Comprehensive CCNP Security Study Guide: A Roadmap to Success

If you want to grow and make your way in the IT industry as a network security professional, CCNP Security is the certification you're looking for.

This certification assesses whether you have knowledge in network security, endpoint protection and detection, secure access, and basic network management.

In the following blog, we will understand this certification, the benefits it offers, and how to use and create a reliable study guide with appropriate resources to successfully obtain your certification.

CCNP Security Certification Overview

A. What is CCNP Security? 

CCNP Security is a certification that validates an individual's skills and knowledge in the implementation and operation of core network technologies, cloud security, security solutions, network protection, and other key network security concepts.

B. Benefits of CCNP Security Certification 

  • Credibility with Companies 

    Cisco is a recognized provider in the IT industry. Obtaining this certification will make you stand out among other professionals and give companies more confidence in hiring you.

  • Professional Growth 

    Achieving this milestone helps you grow professionally as you acquire and validate new knowledge.

  • Better Job Opportunities 

    With this certification, you add more value to your knowledge and skills, enabling you to pursue better job positions and higher earning potential.

C. Prerequisites for CCNP Security 

You don't need prerequisites to take this exam; however, a basic understanding of network security and at least one year of practical experience in the field are recommended.

D. Exam Format and Structure

To become certified as a CCNP Security professional, you must take an exam that assesses your knowledge in network security and one concentration exam to specialize in an area.

These exams consist of multiple-choice questions and fill-in-the-blank questions. The first exam has around 120 questions with a duration of 120 minutes, and the concentration exams typically have 55-60 questions with a duration of 90 minutes.

E. Exam registration Process

  1. 1

    Knowing the exam name and number. 

  2. 2

    Registering personal information such as legal name, Cisco certification ID or test ID number, company name, valid email address, and payment method. 

  3. 3

    If you have taken Cisco exams before, locate your Cisco certification ID to avoid duplicate issues. 

  4. 4

    Register on Pearson VUE if you don't have an account, as this is the authorized platform for Cisco exams. 

  5. 5

    You can access Pearson VUE and search for the certification at the the Pearson VUE website

F. Exam Costs and Passing Score

The exam costs $400, and the concentration exams cost $300, although this may vary depending on the location of the individual.

Core Topics of CCNP Security

First, let's understand the objectives of the first exam that you need to pass.

A. Implementing and Operating Cisco Security Core Technologies (SCOR) 

  1. 1

    Security Content 25% 

    Explore local and cloud threats, common security vulnerabilities, virtual tunnel interfaces, VPN, controls used against phishing attacks.

  2. 2

    Network Security 20% 

    Understand security solutions, attack prevention, network infrastructure configuration, access control, segmentation policies.

  3. 3

    Cloud Security 15% 

    Understand public, private, hybrid, and community clouds, SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, cloud security solutions, monitoring methodologies, privacy policies.

  4. 4

    Content Security 15% 

    Identity and authentication for web proxy, capture methods for web proxy, configure email security methods for local, remote, and hybrid users, benefits of Cisco Umbrella.

  5. 5

    Endpoint Protection and Detection 10% 

    Configure and verify outbreak control, understand endpoint anti-malware protection configuration, understand Cisco Secure Endpoint, endpoint protection (EPP), and endpoint detection and response (EDR).

  6. 6

    Secure Network Access, Visibility, and Enforcement 15% 

    Identity management, network access, profiling, network access with CoA, application control, network telemetry.

B. Concentration Exams 

  1. 1

    Security Identity Management and Secure Access (SISE) 

    Understand the knowledge of Cisco Identity Services Engine, architecture, and implementation, policy enforcement, device management, operational efficiency, network visibility.

  2. 2

    Cisco Threat Response (CTBR) 

    Integrate threat intelligence into security solutions, threat identification and response, security analysis, detect and analyze types of threats.

  3. 3

    Securing Networks with Cisco Firepower (SNCF) 

    Understand knowledge about Cisco Secure Firewall, Cisco Secure Firewall Management Center, implementations, configuration, management, and troubleshooting, policy management.

  4. 4

    Implementing Secure Solutions with Virtual Private Networks (SVPN)

    Architecture and secure troubleshooting, remote and secure communications, virtual private network (VPN) solution, monitoring and support, security and encryption, enhanced privacy.

Study Resources for CCNP Security

There are various resources available to prepare and build your study library, many of which are official resources, and others are from recognized providers within the industry.

A. Official Cisco Learning Materials 

CCNP Security Cisco Secure Firewall and Intrusion Prevention System Official Cert Guide Premium Edition eBook and Practice Test

This guide includes practice exams and practical questions that will help you prepare for your exam.

You will reinforce your knowledge of configuration, integration, implementation, and management. 

CCNP Security Cisco Secure Firewall and Intrusion Prevention System Official Cert Guide

You will master the exam topics and objectives, key concepts, practice questions, and all the training needed to take your exam. 

