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CCNA Security Expired: Top Alternatives in 2024

CCNA Security Expired - Top Alternatives in 2024

The CCNA Security Certification 210-260 was an associate-level certification. It was a medium to test skills in securing Cisco networks. It covered network security, VPNs, firewalls, and intrusion prevention systems. This certification was ideal for network security specialists, security administrators, and network engineers. It helped them enhance their skills and advance their careers in cybersecurity.

Cisco announced the discontinuation of CCNA Security certification in 2020. The last day to test was February 24, 2020. Cisco decided to simplify its certification offerings by discontinuing it. Cisco wanted to focus on newer and more relevant security certifications. Instead, they recommend pursuing the CCNP Security certification or Cybersecurity certifications. Is CyberOps Associate the best option? This article lets you determine your next step, as the old CCNA Security certification is gone. Also, you will get a brief idea about the Cisco alternatives to follow.

CCNA Security 210-260 Certification Alternatives

There are a few alternatives to the discontinued CCNA Security 210-260 certification. Let’s go through the overview of those.

200-301 CCNA- The New CCNA

It validates the skills to install, configure, operate, and troubleshoot medium-sized networks. The certification covers many networking topics, including security, automation, and programmability.

Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate

This certification focuses on cybersecurity operations. It covers security monitoring, incident response, and network intrusion analysis. It provides more specialized and in-depth coverage of security skills. The CyberOps Associate is the best alternative if you want a security-focused role.

CCNP Security

Cisco Security certification Track

The CCNP Security certification is a higher-level security certification from Cisco. It is built on the foundational knowledge gained from the CCNA and covers advanced security topics. It is suitable for experienced security professionals looking to specialize further. This can be your logical next step if you have the CCNA Security Certification.

Detailed overview of CCNA Security Alternatives

200-301 CCNA

The New CCNA 200-301 certification is a foundational networking certification. It covers a wide range of basic networking topics. This certification is ideal for entry-level network professionals. It’s for those who want to gain a solid understanding of networking fundamentals and security.

Security Domain in CCNA

Security topics consist of 15% of the new CCNA 200-301 syllabus. The key topics covered in the CCNA 200-301 exam are:

  • Network Fundamentals. Understanding network fundamentals, including TCP/IP protocols, network devices, and network services.
  • Network Access. Configuring and verifying network access, including switch and router configurations.
  • IP Connectivity. Understanding IP connectivity, including IP addressing, subnetting, and routing.
  • IP Services. Understanding IP services, including DNS, DHCP, and HTTP.
  • Security Fundamentals. Understanding security fundamentals, including security threats, vulnerabilities, and mitigation techniques.
  • Automation and Programmability. Understanding automation and programmability, including Python scripting and automation tools.

CCNA Security vs New CCNA

CCNA Security 210-260 vs Cisco Certified Network Associate CCNA 200-301

The new CCNA 200-301 syllabus has undergone significant changes, particularly in security content, compared to the deprecated CCNA Security syllabus.

Consolidation and Focus

The retired CCNA Security included security topics under the “Infrastructure Security” domain, which was spread across different domains and focused on specific security features and configurations. The new CCNA 200-301 consolidates all security-related topics into one domain, which is the “Security Fundamentals”. It focuses on a broader understanding of security principles and practices.

Content Depth

The new CCNA syllabus provides a more comprehensive overview of security fundamentals, including modern security practices and technologies. The old syllabus focused more on specific security configurations and protocols relevant to routing and switching.

New Topics

The new CCNA 200-301 syllabus introduces topics like endpoint security and security monitoring that were not covered in the old syllabus. The new syllabus also includes a stronger emphasis on secure network access and management protocols.

Practical Application

Both syllabi include practical applications of security concepts. But the CCNA 200-301 focuses more on understanding and applying security policies and procedures as a whole.

Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate

Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate certification focuses on skills and knowledge for Security Operations Center roles. It covers key cybersecurity operations like security monitoring, incident response, etc.

Major Security Domains in CyberOps Associate

  • Security Concepts: Candidates must understand basic security principles, including the CIA triad (Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability), common threats, and vulnerabilities. They must also understand the importance of security policies and procedures.
  • Security Monitoring: The exam assesses the candidate’s ability to use various security monitoring tools and techniques to detect and analyze potential security incidents. This includes monitoring network traffic, analyzing logs, and identifying indicators of compromise.
  • Host-based Analysis: To detect and investigate security incidents, candidates must show expertise in analyzing host-based data, such as system logs, event logs, and memory dumps.
  • Network Intrusion Analysis: The exam tests skills in analyzing network traffic. It checks the ability to find and respond to network intrusions, including using network security tools and techniques.
  • Security Policies and Procedures: Candidates must understand security policies, procedures, and best practices, including incident response planning, threat intelligence, and SOC metrics.
  • IT Infrastructure and Operations: The exam also tests knowledge of IT infrastructure and operations. This includes network architecture, cloud security, and automation.

