CCSP Certification: Overview And Career Path

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What Is the CCSP Certification?

The Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) Certification is an information technology certification that tests applicants’ knowledge of cloud security topics. It is administered by the International Information System Security Certification Consortium, ISC2, and was developed in partnership with the CSA.
 
The ISC2 CCSP is designed as a certification for mid-level security professionals who want to show their proficiency in the field of cloud security. It is similar to the ISC2 CISSP exam in the choice of topics and difficulty but focuses on cloud security.

How Does the CCSP Certification Differ From Other IT Certifications?

The CCSP certification is one of the few certifications focusing specifically on cloud security. Many other Information Technology certifications take a generalist way to security topics or have a deep level of focus in another area within the domain of information security. In contrast, the ISC2 CCSP exam is designed to test knowledge of the application of cybersecurity techniques, tools, and procedures to cloud computing. A fair amount of focus is placed on drawing attention to the points where the use of cloud computing needs a different approach to security.
 
The CCSP is far from the only cloud-focused certification available. Many other certifications have been developed by cloud vendors and other certification companies to test candidates’ knowledge of cloud computing concepts and technology. However, the CCSP’s focus on cloud security supports to change it from these other certifications.
 
The most similar certification to the CCSP is the Cloud Security Alliance’s  CCSK (Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge). The CSA partnered with ISC2 to create the CCSP exam. According to the CSA blog, the CCSP includes much of the same content spread by the CCSK but also tests knowledge of governance, traditional security, and user privacy in cloud environments.
 
The CSSP is probably the most extensive certification available on the topic of cloud security. It is designed to test knowledge of cloud security topics at a level comparable to that of the CISSP certification.

ISC2 CCSP Exam Summary

What Does the CCSP Exam Cover?

The ISC2 CCSP exam is designed to test an applicant’s knowledge of everything to do with cloud security. The CCSP exam is a 125-question multiple-choice test with a 4 hour time limit. There are a total of 1000 possible points, and a passing score needs a minimum of 70 percent of these. The CCSP exam questions are divided into six diverse domains with the following ratios:
  • Domain 1: Architectural Concepts and Design Requirements (19%)
  • Domain 2: Cloud Data Security (20%)
  • Domain 3: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure Security (19%)
  • Domain 4: Cloud Application Security (15%)
  • Domain 5: Operations (15%)
  • Domain 6: Legal and Compliance (12%)
The rest of this section is devoted to giving a brief overview of the topics included in each domain of the CCSP exam.

Domain 1: Architectural Concepts and Design Requirements (19%)

The first domain of the ISC2 CCSP exam covers the background knowledge necessary to secure cloud computing systems. This covers basic cloud computing concepts, the different types of cloud architectures, security concepts related to cloud computing, principles of secure cloud computing and how to recognize advanced cloud services.

Domain 2: Cloud Data Security (20%)

This domain is focused on everything to do with protecting data on the cloud. Related knowledge involves the CSA Cloud Data Lifecycle, security considerations of cloud data storage, techniques, and tools for data security, how to find and classify data on the cloud, protecting personal data based on jurisdictional requirements, maintaining access to data, implementation of data retention, archiving and deletion processes and data event management.

Domain 3: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure Security (19%)

The third CCSP domain focuses on the security aspects of cloud infrastructure. An ISC2 CCSP applicant should know the essential components of cloud infrastructure, be able to perform a risk assessment, implement and design security controls for the cloud and know how to integrate cloud computing into their organization’s business disaster/continuity recovery (BC/DR) plan.

Domain 4: Cloud Application Security (15%)

This section of the ISC2 CCSP exam is focused on securing and developing cloud applications. On the development side, candidates should be aware of the different challenges of growth for the cloud, familiar with software validation and assurance for cloud applications, practice good supply chain management and know the SDLC. The security side of this domain includes the Secure Software Development Lifecycle, cloud-specific security technology and management of identity and access in the cloud.