B. Cisco E-Learning 

Implementing and Operating Cisco Security Core Technologies (SCOR) v1.0

You will grasp the fundamentals of network security, network strategy, network technology through labs and practice videos.

SCOR E-Learning and Exam Bundle  

Here, you will access practical labs, practice questions, training videos for 180 days, understanding the basic and key objectives to obtain your CCNP Security certification. 

C. Third-party Study Guides 

Udemy | CCNP SECURITY - CORE SCOR-350-701  

This course consists of 30 hours of on-demand video, 1 article, a certification certificate, providing a comprehensive focus on the exam with key concepts in configuration, security, management, and infrastructure. 

Pluralsight | Cisco SCOR (350-701) for CCNP Security

In this course, you will learn the fundamentals of security, network access, visibility, VPN configuration, infrastructure, and cloud security. It includes 12 courses and has a duration of 24 hours. 

D. Practice Labs and Simulations 

Testprep | CCNP Security (350-701 SCOR) Practice Exam

This practice exam will help you become familiar with the format of the actual exam, covering all the objectives and key points of the exam such as security concepts, network security, cloud security, and content security. 

Cisco Learning | Implementing Secure Solutions with Virtual Private Networks (SVPN) v1.0  

Here, you can perform practical security labs to verify the knowledge you've gained so far. It also includes training videos and access for 180 days. 

E. Video Tutorials for Beginners

Simplilearn | Network Security Engineer Full Course 2023 | Learn Networking In 4 Hours  

In this 4-hour video tutorial, you will receive an introduction to network security, learning both basic and advanced concepts, among other important topics. 

Sysable IT solutions | CCNP Security 300-710 Introduction

With this video tutorial, you will understand all the objectives of one of the concentration exams (SNCF), including installation, configuration, and verification. 

F. CCNP Security Study Communities

Cisco | Security Certifications Community

In this online forum, you can share technical questions and doubts that other professionals who have already obtained their certification can answer and clarify for you. 

Facebook | CCNP/CCIE Security Study  

In this group, you can stay in constant communication with individuals who are in the same training process and with knowledgeable professionals who can address any concerns or provide advice and resources to use. 

Study Strategies to Prepare for Success

To achieve success in your exam, you must properly manage your study strategies. At this point, we will understand the most common ones.

  • Creating a Study Plan 

    Your study plan is the first step. You should approach it with an effective learning method that works for you, whether it's theoretical or practical. This makes it easier to stay consistent in following it.

  • Setting Realistic Goals 

    Set weekly and monthly learning goals. This will help you stay consistent and assess how your knowledge is progressing each week, or if you need to reinforce it.

  • Effective Time Management 

    Practice exams to learn how to manage your time when taking the real exam. Dividing the exam time by the number of questions will give you an approximate time to spend on each question.

  • The Importance of Hands-on Practice 

    By putting all acquired knowledge into practice, you can validate and evaluate whether you truly understand each concept and are capable of applying it in real life.

  • Using Practice Exams

    Practice exams are highly effective for assessing knowledge, strengths, and weaknesses, as well as establishing time management and becoming familiar with the format and questions of the exam.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Many people stumble and make the following mistakes when preparing for the exam, and these are errors you should avoid at all costs.

  • Procrastination

    Postponing goals and objectives disrupts your study plan and only prolongs the time it takes to obtain your certification, affecting your learning.

  • Overloading with Resources

    Most people tend to use various resources and overload themselves with information. It's not necessary to use thousands of resources if you won't acquire knowledge effectively. 

  • Ignoring Hands-on Practice

    You should not focus solely on theory; practice is key to obtaining this certification. Only through practice can you evaluate if knowledge was acquired correctly and if you can handle a real-world situation.

  • Neglecting Time Management

    It's important to stick to your time management strategy. Keep in mind that time keeps ticking, and focusing all your attention on a single question can affect the rest of the exam.


Understanding the exam objectives is crucial for crafting an effective study plan, utilizing reliable resources, and avoiding common mistakes while following recommended advice. 

This certification is widely recognized in the industry, enhancing your professional credibility and significantly boosting your prospects for securing excellent job opportunities, ultimately fostering both personal and career growth.


1. How difficult is the CCNP Security exam?

This is one of the most advanced certifications, so it can have a high level of difficulty, although it depends on each individual's skills and knowledge.

2. Can I take the exams online?

Yes, you can take these exams online.

3. How long does it take to prepare for CCNP Security?

It depends on the individual, but it takes approximately 3-6 months of preparation and 1 year of practice.

4. Is hands-on experience necessary?

You don't need prior experience, but practical experience is recommended for better chances of success.

5. What are the job prospects after CCNP Security certification?

Job prospects are high. You can pursue positions such as cybersecurity analyst, network engineer, security administrator.

About the author


Youssef is a Senior Cloud Consultant & Founder of

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