GIAC Information Security Fundamentals – GISF

by Mirek Burnejko

GISFThe GISF certification in the first from the Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC) portfolio and covers basic aspects of security in an organization from the IT perspective, but it is mainly directed to non-technical people. The GIFS certification concentrates on the practical skills needed to apply basic security concepts on the job.

Certifications provided by GIAC are very respected in the IT industry. First, the exams are very expensive. Second, official trainings are also expensive. Only the biggest organizations and people who seriously think about their future as security experts, can afford it.

What Exams You Must Pass to Become GISF Certified?

You must pass two online challenge exams and one proctored exam.
If you want to attend an official training, you will pass two online exams during the training.
If you choose preparation without an official training, you must pass both exams and one proctored exam during four months (from the date of buying an access to the exam).
You do not need any prerequisites to become a GISF certified.

Format of the Exam

You have 2 hours to answer to answer 75 single/multi-choice questions.
On the exam you can use reference materials, notes, books. You can’t use your own electronic devices.
Access to the exam system is through a web browser.

You also can try a simulation of the exam on the official site after FREE registration (50 questions, 50 minutes, level: entry).

Where You Can Pass the GISF Exam

You can pass the proctored GISF exam in the nearest Kryterion Testing Center
The challenge exams you can pass on your own computer.

How Much Does the GIFS Exam Cost

The exam costs $899. If you attend the official SANS training, you will pay for the exam only $549.

How To Renew Your GISF Certification

The certification is valid for 4 years.
To renew the certification you have two options.

  • First Option
  • You must collect 36 CMUs (Certification Maintenance Units) after two years, from the date of passing the GISF exam. You have few options to earn CMUs.
    • Pass any other GIAC exam (36 CMUs)
    • Attend to SANS or ISO 17024 related training (1 CMU for 1 hour)
    • Publish information assurance research paper or book (36 CMUs)
    • And much more
    • You must also pay $399 for maintenance of the GISF certification.
  • Second Option
  • Pass the actual GISF exam (You will pay for that $399)

Scope of the GIFS exam

The exam concentrates almost on every aspect of security, on the fundamental level. An actual list of the topics on the exam you can find at the bottom of the official website.

How To Prepare to the Exam?

  • Books that will help you with your preparation process:
  • Official Trainings
    • GIAC recommends an official training SEC301: Intro to Information Security. We can find three options of that training. For each of these options you will pay only $549 for the GISF certification exam.
      • Live Training Options for $3945 (5 days)
      • Books and MP3s for $3300
      • Online for $3750
  • Other
    • Materials for the Security+ certification – for example CBT Nuggets for $200
    • For people who want to understand more advanced topics we recommend also materials for CISSP, SSCP and CEH

Examples of Job Opportunities


Success Story

If you interested with sharing your success story with GIFS please contact me.

Questions and Answers

Q: What about the DOD 8570 Directive? Do I need the GIFS certification for any Information Assurance β€œIA” position?
A: The GIFS certification gives you access for jobs that require IAM Level I certifications.

Q: Where can I check if my certification is valid and for how long?
A: You can check it on the official GIAC website. GIAC provides a database of all GIFS specialist with the date of the exam and an expiration of the cert.

Q: Will I receive any official certification after passing the exam.
A: Yes, you will receive a GIAC framed certificate.

Q: I have two certifications from GIAC. Can I collect 36 CMUs and renew both certifications?
A: No, 36 CMUs are for one certification. For two certifications you must collect 72 CMUs, pay $598 ($399 for the first certification and $199 for each next) or you must pass each exam one more time.

  • Tim

    The reason for being respect is “Expensive”? Can any one compare this one with CISSP?

    • https://plus.google.com/108328874444155670950/posts?=author ICM

      Hi Tim.
      You are right, CISSP is also very expensive and hard to pass. It is also every year, on almost all TOP lists for security certifications. Like here.
      GISF and other GIAC certrifications are expensive, maybe not the hardest to pass (GISF), but for sure hard to maintenance. Even the SCCP certification from (ISC)2, which is harder than GISF, is easier to maintenance.
      Of course all these comparisons aren’t the best, because, SSCP, CISSP, GIFS, Secutiry+ are directed to deifferent people.

      We can or can’t agree with that, but for the GIAC certifications, the price is one of the fundamental compontents of uniqueness.

  • Tim

    Thanks, I passed CISSP exam 7 years ago but I have never got a chance to work in the security field.