CISSP vs. CISM: Which Certification is Preferable?

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CISSP versus CISM Certifications

Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) are the most well-known and globally recognized certifications in the field of IT security. Both are highly organized to deliver the knowledge and skills that are required by candidates who wish to make their careers in security and management. 

CISSP and CISM both have certain requirements and none of them can be accomplished without hard study. However, the perks and market demand that is offered for these credentials make them worth gaining. The job roles for these certified candidates include Chief information security officer, Cybersecurity Manager, IT Security Engineer, Information Security Assurance Analyst, SOC Analyst, Security Architect Senior Information Security Risk Officer, and such other positions.

In this blog, we will discuss CISSP and CISM certifications simultaneously so that you can easily decide which of the certifications is more suitable for you to take.

Domain Variations of CISSP and CISM

CISSP domains

CISM Domains

Exam Overview of CISSP and CISM

Certification Provider (ISC)2 ISACA
Number of questions 125 – 175 questions 150 questions
Exam time 4 hours 4 hours
Type of questions Multiple choice questions Multiple choice questions
Exam language English English, Japanese, Spanish, Chinese Simplified
Passing score 700 out of 1000 points 450 or higher
Testing center (ISC)² Authorized PPC and PVTC Select Pearson VUE Testing Centers Online proctoring exam or testing center
Exam cost $749 Members: $575 Non-members: $760
ExAnnual maintenance cost U.S. $125 Members: $45 Nonmembers: U.S. $85 (If you have a 3rd or 4th ISACA certification, the fee for those will be reduced to $25 for members and $50 for non-members.)

Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Credits Requirement for CISSP and CISM

CPE credits are important to attain if an applicant wishes to keep the certification valid. They are achieved through various courses, conferences and other materials that are important to keep your knowledge up-to-date.

CPE Credits for CISSP

Candidates must gain at least 120 CPEs every three years, and maintain (ISC)² membership. 

CPE Credits for CISM

Candidates must complete around 40 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits per year to complete 120 CPEs over three years.

Experience Requirements

Which Certification Is Best- CISSP Or CISM?

Now that you have read a detailed comparison of CISSP and CISM, it’s time to make an analytical overview. You need to consider certain key factors like the requirements of an exam, exam cost, CPE credits, perks gained through a certification, etc. 

Considering the perks and advantages, you may be relieved to know that the job roles offered to both certifications are similar. As far as exam cost and maintenance cost is concerned, there is a significant margin between the two. CISM offers more relaxation in terms of experience requirements. CPE Credits requirements don’t differ much. However, the difficulty level of the CISSP and CISM varies from person to person. You need to have a deep course analysis to decide which certification would be an easy-go for you.


The difficulty level of CISSP and CISM depends on which exam to be taken. Some may find CISSP easier while others may think that CISM is easier. If you have good preparation, you can pass either of the exams successfully. 

CISM and CISSP are the certifications that are highly recognized in the field of Cybersecurity or IT security. If you compare the two certifications, surveys have shown that candidates who took any of these certifications have seen a significant career uplift.

CISM and CISSP are two different certifications that enable you to learn the same specialized skills for security and management. The core learnings of the two certifications are the same. You can choose to take any certification. 

Yes, you can pass CISSP in 3 months. You need to study hard to learn all the concepts that are included in the course. If you have learned all the concepts that are required to pass the exam and practiced the concepts thoroughly, it would get easier for you to pass the exam successfully. 

The CISM exam is a worthy certification that you can take if you wish to develop a career in a management role involving technical skills.



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