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Guide to Cloud Security Certification: Which Ones Are the Best of the Best?

Posted on Apr 27, 2021 8:26 am

As your organization looks to move to cloud computing, security certification will become more critical. Cloud solutions have unique security considerations that are different from an on-premise solution. IT professionals that are managing these solutions should be well-versed in multi-layered protection, encryption, monitoring, and more.

Not only is certification important for your own IT staff, but it should also be part of your recruiting strategy. Experience combined with certifications can be invaluable foclr protecting your cloud environment. You want to ensure that the data you store in the cloud is protected from security threats.

Choosing the Right Cloud Security Certification

There are many cloud security certification options. You can select one that is vendor-specific or vendor-neutral. If you have specific applications that work with particular vendors, you may want your IT administrators to have certifications for that vendor. If you have future cloud computing plans but no specific requirements yet, you may want to choose a more general cloud security certification.

General Cloud Security Certification

These certifications are vendor-neutral. They provide a lot of benefits across multiple platforms and are from reputable companies.

Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)

Provider: Cloud Security Alliance and (ISC)²

Cost: $549 + $125/year

CCSP is a globally recognized certification that focuses on advanced technical skills. You must know how to manage and secure data and have knowledge of cloud applications and infrastructure. You must also understand best practices, policies, and procedures. 

To earn certification, you must first pass an exam. You can take self-paced or instructor-led online courses to prepare for the exam. (ISC)² also provides seminars, courseware, and self-study aids. 

Once you pass the exam, you must have the necessary work experience to gain certification. This includes five years of cumulative, paid work experience in information technology. Three of those years must be in information security, and one year must be in one or more of the six domains of the (ISC)² CCSP Common Body of Knowledge (CBK).

If you pass the exam and do not have enough work experience, you can become an Associate of (ISC)². 

You must also agree to the (ISC)² code of ethics regarding protection, acting responsibly and legally, and more. To maintain certification, you must pay an annual maintenance fee of $125.

Click here for more information. 

Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK)

Provider: Cloud Security Alliance

Cost: $395 for two exam attempts

Exam Format: 90 minutes for 60 multiple-choice questions. 

Score to Pass: 80%

The CCSK certificate is a standard for expertise and is widely recognized. It emphasizes an in-depth understanding of cloud computing capabilities and best practices. It also helps professionals assess the security of cloud providers.

You can prepare for the exam by studying on your own with a free prep-kit. The kit provides you with an outline of the topics covered in the exam and some sample questions. You can also enroll in instructor-led, in-person, or online self-paced training.

The exam covers a wide array of domains, including enterprise risk management, compliance and audit management, business continuity, data security and encryption, and more.

Click here for more information.

Cloud Technology Associate Certification

Cost: $349 for exam plus materials

Provider: Cloud Credential Council

Exam Format: 60 minutes for 40 multiple-choice questions

Score to Pass: 65%

This certification demonstrates an understanding of key concepts and relevant terminology. It is the foundation for other certification courses, including Professional Cloud Administrator, Professional Cloud Service Manager, and Professional Cloud Solutions Architect.

Preferably, individuals wanting to take this exam have at least six months of experience and have intermediate knowledge of cloud technologies. It is also helpful to have basic knowledge of network and storage technologies.

You can choose from either working with a CCC Training Partner at available locations or do online self-study.

Click here to learn more.

Cloud Computing Foundation

Cost: $207

Provider: EXIN

Exam Format: 60 minutes for 40 multiple-choice questions

Score to Pass: 65%

This certificate course focuses on the principles of cloud computing. It includes security and compliance, as well as managing and evaluating cloud computing.

You can download a workbook for free to study for the exam. The test focuses on technical knowledge as well as general management aspects. The test is also available in multiple languages. 

Click here to learn more.

Certified Cloud Architect (CCA)

Cost: $95.00

Provider: Cloud Institute

Exam Format: 60 minutes for 50 questions

Score to Pass: 75%

To be a Certified Cloud Architect, you must demonstrate knowledge in designing and implementing cloud computing services. You are considered an expert in the technology and architecture of cloud platforms. You also know how to design and deploy software solutions into cloud infrastructures. 

