I may as well start this blog by announcing that I am now GIAC/GSEC certified. I passed the test a few weeks ago (a few days before time to do so ran out). I agree with the idea to do this right away. I would have probably done just as well if I had been serious about that this summer after taking the associated SANS class. I know I would have used up a lot less personal vacation time trying to study at home. :)
One of the keys is to have a really good index to the course books. It is really good to know where to look things up quickly. I used the search feature in Excel a lot to search the crude index I made, but I will clearly need something a bit more exhaustive for any future certs since they are not going to allow electronic materials when all the exams are proctored in the near future.
I did sign up for the GPCI cert, hoping that my day-to-day work with the PCI standard for over a year will make it easy, but I am now concerned that the course may have some information I really need. Someone suggested that the information in my GSEC course manuals may have all the information I need there, so I may be OK. :)
I will know one way or another soon. I am planning on trying this either over Thanksgiving or the Christmas holiday.