In this guide
- What is CND?
- Cert requirements
- Cert exam
- Exam cost
- Training for the cert
- CND career salary and outlook
This guide will examine the CND certification, also known as the certified network defender.
We’ll look at what the CND certification is, the requirement for taking the exam, what the exam covers, the information covered in the CND training, and the benefits of becoming a CND.
Furthermore, you will discover what career options CND holders have available to them. This guide provides a few examples of the jobs that may require applicants to hold this certification, including the average compensation.
Earning a professional certification demonstrates a commitment to your profession and authenticates your knowledge and experience in your field. There are a wide variety of certifications available to professionals in any area of expertise.
For students or anyone who has plenty of time to invest in their education, a degree from an accredited college or university is often the best option to advance their career.
However, for working adults, the shorter duration of a certification program may be the most expeditious route to achieving their career goals.
Certifications are essential for employers. Hiring managers use certifications as an easy way to set the minimum requirements for positions they are trying to fill. Job seekers use these professional credentials to indicate that they have the required level of knowledge and meet the minimum standards for the role.
What is a CND?
CND certification is appropriate for anyone who works in the network administration or cybersecurity fields in the capacity of a network administrator, network engineer, network security administrator, or security analyst.
CND is for all cybersecurity operations and roles, and it is applicable for anyone looking to build a career in this domain.
The EC-Council offers CND training and certification. It is a vendor-neutral network security certification program that provides an unbiased approach to learning secure networking practices, including analyzing and hardening computing systems commonly used in current IT infrastructures.
The EC-Council organization certifies professionals in multiple technology and security skills and knowledge. Their stated mission is
To address the unique needs of a post-pandemic, remote workforce, network environment, the CND training has been revamped and is now called CND v2.
It has historically been the only program in the market that is 100 percent focused on network security and defense, and now it has been upgraded to accommodate more of today’s challenges.
Mapped to NICE 2.0 Framework, CND v2 domains validate the holder in all vital network information and security areas. Building on the traditional cybersecurity approach of “Protect and Detect,” this certification teaches a more comprehensive model of “Predict, Protect, Detect, Respond.” Here are some distinguishing features of CND v2:
- A practical and proactive approach to the fundamentals of threat intelligence
- A focus on cloud security and IoT
- Knowledge about latest technologies like SDN (Software Defined Network) and Kubernetes
- Emphasis on AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platforms
- A lab-intensive program, it provides first-hand experience
The EC-Council CND v2 is accredited, recognized, or endorsed by The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), The National Institute of Communication Finance (NICF), Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), and The Department of Defense (DoD).
Requirements for the CND exam
There are two options for those wishing to sit for the CND v2 certification examination.
The candidate can attend an official network security training course offered by EC-Council or approved academic institutions. After completing the approved course, the candidate can challenge the exam without going through the application process.
Or, the second option is to attempt the exam without official certification training, in which case, the candidate must have at least two years of work experience in the information security field. Candidates that have the required work experience can submit an eligibility application form along with a $100.00 non-refundable fee.
Candidates choosing to take an official certification training course will learn the following tasks, processes, policies, and procedures. Candidates opting to rely on their work experience should evaluate their understanding of each of these areas before sitting for the exam.
- Understanding network security management
- Learn basics of first response and forensics
- Establishing network security policies and procedures
- Understanding indicators of Compromise, Attack, and Exposures (IoC, IoA, IoE)
- Windows and Linux security administration
- Building threat intelligence capabilities
- Setting up mobile and IoT device security
- Establishing and monitoring log management
- Implementing data security techniques on networks
- Implementing endpoint security
- Embedding virtualization technology security
- Configuring optimum firewall solutions
- Determining cloud and wireless security
- Understanding and using IDS/IPS technologies
- Deploying and using risk assessment tools
- Establishing Network Authentication, Authorization, Accounting (AAA)
CND certification exam
The CND v2 exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions. Candidates can take up to four hours to complete any of the multiple versions of the exam.
EC-Council has designed each version of the exam to provide the appropriate level of academic difficulty and real-world application. They beta test each new exam with a sample group of candidates under the guidance of a committee of subject matter experts.
Each question is given a difficulty rating which contributes to the determination of a “cut score.” Cut scores or the mark above which a candidate must score to pass the exam will vary for the different versions administered.
This cut score can range from 60 percent to 85 percent, depending on the difficulty rating of the questions on that exam.
Test creators write each question to ensure that candidates understand each of the 20 modules, which form the basis for the training. These modules are:
- Network Attacks and Defense Strategies
- Administrative Network Security
- Technical Network Security
- Network Perimeter Security
- Endpoint Security-Windows Systems
- Endpoint Security-Linux Systems
- Endpoint Security- Mobile Devices
- Endpoint Security-IoT Devices
- Administrative Application Security
- Data Security Enterprise
- Virtual Network Security Enterprise
- Cloud Network Security
- Enterprise Wireless Network Security
- Network Traffic Monitoring and Analysis
- Network Logs Monitoring and Analysis
- Incident Response and Forensic Investigations
- Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
- Risk Anticipation with Risk Management
- Threat Assessment with Attack Surface Analysis
- Threat Prediction with Cyber Threat Intelligence
Understanding what information the exam covers will help a candidate prepare adequately. As an example of the types of questions you can expect, here is one of the EC-Council sample questions for the CND v2 exam:
An IT company has just been hit with a severe external security breach. To enhance the company’s security posture, the network admin has decided first to block all the services and then individually enable only the necessary services. What is such an Internet access policy called?
