Certified Identity and Security Technologist (CIST)®

MC_481448376_2Certification Overview

Identity management and security technologies are increasingly needed to address the growing needs of businesses to counter threats, meet various requirements, and mitigate risks. According to recent studies, there will be a serious shortage of information security professionals with highly technical capabilities within just a few years which is required to develop, deploy, and manage these systems.

The increased need for identity management and information security technologists arises from the requirements of many parties. More systems are connected to each other and communicate with one another, consumers are demanding easy access to data and transactions without having to remember multiple passwords, companies want more security, improved identity services, and useful information about their customers, and regulators want accurate and timely identification of individuals, privacy, and transaction tracking and reporting to name a few. The rise in high profile attacks by highly technical cyber hackers which result in stolen business and consumer private data has led to increased pressures on businesses to take action and while businesses need to address these risks, they have access to many technologies to mitigate risks in the most cost effective and efficient manner. However, to be successful, Certified Identity and Security Technologist (CIST)® professionals are needed to develop, select, deploy, and manage various identity management and security products and counter hacker threats, streamline identity services, and design logging and reporting tools. The CIST® professionals are technology focused for solving today’s complex issues. They are the identity, access, and security management technology product experts.


Certification Process

Currently, interested and qualified candidates may become a CIST® without an examination by applying for IMI membership and submitting a CIST application for qualification assessment based on technical education, experience, and certification. Apply Online Now.


The following is a list of additional drivers for the increasing use of identity and security technologies:

  1. Increased number of mobile devices,
  2. Multitude of IAM and security products in a competitive market,
  3. Interconnectivity and interoperability of devices,
  4. Secure communication,
  5. Increased technical capability of hackers,
  6. Need for better identity services such as biometric authentication,
  7. Secure data and efficient operations,
  8. Expanding regulations requiring improved customer identification, account activity reporting, ID theft prevention, and privacy,
  9. Adoption of cloud computing, BYOD, and remote access, and
  10. Global nature of employees, customers, and business partners.

Why pursue a CIST certification?

CIST professionals are highly technical leaders who understand the alignment of IT strategy with business requirements. They develop, deploy and manage identity and security technologies to address various business risks and meet increasing challenges around system security, communication, access, and identity management. While some CISTs are engaged in highly visible enterprise wide implementations of identity and security systems, other CISTs are engaged in the early product development or product improvement activities. The CIST technical program is a specialized identity management and IT security certification and CIST professionals are specialized technology leaders in system security, identity and access management.

Who employs CIST professionals?

CIST professionals may be employed by IT service providers, banking and financial services, government agencies, as well as insurance  and healthcare companies.

There are many reasons why companies need to engage identity and security technologists. They include efficient and effective identity services, system and data security, identity and access management, device connectivity, system communication, and compliance.

Critical Risk Domains

The following Critical Risk Domains (CRDs) are developed by IMI and define the specific areas used for CIST training, testing and certification. These CRDs change as risks evolve:

  1. Strategy and Analysis
  2. Planning and Design
  3. Transition and Implementation
  4. Communication
  5. Leadership

Download a copy of the CIST overview document for CRD details.

Certification Process

Currently, interested and qualified members may become a CIST® without an examination if they meet the requirements set forth in the CIST application.


Application Cost

The CIST application cost is $295 for current IMI members. To become a member, please visit the membership page for more information.

Payment Processing

IMI uses PayPal and other third party credit card processors to request and receive international credit card payments after applications are received. Alternatively, candidates may mail a cashier’s or company check.

Certificate Maintenance

Certified professionals must earn continuing education, adhere to the IMI code of ethics, and be active members.