A Complete Check Point Certification Guide
May 2, 2024

If you’ve ever considered beefing up your cyber-security creds, you’re probably aware of Check Point’s certifications. These aren’t just any credentials; they’re the golden tickets to mastering the tech that guards the internet fort for all Fortune and Global 100 companies. With the rise of cyber threats and the need for robust security measures, gaining a Check Point certification could significantly elevate your professional standing and open up new career opportunities. So, let’s explore in detail what it means to be Check Point certified, and why it might just be the next big step in your IT career.

Why Go for Check Point Certification?

Before we unpack the specifics, let’s talk perks. Becoming Check Point certified is like getting the keys to the kingdom. It equips you with the skills needed to support and sell Check Point products, plus a two-year expert access to advanced product docs. In simpler terms, you become part of a club that’s at the forefront of defending the cyber world. This certification isn’t just a line on your resume; it’s a badge of honor that marks your expertise in a field that’s becoming increasingly critical in our digital world. By holding a Check Point certification, you demonstrate your ability to handle complex security systems and protect networks against the most sophisticated attacks. Additionally, this certification boosts your marketability, potentially opening doors to higher-level positions and better job prospects in top tech companies. It’s also a pathway to continuous learning and professional development, ensuring you stay updated with the latest in cyber security trends and technologies.

The Certification Hierarchy

Check Point structures its certification around clear job roles: administration, engineering, and the high-flying realm of advanced systems (hello, Security Masters). Let’s delve into each category.

Core Certification

  • Check Point Certified Security Administrator (CCSA)

Kicking off your journey into the Check Point universe, the CCSA certification serves as your foundational step. This credential arms you with the essential tools to configure and oversee Check Point Security Gateways and Management Software Blades. It’s tailored for newcomers eager to grasp the core aspects of network security management. The program lays the groundwork, ensuring you’re well-prepared for the complexities ahead. Acquiring this certification, you’ll possess a solid base of knowledge, setting the stage for tackling more intricate security challenges in your career.

  • Check Point Certified Security Expert (CCSE)

Elevate your expertise with the CCSE certification, a progressive step for those who have a firm grip on the basics. This advanced level of certification delves into the intricacies of Check Point’s technology. It equips you to design, maintain, and enhance the security of enterprise networks effectively. Moreover, you’ll learn advanced strategies to shield your infrastructure against evolving cyber threats. Aimed at professionals aiming to advance their roles in cybersecurity, this certification acts as a critical stepping stone towards becoming a seasoned security specialist in the dynamic field of network security.

Security Master Certification

  • Check Point Certified Security Master (CCSM)

For the crème de la crème of security experts, the CCSM certification recognizes your technical mastery over the Check Point Infinity architecture. This prestigious certification is bestowed upon professionals who demonstrate deep knowledge and skills in configuring, deploying, managing, and troubleshooting various Check Point products and services. It’s a recognition that places you among the elite in the field, confirming your capabilities in handling complex security systems. Security professionals who hold a current CCSE certification and obtain two subsequent Infinity Specialist accreditations will automatically earn the CCSM credential.

  • Check Point Certified Security Master Elite (CCSM Elite)

Going a step beyond, the CCSM Elite certification is designed for those who have not only mastered Check Point technologies but have also reached the highest level of technical excellence. By achieving this certification, you join an exclusive club of Check Point Certified Security Masters, distinguishing yourself as a leader in cybersecurity. This certification is a testament to your enduring commitment and expertise, elevating your professional stature in the competitive world of information security. Security professionals with a valid CCSM certification who achieve two more Infinity Specialist accreditations will automatically qualify for the CCSM Elite certification.

Infinity Specialist Accreditations

Here’s where things get granular. Check Point’s Infinity Specialist Accreditations focus on specific aspects of the Check Point Infinity Cyber Security Architecture. These are not just add-ons; they’re crucial building blocks to achieving Master and Master Elite statuses. Here’s a closer look at the variety of specialized tracks available:

  • CCAS (Check Point Certified Automation Specialist): This accreditation focuses on automating security operations using Check Point’s solutions, helping professionals streamline and enforce their security policies efficiently.
  • CCME (Check Point Certified Maestro Expert – R81): Specialists learn to manage hyperscale network security with Check Point’s Maestro technology, which is pivotal for enterprises needing scalable, flexible security systems.
  • CCCS (Check Point Certified Cloud Specialist): This certification is tailored for professionals working with cloud deployments, ensuring they can secure cloud environments effectively.
  • CCES (Check Point Certified Harmony Endpoint Specialist): Focuses on securing endpoints within organizations, crucial for managing and mitigating risks posed by mobile and remote workforces.
  • CCMS (Check Point Certified Multi-Domain Security Management Specialist – R81): This track prepares specialists to handle large-scale security management across various domains, enhancing centralized control and policy management.
  • CCVS (Check Point Certified Virtual System Extension Specialist- R81): Specialists learn to secure virtual environments, critical as businesses increasingly move towards virtualization for their network infrastructures.
  • CCTA/CCTE (Check Point Certified Troubleshooting Administrator/Expert – R81, R81.20): These accreditations develop skills in identifying and resolving issues within Check Point installations, ensuring smooth operations and minimal downtime.
  • CNSE (Cloud Network Security Expert – AWS/Azure): These accreditations are designed for professionals focusing on securing Amazon Web Services or Azure cloud environments, highlighting specialized skills in these popular platforms.