Domain 5: Operations (15%)

In this domain, an applicant requires to prove knowledge of how to design, implement, run, build, maintain and assess the risks of both logical and physical cloud infrastructure. This section also examines knowledge of related regulations like ITIL and ISO/IEC 20000-1, the collection of digital evidence in the event of a conflict and how to maintain communication with all stakeholders in the cloud environment.

Domain 6: Legal and Compliance (12%)

The final domain of the ISC2 CCSP is focused on any cloud-specific laws and regulations not covered in newer domains. This involves how the cloud affects regulatory compliance, jurisdiction-specific privacy regulations, risk management, and auditing. Also covered are the management of the supply-chain, vendor contracts, and outsourcing.

What Do I Need for the CCSP Certification?

The minimum requirements for taking the ISC2 CCSP exam are sufficient knowledge of cloud security to get 700 out of the possible 1000 points. However, the ISC2 CCSP exam also has some experience requirements.
 
To be eligible to become a full ISC2 CCSP, you need to meet three experience requirements. First, you need to show five years of experience in IT. Of those 5 years, three of them need to be focused on information security. Finally, 1 year of experience in cloud security in any one of the six ISC2 CCSP domains is required.
 
The CCSP exam has some exceptions for these rules. Anyone holding the ISC2 CISSP certification automatically meets the eligibility requirements. If you have the information security and information technology experience, you can waive the cloud security requirement by getting the CSA Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge.
 
If you don't have the experience, you can still take the exam. If you obtain a passing grade on the exam, you become a CCSP Associate until you gain the appropriate experience to be a full CCSP. Once you have an ISC2 CCSP certificate, it is good for three years without renewal. To recertify at the three-year mark, you will need to have completed 90 CPE credits in those 3 years and pay an annual maintenance fee of $100.

Should I Take the ISC2 CCSP Exam?

The CCSP exam is designed to provide cloud security practitioners to demonstrate their knowledge and skill sets in that specific field. The content of the CCSP exam is narrowly focused on cloud computing and the knowledge of tools, theory,  and techniques necessary to properly secure it.
 
The experience requirements of the ISC2 CCSP exam mean that it’s not a big choice for those fresh out of college and looking to specialize in cloud computing. The 5 year information technology requirement explains that the CCSP exam is targeting mid-level rather than entry-level security professionals.
 
On the other hand, if you want to break into the cloud security field, this ISC2 exam may be a good fit for you. If you are already a Certified Cloud Security Professional, then you automatically meet the eligibility requirements for the exam. If you have the work experience except for the clouds security background, consider getting the CCSK and then the ISC2 CCSP. This enables you to waive the requirement for cloud security experience for the Certified Cloud Security Professional and use the CCSP certification to help get a job in the field.
 
If you are interested in cloud security and have the experience, taking the ISC2 CCSP exam might not be a bad idea. According to report, average wages for a CCSP are around $138,820 in the U.S. With the prevalence of cloud technology and the upsurge in data breaches, having the skills to preserve a company data is a great marketing tool.

How Do I Prepare for the CCSP Exam?

The CCSP exam covers various topics, so preparation is key for making sure that you are prepared to obtain a passing grade. A couple of possible options are available for preparing, including self-study, online practice test, and in-person boot camp-style training.
 
If you decide to go the self-study route, ISC2 has published an official guide to the ISC2 CCSP exam. The guide is extremely detailed, being over 5 hundred pages in the current version. By going through the guide in-depth.
 
If this seems a bit daunting, the Online Practice Exam would be a better choice. Edusum.com offers Best CCSP online Practice Exam. Taking this Practice test gives you the advantage of having access to a CCSP expert throughout the process, ensuring that all of your CCSP questions will be answered.

Getting Started on a CCSP Certification

The Certified Cloud Security Professional certification is a highly-respected certification that demonstrates knowledge and proficiency in securing cloud environments. The exam material is divided into six several domains and requires a 70 percent score on the 125 questions to pass. Both online and in-person boot camp-style training is available to help you prepare for your exam.
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