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cloud security certification

Comprehensive Guide to Cloud Security Certification

by Maggie Getova

Cloud security certification provides training, skills, and knowledge to people responsible for maintaining IT security in the cloud. Depending on the program, these professionals can be anywhere from entry-level IT professionals to management level professionals and even CIOs. So what kinds of certifications are currently available?

  • Vendor-neutral cloud security certifications – these cloud security certification can useful for a variety of cloud-enabled environments. These can be vague, however, because they don’t cover vendor-specific cloud technologies. An example of this type of certification is the Certified Cloud Security Specialist (CCSS).
  • Vendor-specific cloud security certifications – these cloud security certifications cover a specific vendor’s technologies, so they provide information about that vendor’s unique cloud technologies at a higher level. A drawback to this type of certification is that it usually just covers only a single vendor’s technologies, so you would need to take more tests to cover similar ground with other vendors. An example of this type of certification is VMware’s Certified Advanced Professional-Cloud Infrastructure Design (VCAP-CID).

Why get cloud security certification?

Getting certified allows you to keep up with the latest innovations in cloud technology, and the different ways to keep data in the cloud secure. Getting certified can potentially help advance your career or simply help you become more knowledgeable in your field if you are already working with cloud environments. Different certifications can help demonstrate and prove a level of knowledge to potential employers, so they are definitely something to look into if you want to advance your career in a field that deals with IT security.

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Here are some cloud security certification programs that are available to IT professionals now:

cloud security certification table



Cloud Security Certification Programs Overview

Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK)

The Cloud Security Alliance tests individual knowledge and competency in key cloud security issues. There are two versions of the class to prepare students for the test currently available:

Cloud Computing Security Knowledge – Basic – this test covers cloud security fundamentals and prepares students to take the Cloud Security Alliance CCSK certification exam. The class is well-suited for cloud security professionals and those who are looking to learn more about cloud security concepts.

Cloud Computing Security Knowledge – Plus – this test covers the material that will be on the CCSK test, as well as considerable hands-on activities during the second day of training. During the second day, students demonstrate what they have learned in day one.

About the CCSK Exam:

The CCSK exam can be taken online, 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Registration cost is $345. The exam consists of 60 multiple choice questions and requires a score of 80% or above in order to pass. Students are given 90 minutes for the exam.

Topics Covered in the CCSK Exam:

Some of the topics that are covered in the CCSK exam include architecture, enterprise risk management, and compliance and audit management. Students also learn about information management and data security, which goes over data backup, volume storage, and encryption with different cloud service providers. Other topics covered include disaster recovery, data center operations, incident response and more.

Certified Cloud Security Professional – CCSP

The CCSP is backed by the Cloud Security Alliance and (ISC)z. This certification is more advanced than the CCSK, since it is designed for individuals with at least five years of experience in cloud security. That experience should encompass at least three years of experience in information security and one year in cloud computing.  

The CCSP covers software, cyber, information and cloud computing infrastructure security. It allows IT professionals to benefit from cloud computing while keeping the data stored in the cloud secure. The credential can be beneficial to IT professionals such as security managers, security engineers, security consultants, security architects, security administrators and more.

About the CCSP Exam

The CCSP exam takes 4 hours and consists of 125 multiple choice questions. Students need to score at least 700 out of 1000 points in order to pass. Training for the CCSP exam is provided through classroom, private instruction, or on-demand.

It’s also important to note that recertification is required every three years. This works by earning Continual Professional Education credits and paying an annual maintenance fee of $100.

Topics Covered in the CCSP Course and Exam

The topics covered in the CCSP include operations, compliance, cloud data security, cloud platform & infrastructure security, as well as Architectural concepts & design requirements.

Cloud security certifications can definitely be helpful - whether it’s to increase your cloud security knowledge for your current IT position or help you move into a security focused position. It’s also important to note that certifications aren’t the only factors employers are considering when looking to make a hire. A combination of certifications to demonstrate knowledge as well as real life experience and training make a candidate well-rounded, which makes them more desirable and likely to get the job offer.

Maggie Getova
Maggie G

Maggie is a content writer and editor at Zetta. She writes for the blog and manages web content.