Social Media Security Professional Certification Now in BetaThe Ultimate Knowledge Institute has teamed up with CompTIA’s exam development arm to create the Social Media Security Professional (SMSP) certification, to help organizations that use social media make sure they can protect sensitive or proprietary information, and stymie potential security breaches that can occur through improper or uninformed use of social media.
You know a technology phenomenon has passed a certain status and credibility threshold when it gets its own certification.
CompTIA is well-known for teaming up with other organizations to create certification exams -- such as, for example, the Storage+ Powered by SNIA, the Storage Networking Industry Association, which uses CompTIA as an outlet for exam content created in partnership with the leading trade organization in that IT technology niche. Recently, CompTIA has formed an exam and certification development company named Examplify as a wholly-owned subsidiary to stand this relationship on its head, and to help other organizations develop certifications for their product sets and technology niches.
Earlier this month, CompTIA used its IT Careers blog to announce a partnership between Examplify and the Ultimate Knowledge Institute, a California-based purveyor of information security training and certifications in the area of social media. In addition to the CompTIA-labeled Social Media Security Professional (SMSP) credential, UKI also offers Social Media Engineering and Forensics Professional (SMEFP) and Social Media Management & Governance Professional (SMMGP) certification credentials.
The subject matter for the exam deals with social media and related security standards, with the aim of helping organizations manage and mitigate potential security risks that social networking can pose, and to respond to related security incidents quickly and appropriately. The idea is to equip security professionals with the skills and knowledge necessary to participate in the development and administration of social media security policy, particularly as it regards the people who use social media to communicate with customers, vendors, and partners on a day-to-day basis.
The exam itself will present 65 questions in a 90-minute period, and covers social media theory and principles, technical composition and risks, along with social media security and incident response, plus related security management topics. I’m still waiting to get a detailed description of the common body of knowledge for this exam by e-mail, but expect it to be in keeping with the attention to detail and well-thought-out coverage of security tools and topics visible in the certification pages, press releases, and so forth.
UKI offers a two-day, $1,395 class to help candidates prepare for the SMSP, but they will permit candidates to challenge the exam without taking the class for those who might not wish to fork over the nearly $700 per seat/per day charges involved. This cost does, however, include a voucher for the SMSP exam, which will otherwise involve an as-yet unpublished cost.
My best guess is that this exam will cost somewhere between $149 (which is what UKI is charging for the beta version), and $250, which is a rounded-up value for what CompTIA charges for its single-exam credentials these days. Candidates who challenge the exam must provide proof of employment for at least one year in the field via an online certification application form (with contact information for a supervisor who can verify employment history, and a $50 application fee). The SMSP is a renewable credential with a two-year time window, where extensions may be obtained by providing information about continuing education in information security, or periodic re-examination.
I had to raise some questions about this offering, whatever the reaction to social media security certification might be (for the record: it’s an increasingly important part of organizational communications nowadays, and to my way of thinking demands the same level of attention as any other online form of “official presence” and public interaction). I’m always interested when a training company jumps into the certification game, and ties its training offerings to credentials that it also defines.
It’s surely a good sign that UKI was savvy enough to recognize that bringing CompTIA into their efforts should help to boost both credibility and visibility, but I had to assess the objectivity and standards-orientation inherent to UKI’s exam design and development process to understand if this was a simple grab for more training dollars, or a bona-fide industry cert program.
Ed Tittel is a 30-year-plus veteran of the computing industry, who’s worked as a programmer, a technical manager, a classroom instructor, a network consultant and a technical evangelist for companies that include Burroughs, Schlumberger, Novell, IBM/Tivoli and NetQoS. He has written and blogged for numerous publications, including Tom's Hardware, and is the author of over 140 computing books with a special emphasis on information security, Web markup languages and development tools, and Windows operating systems.
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