Red Hat Tests Security Skills

Red Hat is launching what it says is the first performance-based security certification for enterprise Linux servers, officials announced Thursday. The security track, Red Hat Certified Security Specialist (RHCSS), covers a wide range of security-centric offerings, including setting up directory services and authentication, SELinux security policy administration and configuring VPNs.

Most Linux security courses are just tests conducted either online or offline, said Leigh Day, a Red Hat spokeswoman. Red Hat courses, on the other hand, are always hands-on with exams putting students in front of a terminal. Employers look at certifications, or certs, as an indication of a baseline of knowledge in the particular area, whether its the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) or CompTIA’s A+ course.

Linux is considered by its advocates as fundamentally more secure than other operating systems, notably the bug-prone but dominant Windows OS. But with the rise in popularity for the open source OS, so too is its attractiveness to malware writers looking for vulnerabilities to exploit. Similarly, companies want trained IT staffers to mitigate that threat and manage the network.

“Employers are looking to bring in the Linux skill set,” Day said. “We’ve seen a great demand from our top customers using Red Hat Linux, people internally that can manage their enterprise Linux deployments as they are increasing in scale.”

The certification track consists of eight courses, conducted entirely at one of Red Hat’s 150 training sites worldwide. Day said the courses will initially be offered in the U.S. with expansion overseas in the future.

Prospects must have already gained their Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) certification before taking on RHCSS.

Last year the company announced a two-year security roadmap for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, focused on certification of its products and standards compliance.

Earlier this year Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 was released with the notable inclusion of SElinux, a joint venture between Red Hat and the National Security Agency (NSA), which provides the enhanced security features favored by the government and businesses alike.


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