- Prudent Policy
- Permissive Policy
- Promiscuous Policy
- Paranoid Policy
If a candidate does not successfully pass an EC-Council exam, they can purchase an ECC Exam center voucher to retake the exam at a discounted price.
If a candidate cannot pass the exam on the first attempt, no waiting period is required to attempt the exam for the second time. If a candidate cannot pass the second attempt, a waiting period of 14 days is required before attempting the exam for the third time. A candidate is not allowed to take a given exam more than five times in 12 months, and EC-Council will impose a waiting period of 12 months before the candidate will be allowed to attempt the exam for the sixth time.
CND exam cost
There are always additional costs associated with achieving a professional credential. Unless highly experienced in all exam knowledge areas, candidates should spend time and money preparing for the exam.
Many candidates choose to take an ECC-approved training course before taking the CND v2 exam. A Certified Network Defender live course costs $2,999, and the online self-paced streaming video course (1-year access) is $1899.
CND training courses
ECC designed the Network Defense training program to instruct network administrators in network security technologies and operations and teach students how to master the core skills to build a solid cybersecurity skillset.
Students learn to examine the network traffic that traverses enterprise networks at the packet and binary level and build a solid knowledge of the lowest layers of the network stack. CND candidates will learn to master TCP/IP and essential UNIX and Linux used by security professionals.
Offered through ECC’s MasterClass program, CND v2 was created to help candidates build a solid security foundation and introduce them to vulnerability assessment and the hacking methodology so they will be ready to pursue more advanced security training such as the Certified Ethical Hacker.
ECC offers several options for CND v2 training courses. The self-study course, called iLearning, is a self-directed program utilizing a streaming video format, and iWeek is an instructor-led live online option.
ECC CND v2 “in-person” training is provided by authorized training partners and is offered in many locations. These hands-on classes provide the benefit of learning with peers and gaining real-world skills in a team environment. EC-Council Academia partners offer training at colleges and universities, often as part of a degree program.
CND career track and salary information
The advanced cybersecurity skills confirmed by the CND v2 certification are applicable across a broad spectrum of security roles. The following highlights job pay research for positions that often require or prefer a CND certification, as published by Payscale.com.
Network security engineer
- Average salary – $90,110
- Entry-level with one year of experience – $66,000
- Experienced with 20 years of experience – $113,000
Network security engineer tasks
- Maintain firewall, virtual private network, web, and email security programs, protocols, and security.
- Maintain physical and code environment to protect servers, switches, and entire information technology (IT) system while balancing the overall load.
- Monitor and log security concerns and incidents, and generate reports, and track performance.
Network security engineer job description
A network security engineer is an essential part of any large (and many mid-sized) business’ overall technology team.
A network security engineer is involved in the provisioning, deployment, configuration, and administration of many different pieces of a network – and security-related hardware and software. These include firewalls, routers, switches, various network monitoring tools, and VPNs (virtual private networks).
These engineers also regularly perform network-based security risk assessments, and they occasionally help design new infrastructure solutions as a company expands or replaces its system architecture.
- Average salary – $69,546
- Entry-level with one year of experience – $61,000
- Experienced with 20 years of experience – $95,000
Security analyst tasks
- Work to promote intrusion detection and prevention.
- Conduct network troubleshooting fundamentals.
- Engage in information gathering and analysis.
- Enforce data security practices, including encryption/decryption and management.
Security analyst job description
Aspiring security analysts should be experienced in cybersecurity and succeed in a fast-paced, constantly-changing work environment. Security analysts work to maintain the integrity of company networks and diagnose and quickly resolve network problems as they arise. They must proactively identify risks to the network and promptly address and neutralize these threats, and knowledge of security log fundamentals is essential. Prior experience with escalation patterns, hardening systems, firewalls, anti-virus, anti-spam, secure electronic data transmission, and anti-malware is also necessary.
- Average salary – $60,758
- Entry-level with one year of experience – $49,000
- Experienced with 20 years of experience – $74,000
Network administrator tasks
- Perform delivery, physical setup, installation, troubleshooting, and repair of all hardware and software.
- Train users on software applications, systems, AV, and telecom systems.
- Maintain telecom system, including handsets and company PDA’s.
- Maintain IT inventories updating schedules as needed, and properly dispose of equipment.
Network administrator job description
Network administrators are responsible for the upkeep of computer hardware and software systems. They usually focus on the network components within their company.
In some cases, it is the responsibility of administrators to design and implement new networks. Although some of the duties may vary depending on the size and locations of the company they work for, there are still some typical responsibilities that all administrators will share.
They are generally in charge of network address assignments, management, and implementation of protocols. They also handle the maintenance of networks and file servers.
Network security engineers, SOC analysts, and network administrators are in high demand. Security practitioners and those seeking to enter this field can validate their competencies in cybersecurity by passing the CND v2 certification exam from EC-Council.
Cybersecurity threats are rising exponentially, and companies and government agencies are increasingly concerned over the lack of adequately trained security staff. Earning a CND v2 certification will help job candidates stand out from the crowd and might be just what’s needed to advance their career in the security field.
Certified Network Defender v2 is recommended for individuals who desire to convert their fundamental knowledge of computer networking into a rewarding career in the security industry. Achieving this certification will add significant value to their jobs and salary by learning critical network security and network defense skills.