Cybersecurity CPEs: Unraveling the What, Why & How

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Jun 10, 2024The Hacker NewsCybersecurity / Exposure Management

Staying Sharp: Cybersecurity CPEs Explained

Perhaps even more so than in other professional domains, cybersecurity professionals constantly face new threats. To ensure you stay on top of your game, many certification programs require earning Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits. CPEs are essentially units of measurement used to quantify the time and effort professionals spend on maintaining and enhancing skills and knowledge in the field of cybersecurity, and they act as points that demonstrate a commitment to staying current.

CPEs are best understood in terms of other professions: just like medical, legal and even CPA certifications require continuing education to stay up-to-date on advancements and industry changes, cybersecurity professionals need CPEs to stay informed about the latest hacking tactics and defense strategies.

CPE credits are crucial for maintaining certifications issued by various cybersecurity credentialing organizations, such as (ISC)², ISACA, and CompTIA. Earning CPEs involves various activities like attending workshops, taking online courses, or participating in conferences.

The overriding goal of CPEs is to ensure that certified professionals stay current with the latest trends, technologies, and threats in cybersecurity – thus maintaining the integrity and relevance of their certifications. And beyond ensuring that we stay sharp, CPEs ultimately strengthen an organization’s overall security posture. It’s a win-win for both professionals and their organizations.

Why Cybersecurity Pros Need CPEs

The cybersecurity landscape is a constant arms race. To stay relevant and advance their careers, cybersecurity professionals need Continuing Professional Education (CPEs). And CPEs aren’t just about career advancement; they directly impact job performance.

From a personal standpoint, CPEs are like working with a trainer at your gym. They help you level up your professional fitness, equipping you with the latest knowledge and skills in areas like exposure management, penetration testing or cloud security. This makes you a stronger, more valuable asset to any organization, opening doors to promotions and higher-paying opportunities.

Professionally, CPEs are like attending battle drills. They keep you sharp against constantly-evolving cyber threats. By learning about new hacking techniques and defensive strategies, you can better protect your organization’s data and systems. This reduces the risk of costly breaches and demonstrates your commitment to excellence.

CPEs are an investment in both your career and your ability to perform at the top of your game. They make you a more valuable professional and a stronger defender against cyber threats.

Tracking Your Progress: Demystifying Cybersecurity CPEs

Earning CPEs demonstrates your commitment to staying current. But how do you track your progress?

Most certifying bodies require a certain number of CPE credits to be earned within a specific period, usually annually or over a multi-year cycle. For example, (ISC)² requires Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) holders to earn 120 CPE credits every three years.

CPE calculation generally revolves around two main factors: time spent and activity type. Most activities award CPEs based on the hours invested. For example, attending a security conference might earn you 8 CPEs, while an online course might grant 1 CPE per hour of completion.

However, it’s not a one-size-fits-all system. Certifying bodies often categorize activities. Technical workshops focused on new hacking methods might carry more weight (CPE value) than general awareness seminars, for example.

It’s crucial to check the specific requirements of your certification. They often outline the total number of CPEs needed, the timeframe for earning them, and any category limitations. By keeping track of your learning activities and their associated CPE values, you can ensure you both stay qualified and keep your cybersecurity skills sharp.

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This comprehensive and hands-on course is a great way to master the fundamentals of Exposure Management and build your organization’s exposure management strategy. Attendees will come out with a thorough understanding of the types of exposures that put critical assets at risk.

Expanding Your Arsenal: Finding Cybersecurity CPEs

Cybersecurity professionals have a wealth of options to earn CPE credits. Here are some starting points towards finding these valuable resources:

  • Formal Training – Organizations like (ISC)² and SANS offer in-person or online courses designed specifically for earning CPEs. These courses delve deep into security topics like incident response, exposure management or cloud security, ensuring you gain valuable knowledge while racking up credits
  • Industry Events – Conferences, workshops, and webinars hosted by security companies, industry associations, prominent cybersecurity vendors or even your own employer can be treasure troves for CPEs. Many of these events offer sessions that not only provide insights but also contribute to your CPE requirements.
  • Self-Directed Learning – Don’t underestimate the power of independent learning! Reading security publications, attending free webinars, or even contributing to open-source security projects can often qualify for CPEs. Check with your certifying body to see if these activities are accepted for credit.
  • XM Cyber’s Exposure Management Course – As a professional seeking to boost your skill set in Exposure Management and fulfill CPE requirements, you can explore XM Cyber’s Exposure Management Course. This comprehensive course offers a valuable combination of professional development and CPE credits. Self- paced over 4-5 hours, it delves into the fundamentals of Exposure Management, and Gartner’s Continuous Threat Exposure Management (CTEM) framework, which is their recommended way to put Exposure Management into an actionable and repeatable plan.

The course provides a deep understanding of various cyber exposures that endanger sensitive assets. You’ll explore the core components of an effective Continuous Threat Exposure Management strategy and learn how to implement it within your organization.

The course also guides you through tailoring the strategy to your specific needs and helps assess your organization’s Exposure Management maturity level. (To learn more about building your CTEM strategy, check out this comprehensive guide here.)

  • Certification Maintenance Programs – Many certifications offer built-in CPE programs. By renewing your certification through them, you can access exclusive resources and activities specifically designed to fulfill your CPE requirement.

Just be aware that in all cases, it’s important to check with your specific certifying body to confirm CPE credit eligibility.

CPE Credits – A Great Way to Stay Motivated and Aware

Sure, no one loves having to continually recertify – but in truth, how many of us would stay dedicated to remaining up-to-date on a continual basis if it weren’t for the need to certify? And knowing how rapidly things evolve in this arena, if professionals in this line of business were to fall behind, that could really spell trouble for organizations and the data in their keep. Hopefully, the various sources and tips mentioned here can help ease your pursuit of continually maintaining your professional growth.

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