+
CompTIA Security+ is a global certification that focuses on latest techniques in risk management, risk mitigation, threat management and intrusion detection. It tests your knowledge of identifying and understanding vulnerability regarding threats, attacks. Your ability to architect & design secure frameworks, configure and implement identity and access controls. You knowledge of technologies and tools to support network architecture, cryptography concepts, algorithms. Your skills in applying security policies & processes to for risk management.
Get more information here : https://www.comptia.org/certifications/security
Role of a Network Security Architect has tremendous significance, now even more so, thanks to the rapid digitalization and need for remote working. It is very satisfying and lucrative career option. Best Wishes for journey to becoming a Network Solution Architect.