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Archive for the ‘Certification’ Category

SourceFire & AMP showing up on CCNP: Security

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Looks like the SITCS Exam, that is part of the CCNP: Security exam is going from v1.0 to v1.5. SITCS is the exam oriented around ‘Implementing Cisco Threat Control Soluation’. Now, it only makes sense as the original version of this exam was more geared towards Cisco IPS & CX which has since been EoX’ed some time ago. If you have been studying for your CCNP: Security and are getting ready for SITCS v1.0 exam you still have time, Cisco kept the original exam available till December 31st of 2016 so you have until the end of year.

Cisco has published a dedicated PDF regarding the charges between the exams, which can be found here.

In a nutshell though:

  • EoX – Cisco IPS and CX software have been removed.
  • SourceFire & AMP Software has been added in as the replacement topics.
  • The exam code will be changed to 300-210 from 300-207

In my opinion, SourceFire documentation is still a little scarce even nowadays (Finding the proper version of User Agent on is still a bit of scavenger hunt) but hopefully this push for SourceFire knowledge will change that! (In the meantime I highly recommend checking out CiscLive365 and going through the available sessions, small collection here but it has not updated since Cisco Live 2016.)

As always, happy hunti…I mean studying!

Written by Stephen J. Occhiogrosso

September 22, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Wireshark Certified Network Analyst !!

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Well, I finally took the time to buckle down and take the WCNA – Wireshark Certified Network Analyst. Once I finished up with the exam I can happily say I successfully past the exam which I have to admit is pretty cool. Protocol Analysis is definitely an interesting set of technologies to learn & know, it is also extremely beneficial for troubleshooting certain types of issues.

How I studied:

Having a few years a packet analysis behind me certainly helped, however the Wireshark WCNA Books from Wireshark University are absolutely fantastic!

The network analysis book, while it is expensive is definitely worth it. To me, this book is to protocol analysis; is what Routing TCP/IP Vol I & II is to a CCIE: R/S candidate. It is a large book with great material, a book you can keep on your book shelf at an arms length for years and still use for reference. This book will also cover all the WCNA Exam Objectives, making it an important resource if you are studying for this exam. The other great piece I loved about this book was all the real world case studies, it’s one thing for a book to teach you topic but it’s completely differently for a book to show you how this knowledge is applied in the real world. At the end of each the chapter the book points you toward PCAPs to test your newly learned knowledge which are available for free off the Wireshark book website.

Once you finish with the Network Analysis book, this is where the Prep Guide comes in. I bought the prep guide the weekend before my exam and went through all the questions, using that book to judge where I stand with the objectives. I did pretty well with the Prep Guide, missing maybe 10% of all the 300 questions so I figured it was time to schedule the exam and took it later that week.

I also read through the Wireshark 101 book, which in my opinion is a good book for anyone just starting out with Wireshark or if you want to start customizing wireshark. Which I highly recommend, however if you already familiar with Wireshark I’d skip over this one.

There are also a few great YouTube channels out there, with some great Wireshark videos and even some Sharkfest videos.

Just because I finished the WCNA, does not mean I will stop posting my Wireshark Tid-Bits I’ve still got plenty more of those in store.

Written by Stephen J. Occhiogrosso

April 27, 2015 at 9:00 AM

CCNP Exam update coming soon.

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Looks like the Cisco Certification team has been busy lately, earlier this year the CCNP: Security track got an update and recently an update to the CCNP: Route/Switch was just announced. Before you get too worried if you are currently studying for the current exams, you have until January 2015 before the current exams get retired. So you still have plenty of time to study.

To highlight a few of the changes:

Route v2 300-101:

  • Much more IPv6 related topics.
  • The introduction of DMVPN
  • CEF Concepts
  • Various security technologies

Switch v2 300-115

  • Stackwise technologies
  • Removal of VoIP, Video, & Wireless topics
  • L2 Security technologies

TShoot v2 300-135

  • Mixture of the new Routev2 & Switchv2 Technologies.

Looks like the newer CCNP: Route/Switch objectives are really going to focus on routing & switching technologies and less on other networking technologies. These new objectives also line up closer with the new CCIEv5.

Now, I took the older CCNP exams (the old ONT, ISCW, BCMSN, BSCI) but it is interesting to see how these exams grow and evolve over time. I will definitely say I am surprised to see the removal of Wireless, Voice, & especially QoS from the CCNP: R/S exams. While I understand the CCNP: R/S should focus on well Routing & Switching, I also think it is important for engineers know of these other technologies especially QoS.

What do you guys think?

Written by Stephen J. Occhiogrosso

July 29, 2014 at 7:47 PM

CCNP: Security Finally!

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And the race is over, last week I passed the SECURE exam finishing off my CCNP: Security, barely 2 weeks before retirement. I feel bad for coming so close to the wire with this one. Considering I passed FIREWALL over a year ago and VPN sometime last year, however it has been a busy year. Now, that I have finally finished off CCNP: Security it’s time to get back to Data Center. Let’s see if I can finish off my CCNA/P: Data Center off this year to!

Written by Stephen J. Occhiogrosso

April 14, 2014 at 10:45 AM

CCNP: Security track update!

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Well, I managed to pass my VPN exam a few weeks ago meaning I got half my CCNP: Security since I passed FIREWALL sometime last year. So I started back on my IPS studies thinking life was all good, and then some friends on pointed out the fact the CCNP: Security track has a pending update!

