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Network security

With organisations increasingly dependent on their information systems, there is a greater need to ensure that the underlying network infrastructure being used by these systems is secure. We are a leading Cisco Academy and this Cisco Certified Networking Associate (CCNA) Security module will give you a foundation to prepare for the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) qualification. It will provide you with the knowledge, understanding and practical experience of managing secure communication across a large-scale internetwork using Cisco equipment. You will also be expected to undertake individual research to contextualise your Cisco study in the broader security management environment.


Start End England fee Register
07 Nov 2015 Apr 2016 £1388.00

Registration closes 30/09/15 (places subject to availability)

Click to register
This module is expected to start for the last time in November 2020.

What you will study

Cisco Systems is a worldwide market leader supplying networking equipment for the Internet to large, medium and small organisations, as well as the home user. It also has a long-established international networking academy programme aimed at educating networking professionals. Cisco certifications are highly regarded in the networking industry, offering certification holders and their employers a commercial and technical advantage.

In this module you will study the latest version of the CCNA Security curriculum using an online virtual learning environment provided by Cisco through its academy programme. Additionally, you will be guided through material that covers different parts of the CISSP core body of knowledge.

Once you have completed this module, you will be equipped to take the CCNA Security certification and have a foundation upon which to complete your preparation for taking the CISSP certification examination. Both the CCNA Security and CISSP examinations can be taken at many test centres internationally, by your own arrangement. You do not need CCNA certification to successfully complete this Open University module. However, there is a Cisco requirement that to become fully CCNA Security or CCNP certified, you must already have CCNA certification. The CCNA curriculum is taught on Cisco networking (CCNA) (T216).

This module focuses on advanced practical and skills development: you will be expected to configure routers, firewalls and other network security devices with a range of addressing, routing and security technologies. The hands on practical lab experience will be available via the Packet Tracer network simulator.

You will cover network security threats; operations, physical and environmental security; network infrastructure and devices; security architecture and design; authentication, authorisation and auditing; firewalls and, intrusion prevention; cryptography and virtual private networks; and information security risk management.

This 30-credit module is studied over six months and you will need to spend at least 12 hours a week studying over this period.

This is the recommended second module for the Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Networking (E51). See the qualification description for full details of study order.

For queries on module content, you may contact the module team directly by sending an email.

For full details of the Cisco academy programme see the academy website. Additional information about the CISSP certification programme can be found on the (ISC)2 website.

Vocational relevance

Upon completion of the Cisco CCNA Security® curriculum you’ll be in a position to take the associated CCNA Security certification, an internationally recognised advanced work-based qualification.


This is a postgraduate module, where we assume you have relevant academic, employment or commercial certification experience. The module provides additional Cisco-specific access material based on CCNA. However, learners who have completed Cisco networking (CCNA) (T216), or have experience of the CCNA as a commercial certification or at another Cisco academy will be at an advantage.

The main study material is provided as online material (for CCNA-Security) as well as a printed textbook for the CISSP content, and additional key materialas online material is online and so you should be confident in the use of a computer to access the internet and be prepared to spend much of your study time online. Broadband access is essential. The study material contains active content, which means that you will need to set up your firewall to allow pop-ups from the Cisco and OU sites.

Your spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you will need a minimum overall score of 6 and minimum score of 5.5 in each of the four components: reading, writing, speaking and listening under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see the IELTS website for details.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.


T828 is a compulsory module in our:

T828 is an optional module in our:

This module can also count towards C02, F05 and F37, which are no longer available to new students.

Some postgraduate qualifications allow study to be chosen from other subject areas. We advise you to refer to the relevant qualification descriptions for information on the circumstances in which this module can count towards these qualifications because from time to time the structure and requirements may change.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

If you have a disability

The module is delivered through the Cisco and OU virtual learning environments, and some of the materials are available online.

Some components may not be fully accessible using a screen reader. If you use specialist software or hardware to access the internet and have concerns about accessing this type of material, it is recommended that you contact us before you register for the module to discuss it further.

You should visit the Cisco accessibility pages on the Cisco website for further information on accessibility and using ‘JAWS for Windows’ screen reading software.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Find out more about our services for disabled students.

Study materials

What's included

Access to the Cisco online networking material and additional supplementary material supplied via the dedicated website, a textbook covering the CISSP core body of knowledge (including CISSP exam practice software) and access to the University’s extensive collection of online journals.

You will need

You must have a broadband connection to the internet as there is a large quantity of study material which has to be accessed online.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this module as the study materials and activities are accessible via a web browser. Any other computer-based activities you will need to carry out, such as word processing, using spreadsheets, taking part in online forums, and submitting files to the university for assessment, are specified in the module materials. If any additional software is needed for these tasks it will either be provided or is freely available.

We recommend either of the following:

  • Windows desktop or laptop computer running Windows 7 or later operating system
  • Macintosh desktop or laptop computer running OS X 10.7 or later operating system.

A netbook, tablet, smartphone or Linux computer that supports one of the browsers listed below may be suitable. The screen size should be at least 1024 (H) x 768 (W) pixels. If you intend to use one of these devices please ensure you have access to a suitable desktop or laptop computer in case you are unable to carry out all the module activities on your mobile device.

We recommend a minimum 1 Mbps internet connection and any of the following browsers:

  • Internet Explorer 9 and above
  • Apple Safari 7 and above
  • Google Chrome 31 and above
  • Mozilla Firefox 31 and above.

Note: using the latest version for your browser will maximise security when accessing the internet. Using company or library computers may prevent you accessing some internet materials or installing additional software.

See our Skills for OU study website for further information about computing skills for study and educational deals for buying Microsoft Office software.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material, mark and comment on your written work and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. Your tutor is the first point of contact for any queries on the module. 

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

Professional recognition

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) recognises the CCNP as a membership criterion and a milestone towards Chartered Engineer status. For further information about the IET, visit their website.

Students also studied

Students who studied this course also studied at some time:

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in November 2015. We expect it to be available once a year.

How to register

To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.

Distance learning

The Open University is the world's leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you're at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you'll be supported throughout your studies - your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information about distance learning at the OU read Study explained.

Course facts
About this course:
Course code T828
Credits 30
OU Level Postgraduate
SCQF level 11
FHEQ level 7
Course work includes:
3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
No residential school

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