New Security+ SY0-601

Welcome to ExamNotes by CertBlaster! In this edition, we will try to answer some of the questions we hear most frequently relative to the new Security+ SY0-601 certification. Much of the concerns, as usual, center around what is new in this test revision but there is more to it so let’s get right into it.

What version should I take?

First, there is no black and white answer to this question. This is a decision an individual decision that needs to be made in part based on what level of prerequisite you possess. So you need to assess your current status. Here are some of the considerations that can guide your decision-making process.

Security+ dates and timelines

CompTIA refreshes exam content every 3 years by releasing a new exam in the case of Security + the SY0-501 was released in English on October 4th, 2017 giving it a retirement date on or about October 4th, 2020. The 3-year cycle applies to the exam itself, NOT your actual certification status. After passing the test your certification is good for 3 years from your certification date, regardless of which version of the exam you sat for. Given that a candidate who certifies on the last day of SY0-501 availability is certified for 3 years from that date, compared to a candidate who certifies on the SY0-601 on the same day, both candidates are just as Security+ certified until their expiration date 3 years later.

Existing or newly acquired knowledge

If you are currently an IT professional with hands-on experience in the subject matter and minimal study needs, you are in a good position to take the SY0-601. Use the exam objectives as your guide and make sure you know what the concepts are and also how they relate to other areas. At the time of this writing, there is not a great deal of information available at the “usual” sites like blogs and newsletters. This will grow over time but above all else make sure you are using reputable sources not exam crams and brain dumps.

Click here for the New Security+ SY0-601 Exam Simulator and Practice Test

If you are updating your certification you may be able to update it using Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Essentially these are credits for achievements outside of CompTIA that can be applied to your Security+. You may recertify at a reduced cost and without the uncertainty that a new test present. Most of the major companies’ certifications from Amazon to Symantec can be used to certify. At the time of this writing 50 CEUs are required to renew your Security+. Many Certification bodies provide enough CEUs to obtain the Security+ credential. CompTIA actually provides an app you can use to certify with your CEUs.

Time and expense invested in SY0-501 exam preparation

If you are new to the certification and have begun a course of study for the SY0-501 don’t worry. You have not wasted your time, money, and energy. After the release of the new Security+ SY0-601 at the exam centers, CompTIA offers a six months “grace period” during which you are still able to sit for the (then) old Security+ SY0-501. So if you are deep into your Security+ SY0-501 studies, you can just pick that one.

What’s new on the Exam?

In the objectives, content points have changed conceptually from terms like “Identify “something to “Compare and contrast” this with something else. Where the Security+ 501 asked you to identify objects, processes, or features, the new Security+ 601 expects you to be able to compare these points and their interoperability or lack thereof.

We expect to see the latest release of Security+ SY0-601 to cover the changes needed to keep pace with the dramatic evolution of the cybersecurity environment. The major changes are in the areas of Threats, attacks, and vulnerabilities, and the tools and technologies used to mitigate these. Also expect deeper coverage of overall risk management strategies.

Not too long ago a lot of office setups looked a bit like this simple network:

Graphic showing New a simple network connected to the internet

…now it’s closer to this! A larger attack surface:

Graphic showing a complex wide area network connected to the internet

The most critical changes on the new Security+ SY0-601 Exam

Far and away the most critical changes relate to cloud technologies including the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) model. The world we live in has changed dramatically and the tools and technologies we use to safely navigate in this new environment have evolved rapidly to meet these new challenges.

The distinction between home and work has been lastingly blurred (in no small part due to COVID-19). This means that the devices we once only used casually can now be incorporated into our workspace. But not without security! Cloud security controls and solutions are critical components of cloud protection as mobile devices like laptops, tablets and smartphones proliferate. Here you’ll see multiple device types, manufacturers, software, and operating systems interoperating.

Click here for the New Security+ SY0-601 Exam Simulator and Practice Test

What is essential here is your ability to quickly identify a problem by type and move towards a solution. Since you have dozens of physical device manufacturers producing the equipment being used along with the multiple operating systems (including different versions of the same OS), the tools you use to monitor your traffic and identify weaknesses have become more robust. For example, the UTM is not new to Security+ but the emphasis on this has moved from treating it as a troubleshooting tool to it being an integral part of a secure network implementation.

Another area that had been more or less glossed over is monitoring diagnostics and logging analytics. You will now be expected to identify the output of a log file and identify any issues. Now If you see the graphic below You’ll know how to tailor the packet tracer (sniffer) app to get you the information you need.

packet tracer aka sniffer

More information on the new Security+ SY0-601

This was posted earlier this year but it makes a few points this post does not cover so could still be worth a quick glance. This other post is more focused on the content differences between the two Security+ exam versions.

For CompTIA exam retirement dates click here.

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