Although the CISSP from ISC2 and the CISSO from Mile2 are distinct IT certifications they share some important characteristics. What’s the main difference between the two? The CISSP requires 5-years of experience, while the C)ISSO was designed to provide a more hands-on knowledge base.
It’s interesting to note that both of these IT certification exams were written by the same author and designed to provide authentication of similar skill sets.
Written by Kevin Henry, both certifications were designed to provide foundational cyber security knowledge to candidates and cover similar content. The main difference between the two certifications is how they address the practical application of the knowledge that they deliver.
Both certifications cover cyber security theory, but in the case of the C)ISSO additional emphasis has been placed on the practical application of the theoretical principles described. Mile2 designed the C)ISSO for cyber security professionals who manage or are key players in their organization’s information security department, and the C)ISSO covers a broad range of actual implementation of these industry best practices, as well as the knowledge and skills expected of a security leader.
C)ISSO and CISSP Cover The Same 8 Domains
The C)ISSO is very similar to ISC2’S CISSP in a couple ways. It covers all 8 of the CISSP’s domains, and it has very similar exam questions. As mentioned previously both certification exams were authored by the same individual and with created for similar target audiences and to substantiate similar skills and competencies.
When comparing the two certifications in terms of actual content and knowledge digestibility, the C)ISSO may be easier to learn as it takes the in-depth curriculum of the CISSP’s 8 modules and breaks them down further into 19 distinct modules. This was done specifically by Mile2 in order to make their C)ISSO material easier to learn and more attractive to certification seekers. In fact, Mile2 has made the following statement regarding the design of their C)ISSO certification:
It’s been proven that learning is increased when a subject is broken down into bite sizes rather than being served as an 80 lb. hamburger.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the two certifications is their experience requirements. While the CISSP from ISC2 requires candidates to have at least 5 years of experience to sit for the exam, there is no such requirement for Mile2’s C)ISSO.
The examination requirements for the two certifications are also a little different, again slightly favoring the C)ISSO in terms of price and accessibility. The C)ISSO is 2-hours long and contains 100 questions, while the CISSP will require 4-hours to complete and contains 200 questions. The Mile2 exam can be taken online at the official Mile2 MACS testing system anytime the candidate is ready, while the CISSP will need to be scheduled at an authorized ISC2 testing center. Additionally, the C)ISSO exam is open book, has a higher passing percentage than the CISSP, and costs $400 compared to $595 for the CISSP.
Either one of these certifications can provide a boost to a candidates employment and earning potential.
Advantages of the ISC2 CISSP:
- Well known and respected security certification
- Lots of available resources online
- Positions that require CISSP certification are usually well paid
Advantages of the Mile2 C)ISSO:
- No experience requirement to sit for the exam
- Cheaper certification that can be taken online
- Similar name-recognition and professional credibility
Which one is best? That question is impossible to answer as each candidate will have specifics that can make one certification more attractive than the other. Each person should base their IT certification choices on their own particular experience, their business, and their professional goals. Both will provide an advantage to those who are not certified.
Candidates who are new to IT security and do not meet the experience requirements necessary for the CISSP may want to go ahead and get certified via the Mile2 C)ISSO, and then add on the CISSP or a more advanced certification at a later date. Those who already have the experience and do not mind scheduling a certification exam may opt for the CISSP as it automatically lets potential employers know that the holder has at least five years of experience (potentially 4 with a 4-year degree) and has invested the time and personal resources to become certified.
Whatever your choice, a high-quality training program designed for either certification can greatly speed-up and enhance the learning experience.