CCNA Security vs CyberOps Associate

CCNA Security 210-260 vs Cisco CyberOps Associate


The CCNA Security certification focused on networking fundamentals, routing and switching, and security. On the other hand, the CyberOps certification focuses on completely different topics, such as cybersecurity operations, threat analysis, incident response, and security monitoring.


The CyberOps certification has no formal prerequisites. However, for CyberOps Associate, a basic understanding of networking and cybersecurity principles is helpful.

Exam Format

The CCNA Security 210-260 certification exam was multiple-choice, testing networking concepts and principles. The CyberOps certification exam also includes multiple-choice tests, which test knowledge of cybersecurity operations, threat analysis, incident response, and security monitoring.

CCNP Security

With the retirement of the CCNA Security certification, the CCNP Security certification is a good alternative. The CCNP Security certification is for skilled professionals who are skilled in securing Cisco networks. It tests advanced skills to secure network infrastructures and protect data and devices. You can now take the CCNP Security Core exam without passing the new CCNA exam first.

Core Topics of CCNP Security Certification

  • Security Concepts: Understanding fundamental security principles, including confidentiality, integrity, and availability (CIA triad).
  • Network Security: Implementing and managing network security solutions. This includes firewalls, VPNs, and intrusion prevention systems (IPS).
  • Securing the Cloud: Securing cloud environments and understanding cloud security concepts.
  • Content Security: Implementing content security solutions to protect against threats like malware and phishing.
  • Endpoint Protection and Detection: Securing endpoints and implementing detection mechanisms.
  • Secure Network Access, Visibility, and Enforcement: Manage secure access to networks and provide visibility and enforcement of security policies.

Watch our YouTube videos about CCNP security questions.

CCNA Security vs CCNP Security

CCNA Security 210-260 vs Cisco Security Core Technologies SCOR 350-701

Depth of Knowledge

The CCNA Security exam covered foundational security concepts and basic configurations. The CCNP Security curriculum goes into much greater depth. It addresses advanced topics such as cloud security, content security, endpoint protection, etc.


The CCNP Security certification allows you to specialize in specific security domains. It’s done by choosing a concentration exam. This enables you to develop expertise in areas that align with your career goals.

Exam Structure

The CCNA Security exam was 90 minutes long and consisted of 60-70 questions. The CCNP Security core exam is 120 minutes long and has approximately 102 questions. The concentration exams are 90 minutes long and have 55-65 questions.

Related: Benefits of Cisco CCNP Certification

New CCNA vs CyberOps vs CCNP Security: Which is the Best Alternative in Y2024?

After reviewing the options, it’s time to determine the one as the best alternative. When deciding on the best alternative, you must consider some factors.

Career Goals

Assess your current role, future aspirations, and the skills you need to develop. This will help you determine which certification is the most suitable option.

Depth of Security Knowledge

If you’re looking for a more specialized and in-depth understanding of security, the CyberOps Associate or CCNP Security certifications may be the better choice. The CCNA 200-301 provides a broader networking foundation with some security coverage.

Experience Level

The CCNA 200-301 is an entry-level certification. However, the CyberOps Associate and CCNP Security are more advanced. Consider your current experience and the level of expertise you want to showcase.

Time and Resources

Prepare for the certification that best suits your needs. Consider your available time, budget, and learning resources. The CCNA 200-301 may take less time and effort than other certifications.

Related: What can CCNA Certification do for you?

Final Thoughts

The new CCNA 200-301 is a good alternative for CCNA Security. It is suitable for network administrators, engineers, and professionals. If you want a solid foundation in networking with some security knowledge, it’s for you. CyberOps Associate is ideal for careers in cybersecurity operations, incident response, and security analysis. CCNP Security is best for security engineers, security specialists, and professionals aiming for senior security roles.

Apart from the Cisco certifications, you can consider CompTIA Security+. It covers fundamental security concepts and principles. You can go for Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). It focuses on ethical hacking and penetration testing skills. Palo Alto Networks Certified Network Security Administrator (PCNSA) can also be a good option. It’s a certification for Palo Alto Networks security products.


How does the security content in the new CCNA 200-301 exam compare to the old CCNA Security?

The new CCNA 200-301 exam includes a dedicated security domain covering about 15% of the content, providing a broad overview of security fundamentals. The old CCNA Security was more focused on specific security configurations and technologies.

How important is hands-on lab experience for the new CCNA security topics?

Hands-on lab experience is crucial for mastering the security concepts and configurations covered in the new CCNA 200-301 exam, as it allows candidates to apply theoretical knowledge in a practical setting.

What are the benefits of obtaining the CyberOps Associate certification compared to the new CCNA 200-301?

The CyberOps Associate certification is specifically designed for security operations roles, providing more specialized and practical skills in security monitoring, incident response, and network intrusion analysis. It can be a better fit for those who want cybersecurity operations careers.

What are the key differences between the CyberOps Associate and the new CCNA 200-301 regarding security coverage?

The CyberOps Associate certification provides a more specialized and in-depth focus on cybersecurity operations. On the other hand, the new CCNA 200-301 offers a broader overview of security fundamentals as part of a comprehensive networking curriculum.

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