It looks like the entire track is getting an overhaul! No more SECURE, IPS, FIREWALL, & VPN! Now we have:

SISAS – Implementing Cisco Secure Access Solutions

SITCS – Implementing Cisco Edge Network Security Solutions

SENSS – Implementing Cisco Security Mobility Solutions

SIMOS – Implementing Cisco Threat Control Solutions

(Honestly I think the site mixed up on some of those, SENSS looks like Edge Network Security Solutions to me, but we will see if Cisco updates the page)

They have also published a migration path for people that are currently going through the CCNP: Security track (Like I am)

SISAS <-> SECURE Replacement

SITCS  <-> IPS Replacement

SENSS <-> FIREWALL Replacement

SIMOS <-> VPN Replacement

Looks like the old exams are still available until April 21st, so you have three months to tackle the original exams.

You can find more about the new CCNP: Security track here.

Along with the change it looks like Cisco is going to be retiring the many security specialist titles that come with obtaining the CCNP: Security exam. You can find more information about that here.

2 Exams in three months (IPS & SECURE), the race is on for me! Wish me luck!

Written by Stephen J. Occhiogrosso

January 22, 2014 at 9:09 AM

CWNA Check!

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Well, I finally got around to taking a shot at the CWNA exam and ended up with some successful results! It feels like an eternity but over 2 years ago I took a stab at CWNP’s CWTS exam. If you remember from my assessment of the CWTS exam itself I was able to knock it out fairly easy with a passing score in the 90’s with an ending statement that I should have just skipped the CWTS and went straight for the CWNA. Well after passing the CWNA with a score again in the mid-90’s I still stand by that statement. However I’m sure the additional 2 years of experience since then provided me with a considerable handicap.

In regards to my study preparation for the CWNA, just like I did for the CWTS I used official CWNP CWNA Study Guide from Sybex, that and the 6 years of wireless experience I have. Just like the CWTS exam I found the CWNA to be very straight forward it did have a lot of good questions that made me do a bit thinking and the questions were much more detailed then what I remember dealing with on the CWTS exam. This time however a quick read the through the CWNA study guide was pretty much all I did. I did utilize one or two of the question pools that are available for purchase on CWNP’s website and the questions are great for exam preparation if there is anything I commend CWNP for it is for providing great study material for thier exams.

Now, I still consider the CWNA should be basic knowledge for any network administrator/engineer that has to work with an extensive WLAN. After all everyone knows wireless is a bit more complicated then just deploy access point and hope for the best, having an understanding of the 802.11 technologies is detrimental to a successful WLAN deployment in my own opinion. Now while CWNA doesn’t cover all the 802.11 protocols in great detail I think it is a great entry point at understanding the technologies from a high level. Now, i just hope the CWNP certification gain a bit more traction in the job and because just as well as the CCNA/CCNP certification.

Written by Stephen J. Occhiogrosso

August 23, 2013 at 6:23 AM

SolarWinds Certified Professional!

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Well, I just realized the SolarWinds certification test was available free of charge so the other day I decided to give it a shot, I figured it would be a nice small break from my CCIE studies. I never thought I would bother getting a certification for a management platform but considering I’ve been working with it for years, I figured why not.

Just to give you a brief overview of my experience with SolarWinds:

  • I’ve been working with SolarWinds hands-on for a least 5 years now.
  • I’ve done at least 3-4 installations from the ground-up. Not just install and hit next, planning out and designing the system to manage a few thousand nodes.
  • Deployed and managed various different SolarWinds modules, along with performing the upgrades – NPM, NCM, IPAM, NTA, APM/SAM, Fail Over Engine. (And if you have had to plan for an upgrade for an outdated  SolarWinds environment running more than 3 modules, it’s fun)
  • Created countless user accounts, custom dashboards, custom reports, customer pollers, views, limitations, and so forth.
  • Basically you name I’ve done it within SolarWinds. (Well not really considering how quickly SolarWinds expands their platform but you know what I mean)

Now to talk about the exam itself: (Note, I am going to give away  any details that can’t be found on SolarWinds’ own website)

  • Free of charge (for now).
  • It’s online, meaning you can take this from the comfort of your couch.
  • Around 80 or so questions. So it’s not that short.
  • Covers a wide array of topics from:
    • How to perform NPM tasks
    • What tools to utilize when troubleshooting
    • Some basic troubleshooting steps
    • and more.

Now, for my thoughts on the exam. All around the exam was not that bad, for as long as I have been a network engineer and as long as I have worked with SolarWinds there were a few questions that had me stumped, which honestly surprised me I didn’t think I was going to miss 10-12 questions so it just goes to show you, even though the test is about a management platform or the fact it is free it is not what I would call a push-over. Now don’t get me wrong there were some question and some answer choices that were just gimmes, but usually you can find a few of those on every test. Now since the test is online and you do not have to go into a testing center it is considered ‘open book’ meaning you can have the test open in one window and the admin guide open in another window, which may hurt the value of the exam. As far as myself I didn’t even bother putting forth the effort to read the admin guide (again), I figure if I couldn’t pass the exam with my SolarWinds experience either there is something wrong me or the exam.

Now I’d venture to say this exam is a good measure for those that have been doing network administration for at least 3 three years, with SolarWinds exposure, now whether or not this exam/credential gains popularity is another story. Just remember this is centered around managing/monitoring a network, not how to troubleshoot and diagnose SolarWinds application/DB/Web issues. I will say the whole niche of network management (all aspects) is usually the most overlooked functionality of many networking departments. I would not mind seeing that change, just as I would not mind seeing this SolarWinds test gain in popularity and become a test that requires you to sit in a testing to take. It will be interesting to see where SolarWinds takes their certification surely they have potential to expand it to their other modules and even a ‘design’ designation due to how the architecture can change when you start involving EoC and splitting up modules/roles but time will tell.

Written by Stephen J. Occhiogrosso

July 1, 2013 at 10:36 PM

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