I kind of like Daniel Miessler’s writing and think he has some good posts, but he totally misses the point of the CISSP when he complains about CISSPs who can’t program a home network. The CISSP isn’t aimed at testing someone’s ability to program their Linksys router, it’s aimed at testing someone’s ability to think about the philosophy of security.
Ok, here’s the thing: part of the CISSP is technical. They cover everything from trojans to encryption algorithms to covert channels. It’s just an overview, but it’s part of the CBK for a reason.
If the fundamental networking knowledge required to configure a Linksys router isn’t within a candidate’s grasp, then they shouldn’t be discussing security philosophy with anyone. As Martin points out, this is a management certification. Don’t we already have enough managers who learn big buzzwords like risk management and don’t know even the fundamentals of that which they are trying to protect?
Why do you think they teach generals how to fight and require them to move up the ranks before letting them command large armies? It’s because that knowledge of the lower-level capabilities is what offers the foundation for making sound decisions at the higher levels.
Think about the decisions that security managers are supposed to be making — how to implement a DMZ, host IPS vs. network IPS, DLP?, NAC?, how to publish information in a secure fashion within an extranet. Can one effectively make these decisions without basic networking knowledge? One can say, “secure that”, but if you don’t have any knowledge of what it entails then you’re not adding any value to the organization.
Quite simply, managers who don’t know the basics are dangerous. They have all the power and none of the knowledge. This combination leads to frustrated employees, poor policy making and negative outcomes for their organization.: