About Palo Alto Networks PCNSA Exam
The PCNSA: Palo Alto Networks Certified Network Security Administrator certification is designed to validate the professionals’ knowledge and skills in designing, installing configuring, and maintaining the majority of implementations on the Palo Alto Networks platform. Obtaining this certificate confirms that an individual has the requisite expertise to apply the Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation Firewall PAN-OS 10.0 platform in various environments.
The PCNSA certification is intended for anyone who is seeking to demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of Palo Alto Networks technologies, including the following IT professionals: system engineers, system administrators, system integrators, support specialists, as well as those clients who leverage Palo Alto Networks products.
There are no formal requirements set for this certification. However, it is recommended that the candidates complete the relevant training, including the Firewall Essentials: Configuration and Management (EDU-210) course before attempting the prerequisite test. In addition, they must have at least two years of working experience in the security or networking spheres and six months of experience operating with the Palo Alto Networks product portfolio. They also need to have a minimum of six months of experience in deploying and configuring Palo Alto Networks NGFW.
To obtain the PCNSA certification, the students are required to pass one qualifying exam. The test lasts for 80 minutes. An extra 10 minutes are allocated for reviewing Palo Alto Networks Exam Security Policy and Survey, so the total seat time of the exam is 90 minutes. The test is made up of 50 questions that are presented as scenarios with graphics, multiple-choice, and matching options. You can take the exam through Pearson VUE online or at one of the testing centers that are located in major cities of the world. The test is available in the English language only.
The PCNSA certification test costs $140. This amount is established for a single exam delivery. If you fail your test, you will have to pay another fee. You will also receive a score report highlighting the areas you need to pay more attention to. You will have to wait for five business days before you can retake the exam. If your second attempt is also unsuccessful, you will only be able to retake the test in 15 business days.
After successfully passing the qualifying test, you will be awarded the PCNSA certification. Your Palo Alto Networks certificate is valid for two years from the date of the exam completion. To maintain your certification status, you will be required to recertify by taking the most recent version of the test.
The PCNSA exam measures your abilities in deploying, configuring, and operating the Palo Alto Networks product portfolio components, understanding the unique features of the Palo Alto Networks product portfolio, as well as understanding security and networking policies utilized by PAN-OS software. All the technical skills evaluated by the certification test are grouped into six domains that have different weights in the exam content. The specific abilities included in these topics are outlined below:
- Palo Alto Networks Cybersecurity Portfolio Core (22%)
This objective covers one’s skills in defining the Palo Alto Networks cybersecurity portfolio components; defining the single-pass parallel processing architecture components & operations; implementing the Zero Trust security model and explaining how it refers to traffic moving via your network; defining stages within the cyberattack lifecycle as well as firewall mitigations deterring attacks.
- Simply Passing Traffic (24%)
Within this domain, the test takers should demonstrate that they are capable of defining and customizing firewall management interfaces; defining the methods to handle firewall configurations; displaying and scheduling dynamic upgrades; customizing account administration internal & external services; designing the proper security zones depending on a network diagram; defining and customizing firewall interfaces; defining stages to design and customize a virtual router depending on a scenario; defining the function of particular security rule types; defining and customizing security policy logging options, actions, match conditions; defining and applying the appropriate NAT solution depending on a scenario.
- Traffic Visibility (20%)
This section requires the individuals’ skills in selecting the proper application-based security policy regulations depending on a scenario; customizing application groups or application filters depending on a scenario; defining the function of application features as indicated in the App-ID database; searching the potential effect of App-ID upgrades on the current security policy regulations; finding the techniques to improve security policies; defining the features utilized to facilitate the creation of App-ID policy.
- Securing Traffic (18%)
This subject area requires your competencies in defining and implementing the proper security profile depending on a risk scenario; defining the difference between security profile actions & security policy actions; defining how to configure security profiles depending on a network scenario; determining the firewall’s defense from protocol-based and packet- attacks; defining how the firewall can utilize the Cloud DNS database to regulate traffic on the basis of domains; finding how the firewall can utilize the PAN-DB database to regulate traffic on the basis of websites; describing how to regulate access to particular URLs with the help of custom URL filtering types.
- Identifying Users (12%)
In the framework of this area, the students need to prove that they are able to define the proper approach to map IP addresses to usernames depending on a scenario; define the proper User-ID agent to deploy depending on a scenario; define how the firewall maps usernames to user groups; define User-ID configuration options depending on a graphic.
- Deployment Optimization (4%)
This topic covers skills in determining the advantages as well as differences between BPA and Heatmap reports.
Palo Alto Networks is one of the leading security platform providers in the world. Many companies have already applied this platform to protect their corporate information from security threats and that is why there is an increased demand for those professionals who are able to operate with this technology. Some of the job roles that the certified specialists can go for include:
- Network Administrator
- Network Operations Engineer
- IT System Administrator
- Network Security Engineer
- Palo Alto Engineer
- Network Architect
- Security Operations (SecOps) Engineer
- Technical Solutions Architect
Besides offering vast career opportunities, the PCNSA certification can also significantly boost your earning potential. According to PayScale.com, the average income of the certificate holders amounts to $94,136 per annum, with many job roles exceeding this figure. Thus, as a Network Security Engineer, you can earn as much as $103,000 per year, and as a Network Architect, you are able to get $120,000.