About Palo Alto Networks PCNSE Certification
The Palo Alto Networks Certified Network Security Engineer (PCNSE) certification is created to validate the professionals’ knowledge and skills in configuring, designing, deploying, maintaining, and troubleshooting various Palo Alto Networks security implementations. It also measures their competence in the related topics, such as global protect, Panorama, PAN-OS software, and other aspects dealing with the Palo Alto Networks Security platform.
The PCNSE certification is intended for those individuals who have an interest in Palo Alto Networks products, including customers, partners, system engineers, support engineers, system integrators, as well as those who are seeking to improve their expertise in Palo Alto Network technologies.
The candidates for the PCNSE certification are recommended to have at least 3-5 years of working experience in the networking or security role as well as 6 months of experience operating with the Palo Alto Networks Security platform. At least one year of experience in Palo Alto Networks NGFW deployment and configuration will be an added advantage.
You can earn the PCNSE certification by passing the corresponding exam. This test is made up of 75 questions, which are presented as scenarios with graphics, matching, and multiple-choice items. The exam is 80 minutes long, but an extra 10 minutes is allocated for Palo Networks Exam Security Policy and Survey. The test is administered by a third party, namely Pearson VUE, online or at one of the centers located worldwide. The exam is available in the English and Japanese languages.
The exam costs $160 (this price can vary depending on the country). This amount is set for a single delivery of the test. This means that if you fail the exam, you will be required to pay an extra fee. Those applicants who fail the test can retake it within 5 working days. If the second attempt fails, they will have to wait 15 days to be able to retake the exam.
The content of the PCNSE exam revolves around several topics. Particularly, the percentage of each domain included in the test is as follows: planning (16%), deploying & configuring (23%), operating (20%), configuration troubleshooting (18%), and key concepts (23%). All of these areas cover specific technical skills. Let’s have a closer look at these abilities below:
Domain 1: Planning
This objective includes one’s skills in determining how Palo Alto Networks products collaborate to identify and avoid threats; defining how to design a firewall implementation to satisfy the business needs with the help of the Palo Alto Networks Security platform; defining how to design firewalls implementation within High Availability to satisfy the business needs with the help of the Palo Alto Networks Security platform; defining the relevant interface type as well as configuration for a particular network deployment; defining how to utilize template stacks to administer Palo Alto Networks firewalls as a scalable solution with the help of Panorama.
Additionally, the test takers need to demonstrate that they are capable of defining how to utilize device group hierarchy to administer Palo Alto Networks firewalls as a scalable solution with the help of Panorama; defining options to deploy Palo Alto Networks firewalls in VM-Series private Cloud; defining techniques for authentication, authorization, as well as device administration; defining methods to mitigate resource exhaustion within application servers; determining decryption deployment techniques; defining the effect of application override on the general firewall functionality; defining User-ID redistribution techniques.
Domain 2: Deploying & Configuring
This topic evaluates the candidates’ skills in defining the application definitions within the Traffic log (non-syn TCP, incomplete, unknown TCP, insufficient data, not applicable, unknown P2P, unknown UDP); defining the Security Profiles set that is to be used depending on the specific scenario; defining the correlation between credential theft prevention & URL filtering; differentiating applications & services; determining how to create security rules to apply App-ID avoiding port-based rules; defining the requisite settings & steps to deploy a next-generation firewall; defining different approaches for Authorization, Authentication, as well as Device Administration within a firewall; defining how to customize and maintain certificates to backup firewall attributes; defining how to customize a virtual router; defining configuration settings for site-to-site VPN.
In addition, the examinees need to prove that they are able to define GlobalProtect configuration settings; define how to customize items relating to zone protection as well as denial-of-service protection; define how to customize the NAT rulebase features; define how to customize security rules; define how to customize decryption depending on a configuration example such as DNAT; define an application override use case as well as configuration; determine how to customize VM-Series firewalls for deployment.
Domain 3: Operating
This subject area encompasses abilities, such as defining considerations to configure external log forwarding; interpreting reports, graphs, log files to identify threat & traffic trends; determining scenarios where utilization of custom signatures is beneficial; determining the procedure to upgrade the Palo Alto Networks system to the most recent software version; determining how configuration management activities are utilized to guarantee the required operational stability & continuity state; determining the settings connected with the most important HA functions (HA backup links; link monitoring; path monitoring; differences between A/P and A/A; HA1, HA2, as well as HA3 functionality); determining the information sources connected with the HA functionality; determining how to customize the firewall to link to AutoFocus and check its functionality; defining the effect of deploying dynamic upgrades; defining the correlation between devices and Panorama depending on dynamic updates versions as well as policy implementation and/or HA peers.
Domain 4: Configuration Troubleshooting
This domain entails competence in defining system & traffic issues with the help of CLI and WebUI tools; defining the configuration provisions utilized to execute a packet capture; defining how to troubleshoot and customize interface elements; defining how to fix SSL decryption failures; determining certificate chain of trust issues; defining how to troubleshoot traffic routing issues depending on a scenario.
Domain 5: Key Concepts
Here the applicants need to show their expertise in defining the proper policy assessment order on the basis of the packet flow architecture; defining the Palo Alto Networks adequate threat prevention element to prevent or mitigate the attack depending on an attack scenario; defining methods to identify the users; defining the basic functions dwelling on Palo Alto Networks firewall data and management data planes; defining how to control bandwidth utilization on a per-application basis depending on a scenario.
Moreover, the learners need to confirm that they know how to define the WildFire basic functions and principles; define the objective as well as uses for the Authentication policy and MFA; determine the dependencies for applying MFA; define how to advance traffic depending on a scenario; determine how to customize policies and pertaining objects depending on a scenario; define the techniques to automate the firewall configuration.
The PCNSE certification serves as a testament to your knowledge and skills in configuring and troubleshooting numerous implementations on the Palo Alto Networks Security platform. As a certificate holder, you will be able to compete ahead of others and accelerate your career growth. After obtaining the certificate, you become qualified to apply for the following job roles: a Network Security Engineer, a Site Reliability Engineer, a Technical Support Engineer, and a Professional Security Engineer. Moreover, having the PCNSE certification under your belt, you can count on decent remuneration. Your annual salary can range from $110,000 to $119,000. If you have some level of experience, this figure can be even higher for you.