Hacking Point Accreditations

For those with a taste for the offensive side of security, Check Point offers Hacking Point accreditations. The CCPE – C (Cloud Security), CCPE – I (Infrastructure Hacking), CCPE – W (Web Hacking), and CCPE – AI (Advanced Infrastructure Hacking) credentials offer insights into security vulnerabilities and the methods for exploiting offensive security skills, providing an offensive angle to cybersecurity defense strategies.

Check Point Exams: Registration and Process

Check Point certification exams are meticulously administered through Pearson VUE, a globally recognized testing organization with over 3,500 locations worldwide. Candidates looking to earn Check Point certifications can register by creating a Web Profile on the Pearson VUE website. Exams are not only available in physical centers but also through Pearson VUE Online Proctoring, allowing exams to be taken remotely under the supervision of a live proctor. The cost of exams ranges from $150 to $350, while practice exams are priced at $50. Each exam consists of multiple-choice and scenario-based questions focused on selecting the “best answer.” The core CCSA and CCSE exams include 100 questions, whereas the Infinity Specialist Accreditation exams contain 75 questions. All exams are allotted 90 minutes in English-speaking countries, with non-English speaking countries granted an additional 15 minutes. If a retake is necessary, a 24-hour waiting period is required after the first attempt, and a 30-day interval after the second attempt.

How to Prepare for Check Point Certifications

Preparation for Check Point exams can be approached in several ways. While the Learning & Training portal provides detailed course objectives, attending an instructor-led training session at one of Check Point’s Authorized Training Center (ATC) partners is highly recommended. These training sessions offer not only the official course materials but also valuable hands-on experience. Participants can engage directly with the material, practice in lab settings, and learn from mistakes in a controlled environment. Although self-study using Check Point courseware is possible, the structured environment and guidance provided by certified instructors make classroom learning a more effective and cost-efficient method for exam preparation.

Certification Issuance and Maintenance

Upon passing an exam, Check Point issues e-certificates that are accessible through the User Center profile on their website. The certification credentials are updated in the User Center usually within two weeks of the exam date, though often sooner. These credentials grant holders access to a variety of professional resources, including SecureKnowledge database and an online certification profile. It’s important to note that Check Point certifications expire after 24 months. In the fast-evolving field of cybersecurity, maintaining current knowledge and skills is essential. Consequently, Check Point encourages certified professionals to regularly update their certifications to keep pace with new security threats and technological advances, ensuring their expertise remains relevant and effective.

Certification Evolution: A Fresh Look at Check Point’s Standards

Starting April 1, 2023, Check Point is implementing significant changes to its certification program, aimed at refining the process and ensuring that IT security professionals have up-to-date skills. Here’s a breakdown of what’s changing:

For CCSA (Check Point Certified Security Administrator), the ability to extend certifications through Infinity Specialist exams will be discontinued. Instead, professionals will need to retake the CCSA exam to recertify. Previously, a CCSA could be extended by passing two different Infinity exams as long as the CCSA was current.

CCSE (Check Point Certified Security Expert) rules are also tightening. Holders of any R77 or earlier CCSE certification, whether valid or expired, will now need to restart their certification journey with the CCSA exam, as opposed to directly qualifying for the current CCSE exam.

For those interested in the CCTA (Troubleshooting Administrator) certification, a new prerequisite requires a valid or expired CCSA (R80 or above) before attempting the CCTA exam, a shift from the previous rule which had no prerequisites.

Similarly, the CCTE (Troubleshooting Expert) will now require a valid or expired CCSE (R80 or above) to sit the exam, where there was no prerequisite before.

Finally, the CCSM Elite (Check Point Certified Security Master Elite) certification can now be extended multiple times by passing additional Infinity Specialist exams, with each exam extending the certification for another year. Previously, the CCSM Elite certification could only be extended once.

These changes reflect Check Point’s commitment to maintaining rigorous standards and aligning with the evolving landscape of cybersecurity threats and technologies.

Wrapping It Up

Embarking on a journey with Check Point certifications means transforming into a trusted professional in an era where digital security is paramount. Whether you are at the beginning of your cybersecurity career or seeking to ascend to the highest echelons of expertise, Check Point offers a structured pathway tailored to your growth. So, gear up, take the plunge, and join the mission to fortify the digital landscape – one certification at a time!

Now that you are equipped with all the necessary information, why not take the leap forward? The world of cybersecurity is vast and constantly evolving, urgently requiring skilled individuals who can navigate and safeguard its complexities. With Check Point, you position yourself at the cutting edge of technology, ready to tackle the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Don’t just watch the future unfold – shape it with every certification you earn.

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