Saturday, 17 August 2019

SSCP vs. CISSP Exams: How are they different?

You’re considering a cybersecurity certification and the SSCP and CISSP are both on your list. After comparing the material, you’re thinking there’s a good bit of overlap between the two. But is there, really? And if you sit for one exam would you be able to sit for the other without additional study or preparation?

SSCP Certifications, CISSP Certifications, ISC2 Online Exam, ISC2 Tutorial and Materials

These are excellent questions. In fact, we hear them a lot. And the reality is, there ARE commonalities, which is true for most things in the field. However, these two certifications are wholly different and were developed from two distinct perspectives.

In many ways, the CISSP certification holder would find the SSCP exam more difficult, as it’s focused on technical application. Although considered “entry level,” the SSCP is designed for the technical practitioner. It covers how to incorporate, build, design and apply security to technology.

Alternatively, the CISSP was designed with leaders in mind. It emphasizes how to build a program and apply concepts of security to the business. Also, the frame of reference for each certification is poles apart. SSCP tends to focus on technical application, and CISSP on the business alignment of that application.

SSCP Certifications, CISSP Certifications, ISC2 Online Exam, ISC2 Tutorial and Materials
Another important point to consider is depth and breadth: SSCP has more depth; CISSP has more breadth. (ISC)2 members who hold both credentials say each opens doors and benefits them professionally. Many pursue the SSCP first as they work toward getting managerial experience needed to obtain the CISSP.

To qualify for the SSCP, candidates must have at least a year of cumulative, paid, full-time work experience in one of the seven domains. For the CISSP, candidates must have at least five years of cumulative, paid, full-time work experience in two of the certification’s eight domains.


SSCP Domains CISSP Domains
Access Controls Security Risk Management
Security Operations and Administration  Asset Security 
Risk Identification, Monitoring and Analysis  Security Architecture and Engineering 
Incident Response and Recovery  Communication and Network Security 
Cryptography  Identity and Access Management 
Network and Communications Security  Security Assessment and Testing 
Systems and Application Security  Security Operations
Software Development Security 

Exam Comparison

Certification SSCP  CISSP 
Number of Items  125  100-150
Maximum Time Allowed  3 hours  3 hours 
Passing Score (out of 100)  700 700 
Available Formats  English, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese  English, French, German, Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Korean* 

*Format also available to accommodate visual impairment.

For a deeper dive into each certification, download the latest (ISC)² Ultimate Guides to the SSCP or CISSP. 

For a quick knowledge check, take the (ISC)² Practice Quizzes on CISSP or SSCP.

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