New entry-level cyber security exam opens door to cyber profession

The CIISec, QA and APMG urge individuals to take their first steps into the cyber security profession with new entry-level qualification.

The new Information and Cyber Security Foundation (ICSF) Exam

The Chartered Institute of Information Security (CIISec), QA and APMG have partnered to develop the Information and Cyber Security Foundation (ICSF) Exam.  The entry-level exam will help bridge the gap for individuals looking to join the cyber-security profession. The ICSF exam was developed against the CIISec’s knowledge framework and is the ideal gateway into the profession testing a person’s foundation knowledge against 45 skill areas.

Amanda Finch, CEO of CIISec, said the exam will help address the cyber-security skills gap. “The skills shortage is discussed a lot in our industry, so we wanted to collaborate to encourage more new joiners into the profession, to validate a foundational knowledge and help people stand apart at the beginning of their cyber-security careers.”

Finch feels now is a good time to launch this exam with training being sought after by organisations. “At this challenging time, people will be looking to upskill and display the knowledge they have. If someone has taken an interest in the profession, we want them to be able to validate this, and the ICSF exam is the first stepping stone in a cyber-security career.”

The ICSF exam gives people a basic level of knowledge and understanding in Information Security and lowers the technical barrier of entry to the cyber profession by providing topical access to the Cyber Security Body of Knowledge (CyBOK) for Levels 1 and 2.

Individuals who pass the exam will be awarded Accredited Affiliate level CIISec Membership, a digital badge that they can use to promote their achievement on their social media platforms and the postnominal AfCIIS.

Terry Neal, Director of Cyber Business Development at QA, said, “We’re really excited to have devised such a powerful exam. Making sure that there is a standardised way to test foundational knowledge is vital to maintaining and raising the standard of individuals within the profession. The exam is an affordable alternative to other comparable qualifications that often require individuals to take multiple days out of work to attend a course prior to gaining the qualification.”

The ICSF is a self-study, proctored examination comprising 100 multiple-choice questions in a two-hour exam, with a pass mark of 65% and distinction of 80%. The exam will be taken online and remotely proctored through the APMG portal. A copy of the CIISec Knowledge Framework will be provided to each examinee for self-study purposes.

Who are we?

The Chartered Institute of Information Security (CIISec)

The Chartered Institute of Information Security (CIISec) is the only pure play information security institution to have been granted Royal Charter status and is dedicated to raising the standard of professionalism in information security. CIISec is here to help individuals and organisations develop capability and competency.


QA is the UK’s leading learning organisation providing training, consultancy, apprenticeships and post graduate degrees on a range of technical, business and leadership subjects.  With over 22 UK training centres – including their Apprenticeships and Consulting Academies – and a range of online learning options, QA offer an unparalleled set of learning solutions to both private and public sector organisations.


APMG International is a leading Examination Institute which accredits professional training and consulting organisations and manage certification schemes for knowledge-based workers. They have a global reach, with regional offices located around the world.

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