Network security

With organisations increasingly dependent on their information systems, there’s a greater need to ensure that these systems’ underlying network infrastructure is secure. We’re a Cisco Academy, and this Cisco Certified Networking Associate Security (NetSec) module provides a foundation on which to prepare for the CyberOps Associate certification. It provides the knowledge, understanding and practical experience of managing secure communication across a large-scale internetwork using Cisco equipment. You’ll also undertake individual research to contextualise your Cisco study in the broader security management environment.

Vocational relevance

Upon completion of the Cisco Network Security® curriculum you’ll be in a position to take the associated Network Security certification and Cybersecurity Operations Associate certification, internationally recognised advanced work-based qualifications.


T828 is a compulsory module in our:

T828 is an option module in our:

Excluded combinations

Sometimes you will not be able to count a module towards a qualification if you have already taken another module with similar content. To check any excluded combinations relating to this module, visit our excluded combination finder or check with an adviser before registering.


Module code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
Study level
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to these frameworks.
OU Postgraduate
Study method
Distance learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

What you will study

Cisco 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’ll study the latest version of the Network Security curriculum using an online virtual learning environment provided by Cisco through its academy programme (NetAcad). Additionally, you will be guided through material that covers different parts of the CyberOps Associate core body of knowledge.

Once you have completed this module, you will be equipped to take the Network Security certification and have a foundation upon which to complete your preparation for taking the CyberOps certification examination. Both the Network Security and CyberOps examinations can be taken at many test centres internationally, by your own arrangement. You do not need NetSec certification to successfully complete this Open University module. However, there is a Cisco requirement that to become fully Network Security or CCNP certified, you must already have Network certification. We teach the CCNA curriculum at OU level 2 on Cisco networking CCNA part 1 (TM257) and OU level 3 on Cisco networking (CCNA) part 2 (TM357).

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 and dedicated Virtual Machines.

You’ll 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
  • 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.

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 CyberOps certification programme can be found on the Cisco website.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Throughout your module studies, you’ll get help and support from your assigned module tutor. They’ll help you by:

  • Marking your assignments (TMAs) and providing detailed feedback for you to improve.
  • Guiding you to additional learning resources.
  • Providing individual guidance, whether that’s for general study skills or specific module content.
  • Facilitating online discussions between your fellow students, in the dedicated module and tutor group forums.

The module chair or module tutors run occasional drop-in sessions. While these sessions won’t be compulsory for you to complete the module, you’re strongly encouraged to take part. If you want to participate, you’ll likely need a headset with a microphone.


The assessment details can be found in the facts box.

Course work includes

3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment

Future availability

Network security (T828) starts once a year – in November.

This page describes the module that will start in November 2024.

We expect it to start for the last time in November 2028.


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

Entry requirements

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 Network Security. However, learners who have completed the discontinued module Cisco networking (CCNA) (T216) or at least Cisco networking (CCNA) part 1 (TM257), 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 NetSec) as well as online CyberOps Associate materials, and additional key material is also online. Therefore 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.


Start End England fee Register
01 Nov 2024 Apr 2025 £1660.00

Registration closes 03/10/24 (places subject to availability)

This module is expected to start for the last time in November 2028.

Future availability

Network security (T828) starts once a year – in November.

This page describes the module that will start in November 2024.

We expect it to start for the last time in November 2028.

Additional costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

Ways to pay for this module

We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how much it’s going to cost and how you can pay.

That’s why we keep our fees as low as possible and offer a range of flexible payment and funding options, including a postgraduate loan, if you study this module as part of an eligible qualification. To find out more, see Fees and funding.

Study materials

What's included

Access to the Cisco online networking material and additional supplementary material supplied via the dedicated website, online materials covering the CyberOps Associate core body of knowledge (including CyberOps Associate exam practice software) and access to the University’s extensive collection of online journals. The learning materials will reflect the latest content on the Cisco Networking Academy.

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Ventura or higher.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.

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 for further information on accessibility and using ‘JAWS for Windows’ screen reading software.

To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our disability support pages.

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