Cisco CCNP certification is getting a brand-new look, and that new look includes two new exams! The BCRAN and CIT exams are retiring at the end of 2006, and the exam replacing the BCRAN is the 642-825 Implementing Secure Converged Wide Area Networks exam, which is thankfully known as ISCW  Security+ certification.

The key word in this Cisco exam is “secure”. Very few of the BCRAN topics are moving to the ISCW exam, and an emphasis is being placed on VPNs and network security configurations and methods. According to Cisco’s exam blueprint, the only BCRAN topics you can expect to see are PPPoE and PPPoA. The importance of network security has never been higher, and it’s to Cisco’s credit that their new CCNP exams are emphasizing security.

Other new topics on this exam include Frame-Mode MPLS, the configuration and verification of Cisco IOS firewalls, and the Cisco IOS IPS. Successful CCNP candidates will also be able to describe and defend against network intrusions and attacks by everything from Trojan Horses to Denial of Service (DOS) attacks.

VPNs are just about as common in today’s networks as cable, and all well-rounded network admins must know about the many different forms of attacks their networks can suffer, as well as how to defend against those attacks. The knowledge you acquire while studying for the ISCW exam will be immediately applicable in any network environment. This new CCNP certification exam is a tremendous step forward for Cisco certifications, and this already valuable certification is only going to become more valuable — and tougher to get!



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