Security+ and the CompTIA “Grace Period”

Because CompTIA allows for a grace period on the older version of an exam from the date of introduction of a new version, you still have quite some time left to pass the test you have prepared for. This applies to many CompTIA exams including the “big three” A+, Network+, and Security+.

If you have invested time in training for the SY0-401 version (and don’t want to start over and train for SY0-501) then we recommend you sit for that exam during the grace period. The reasons are:

  1. You stand a 50% or so better chance to pass the SY0-401 because of all the new content added to SY0-501.
  2. You will be “just as certified” because when you are Security+ certified it is irrespective of version.
  3. You will be Security+ certified for just as long: 3 years from the date of your exam.

As far as Security+ SY0-501 is concerned CompTIA had a “pre-launch” on October 4, 2017, and a full-on marketing launch (as in brass bands and all) on October 25th. Now the retirement date of Security+ SY0-401 is July 2018. This means that between October 2017 and July 2018 you can choose the version you want to sit for. Both versions will be equally recognized as the valid Security+ credential for three years from your exam date.


Overview of main Security+ Exam Objectives

Main CompTIA Exam Objectives for Security+ SY0-501

Domain % of Examination
1.0 Threats, Attacks and Vulnerabilities 20%
2.0 Technologies and Tools 18%
3.0 Architecture and Design 20%
4.0 Identity and Access Management 15%
5.0 Risk Management 15%
6.0 Cryptography and PKI 12%
Total 100%


Main Exam Objectives for Security+ SY0-401

Domain % of Examination
1.0 Network Security 20%
2.0 Compliance and Operational Security 18%
3.0 Threats and Vulnerabilities 20%
4.0 Application, Data and Host Security 15%
5.0 Access Control and Identity Management 15%
6.0 Cryptography 12%
Total 100%

Security+ Recommended Prerequisites

For the Security+ certification CompTIA has established below recommended prerequisites:

Two or more years’ of experience in IT with a focus on cybersecurity. Daily technical information security experience. A wide understanding of security concerns and implementation including the topics in the exam objectives listed above.

CompTIA Security+ is accredited

It is accredited by ANSI to show compliance with the ISO 17024 Standard. This means that CompTIA undergoes regular reviews and updates to the exam objectives which in part explains the renewal of exam objectives every three years. The CompTIA Security+ exam objectives reflect the subject areas in the respective editions of the exam. They are formulated through subject-matter expert workshops and industry-wide survey results studying the skills and knowledge required for an information security professional.

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