It is recommended that individuals seeking this certification have been working in an organization that uses cloud computing technology or cloud-related IT services for at least six months.

You can start by taking the Cloud Open Exam, which is free. This will assess the state of your cloud computing knowledge. It can help you prepare for other exams.

Click here to learn more.

Certified Cloud Professional (CCP)

Provider: Cloud Institute

Price: $95.00

Exam Format: 60 minutes for 50 questions

Score to Pass: 75%

The CCP exam focuses on adopting cloud computing solutions within a business. You should be aware of the advantages, disadvantages, and risks of cloud operation and delivery. You have some hands-on experience with the cloud computing migration process. 

Passing the exam shows a combination of business and technical understanding of cloud computing. You can take the free Cloud Open Exam to prepare for this exam.

Click here to learn more.

CompTIA Cloud Essentials+

Provider: CompTIA

Cost: $123

Exam Format: 60 minutes for a maximum of 75 questions

Score to Pass: 720 (on a scale of 100-900)

This certification is for both IT and non-technical professionals. Anyone who needs business knowledge for making informed decisions about cloud services would benefit from this certification.

Many roles within an organization are required to make decisions around cloud business. The focus of the certification is on efficiency, managing costs, and reducing security risks. You must have an understanding of the business and technical components of cloud assessment.

You should have between six months and one year of experience as a business analyst in an IT environment. You should also have some exposure to cloud technologies.

You can sign up to receive practice questions and exam objectives.

Click here to learn more.

CompTIA Cloud+

Provider: CompTIA

Price: $329

Exam Format: 90 minutes for a maximum of 90 questions

Score to Pass: 750 (on a scale of 100-900)

CompTIA Cloud+ focuses on the expertise needed for a data center role. The certification validates knowledge in maintaining and optimizing cloud infrastructure services. It also ensures knowledge in multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments.

Skills include configurations and deployment, management, maintenance, security, and troubleshooting.

You can sign up to receive practice questions and exam objectives. It is recommended that you have 2-3 years of experience in system administration.

Click here for more information.

Vendor-Specific Cloud Security Certification

If your environment uses specific cloud vendors, you may want to consider certification from that vendor. This may be in addition to a general cloud security certification. 

Vendor-specific cloud certification will validate your competency in that vendor’s products. Having a certification in your company’s vendor of choice means that you or your team have the expertise to manage cloud computing solutions.

Common vendor-specific security certifications include:

Amazon Web Services

  • AWS Certification
  • AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner (Foundational)
  • AWS Certified Developer (Associate)
  • AWS Certified DevOps Engineer (Professional)
  • AWS Certified Data Analytics (Specialty)

Microsoft Azure

  • Azure Administrator Associate
  • Azure Fundamentals Certification
  • Azure Developer Associate Certification
  • Azure for SAP Workloads Specialty
  • Azure Solutions Architect Expert

Google

  • Associate Cloud Engineer
  • Professional Cloud Architect
  • G Suite User Certification

IBM Cloud

  • Certified Solution Advisor
  • Application Developer Certification
  • Solutions Architect Certification

Oracle

  • Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Certification
  • Oracle Platform-as-a-Service Certification

VMWare Cloud Management and Automation

  • VMWare Certified Professional
  • VMWare Certified Advanced Professional
  • VMWare Certified Design Expert

Each vendor-specific certification will have its own requirements for passing core competencies and receiving certification. Check the vendor websites for recommendations around the amount of experience needed.

You can also assume that vendors will have changes over the years. Review each vendor’s exams to see if there are updated versions or suggestions for future certification.

Managing Your Cloud Environment

Cloud security certification should be part of your organization’s overall quality control when it comes to your cloud environment. The threats to the environment are real and ongoing. It is important that your IT professionals not only have cloud security certification but also stay up-to-date on changes.

Some organizations may find that they do not have the internal expertise to manage cloud security. In these instances, Security-as-a-Service (SaaS) may be a better option. An experienced provider can manage everything from threat detection to disaster recovery.

NETdepot is a SaaS provider that can be customized to fit the security needs of your business. Contact us today for more information.

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