Do you wish to be a penetration tester? Or you are new to the cybersecurity industry and are looking to learn penetration testing? This article will help you understand how EC-Council Certified Security Analyst (ECSA) can be the best penetration testing program for you and how it can contribute to your cybersecurity career.
Here are ten reasons why you should pursue the ECSA–
1. Accredited by GCHQ and CREST
ECSA is accredited by GCHQ and CREST, which are two non-profit organizations working in the interest of the cybersecurity industry. U.K.’s cybersecurity mission is led by NCSC (Nation Cybersecurity Centre) which is a part of GCHQ. NCSC supports the U.K.’s critical services from cyberattacks, report the attacks, and work towards the improvement of security practices by advising citizens and organizations. GCHQ certified training (GCT) is an initiative in the U.K. and aim to reduce cybersecurity skill gap in the country. With all due dedication towards cybersecurity, GCHQ recognizes ECSA as a most comprehensive program in the field of vulnerability assessment and penetration testing.
2. ECSA recognized equivalent to CPSA
CREST is an international non-profit accreditation and certification body and has recognized ECSA as equivalent to their CPSA (CREST Practitioner Security Analyst) program.
3. EC-Council’s proprietary pen testing methodology
ECSA teaches a lot of penetration testing methodologies that are pre-existing and also those which are proprietary pen testing methodologies. Penetration testing is not a pre-defined task. The penetration tester should be proficient and creative to perform vulnerability assessment as every pen-testing is not similar. EC-Council, therefore, encourages the students to be creators of knowledge, and the curriculum includes EC-Council’s exclusive penetration testing methodologies like Cyber Kill Chain, OSINT, etc. Not to mention that these technologies are not taught within any other penetration testing programs.
4. Pen-test a variety of digital devices
ECSA is designed to cover penetration testing services as provided by the pen-testing service providers and consulting firms in the industry. The program has a broad curriculum encompassing different technologies like network, web application, social engineering, cloud, database, etc.
In today’s insecure cyber world, everything is connected to the internet, and therefore, cyberattacks are not limited to web applications or servers and networks. When every digital device is connected to the internet, the device must be protected from being compromised. It is for this reason that the ECSA curriculum is developed on a broader platform that includes Mobile, IoT, and other wireless devices too.
5. Social Engineering Penetration Testing Module
According to Wombat Security’s 2019 State of the Phish, 83% of all companies reported being a victim of phishing attacks in the previous year.  Phishing attack is one of the common forms of social engineering attacks, and therefore, the subject requires specific attention. ECSA has an exclusive module dedicatedly marked for social engineering attacks, their forms, and penetration testing, which is a rarity amongst top pen-testing credentials.
6. Report writing skills
ECSA develops strong report writing skills to draft a valuable and comprehensive penetration report. As a penetration tester, the report is the only tangible output that can help you in explaining the assessment performed and the valuable feedback that you want to recommend. A penetration testing report summarizes your performance and is a sellable document. The client may disagree with the outcome of penetration testing in the absence of a well-drafted report.
By creating a separate module on report writing skills, EC-Council has made an extraordinary effort of developing relative skills too. ECSA aims to develop all-around skills of potential penetration testers.
7. Fully hands-on with iLabs Cyber Range
ECSA is a hands-on program that demonstrates the real-time experience of specific areas on the penetration testing program to provide a more profound understanding of the concepts. The labs take you through the penetration testing process, beginning from scope and engagement to report writing. The practical approach of the program can be achieved with the effective use of EC-Council’s iLabs Cyber Range.
iLabs Cyber Range gives round-the-clock access to the students to practice their skills at their convenience. It allows you to dynamically access a host of Virtual Machines preconfigured with vulnerabilities, exploits, tools, and scripts from anywhere with an internet connection on one simple click. iLabs are the most cost-effective and easy to use live range lab solution available.
8. Blended with both manual and automated penetration testing approach
ECSA is a combination of both manual and automated penetration testing methodologies. There are many advanced tools available in the market, but without adequate knowledge about it, they cannot be exploited. Having learned manual penetration testing would help you make proper use of high-priced sophisticated tools. ECSA is a perfect blend of both manual and automated penetration testing.
9. Comprehensive scoping and engagement methodology
Most of the penetration testing programs overlook an essential component of defining the scope of the penetration testing process. ECSA has a dedicated module that describes the pre-engagement activities in detail. The module teaches how to initiate and set the scope and Rule and Engagement (RoE) for the penetration test assignment. It is only ECSA that gives you complete knowledge on scoping and engagement methodology.
10. Mapped to NICE 2.0 Framework
ECSA is mapped to NICE 2.0 Framework’s Analyze (AN) and Collect and Operate (CO) specialty area. To elaborate –
Analyze (AN) stand for the specialty areas responsible for highly specialized review and evaluation of incoming cybersecurity information to determine its usefulness for intelligence.
Collect and Operate (CO) stand for the specialty areas responsible for specialized denial and deception operations and collection of cybersecurity information that may be used to develop intelligence.
Being aligned to two specific NICE Framework specialties, ECSA creates a lot of employment potential for those aspiring to be successful penetration testers.
From the overall analysis, we can conclude that ECSA has quite a few strong components that are not included in many other programs. The course curriculum is broader and covers the deeper aspects of penetration testing. EC-Council also provides standard templates for future reference. These templates would serve as handy reference material while performing on-the-job penetration testing till you get accustomed with.
I hope this article will help you in making a firm decision to join ECSA. Would like to know your inputs too, which you can share in the comments below.