Cloud migration is one of the top priorities of many organizations today. Businesses need to utilize their resources effectively. At the same time, they also need to improve their productivity. This is one of the foremost concerns for which Cloud Security is a mandatory requirement in present times. So, organizations are looking for cloud security professionals to build secure cloud environments with multi-layered protection, encryption, and round the clock monitoring.
To validate the cloud security skills, many cloud computing professionals are turning towards CCSP exam preparation now. In the following discussion, we shall outline the essentials of CCSP, such as basic information and exam overview. Also, we will cover the steps to prepare for the CCSP certification and expert tips to succeed in the examination. Let’s get ahead on the pathway of getting your most in-demand cloud security certification.
Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) Certification
CCSP stands for Certified Cloud Security Professional. Let us start with the basic information about the CCSP certification and the importance of the certification. This can provide the foundation for your Certified Cloud Security Professional exam preparation. According to the recent Gartner Report, companies adopting the cloud are likely to show a 17.5% higher growth rate in 2019. On average, almost 9% of cloud applications involve collaboration services, and 13% of applications involve content sharing services.
Also, 16% of cloud applications involve sharing services. Most important of all, around 18.1% of content uploaded to the cloud platform is associated with sensitive information. As a result, companies should not only worry about moving to the cloud but also for the security of content. So, if you have a cloud security certification, it becomes easier to secure promising career opportunities. This is one of the reasons for which you can find many CCSP exam preparation guides are available online.
Note: If you are a beginner, we recommend you to start with the Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge i.e. CCSK certification.
CCSP Certification Exam Basic Information
Now that we have identified the importance of cloud security let us outline basic info on the CCSP exam. After all, you need to understand the exam before starting your CCSP exam preparation. CCSP or Certified Cloud Security Professional is one of the best cloud security certifications. The CCSP exam was introduced on April 24, 2015, at the RSA Conference. The exam is aimed at verifying the capabilities, skills, and knowledge of cloud security professionals.
The exam validates the technical skills and knowledge of cloud security professionals for the design and management of security mechanisms. It also helps in ensuring that cloud professionals are capable of ensuring compliance with regulatory frameworks. Considered as a best cloud security certification, CCSP is the brainchild of (ISC)2 and the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA).
It is built on the foundations of CISSP by (ISC)2 and CCSK by CSA. The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification is a benchmark for IT security professionals. On the other hand, the Certified Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK) certification validates the basic knowledge of cloud security. So, the Certified Cloud Security Professional exam preparation helps you gain the following abilities:
- Implementing information security expertise in a cloud environment.
- Cloud security architecture and design.
- Operations and maintenance of cloud security services.
- Competences in service orchestration.
CCSP Exam Overview
After a clear outline of the basic exam information, let us get an overview of the CCSP exam. The exam overview can be a promising tool for your CCSP exam preparation objectives. We shall discuss the exam schedule, duration, prerequisites and format for the examination.
The duration of the examination is four hours, and you have to appear the exam on a computer. You need to have an internet connection as well as a video camera to appear for the examination. The exam would contain 125 questions in the multiple-choice question format and is available only in English. The cost of the examination is 599 USD. The 125 questions account for a total of 1000 points. Any reliable CCSP exam guide would state that you need to score at least 700 points to qualify the examination.
Certified Cloud Security Professional Exam Information
Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)
Multiple Choice questions
Number of questions in the exam
700 points out of total 1000 points
599 USD (plus applicable taxes)
Preparing for the Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK) exam? This definite guide for CCSK exam preparation will help you through your preparation journey.
Prerequisites for the CCSP Exam
You should also take note of the prerequisites for the exam before starting your CCSP exam preparation. Any candidate appearing for the CCSP exam has to fulfill any of the below.
- CISSP accreditation from (ISC)2.
- Certification of Cloud Security Knowledge by Cloud Security Alliance (CSA).
- Five years of full-time experience working in the IT sector with three years of experience in information security.
- Five years of full-time experience in the IT sector with one year of experience in cloud data and application security. One year of experience should also include architectural concepts and design requirements for the cloud platform. Also, the areas of infrastructure security, operations and legal and compliance should be included in the one-year experience.
Domains Covered in CCSP Exam
It is important to observe the domains that would be covered in the CCSP exam. The six domains that are covered in the exam can be presented as follows:
- Architectural concepts and design requirements – 19%
- Cloud platform and infrastructure security – 19%
- Operations – 15%
- Cloud data security – 20%
- Cloud application security – 15%
- Legal and compliance – 12%
Each of the domains mentioned above in CCSP study guide has a specific weight in the questions for the exam. Cloud Data Security gets the top spot on the roster with 20% of the questions. Architectural concepts and design requirements, as well as Cloud platform and infrastructure security, include 19% of the questions. Cloud application security and Operations domain have 15% of the questions in the examination. Legal and compliance domain occupies almost 12% of the questions in the CCSP exam.
How to Maintain Your CCSP Certification Credential?
You would also be expecting details about maintaining the CCSP certification in this CCSP exam guide. After obtaining the CCSP certification, you have to ensure maintaining the certificate through the three-year CCSP certification cycle. You can achieve this by keeping at least 90 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits in this period.
Certified professionals should also follow the (ISC)2 Code of Ethics and pay an Annual Maintenance Fee (AMF). Also, certified professionals should ensure that another (ISC)2 certified professional endorses their application of Code of Ethics. If you do not follow these guidelines within nine months from the exam date, then you have to retake the exam.
Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK) and Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) both are among the best cloud security certifications. Here we cover an impartial comparison between these two i.e. CCSK vs CCSP
Preparation Guide for the CCSP Certification Exam
The discussion highlighted basic information and overview of the CCSP examination till now. Now, let us paint the actual picture for CCSP exam preparation. Generally, an individual would need around 120 days to prepare for the examination. Interestingly, you will get 120 days for the exam date once you have made payment for the examination. Consider the fact that you would need almost 40 to 60 hours to prepare for the CCSP exam. This implies that you will get adequate time for covering all topics in the CCSP study guide. You can commit 2 hours every day to your exam preparations to succeed in the exam.
The first concern in your CCSP exam preparation is to cover the fundamentals. The fundamentals include encryption, the difference between IaaS, SaaS and PaaS, and virtualization technologies.
Recommended Books and Readings for CCSP Certification Exam
In addition to the basics mentioned above, your preparation for this best cloud security certification should also include the following books. These books are an essential aspect of this CCSP preparation guide.
1. The first book is “The Official (ISC)2 Guide to the CCSP CBK” by Adam Gordon. This book facilitates clear diagrams, illustrated examples, best practices and real-life scenarios on cloud security.
2. The next recommended reading for your CCSP exam is the pdf file provided by Cloud Security Alliance. The pdf file is titled “Security Guidance for Critical Ares of Focus in Cloud Computing v4.0”. This reading provides detailed insights into advancements in cloud security and supporting technologies. Also, you can find details on real-world best practices for cloud security. Candidates aspiring for CCSP certification could also find latest Cloud Security Alliance research projects in this reading.
3. Your CCSP exam preparation should also include “The Treacherous 12”. This is a downloadable file provided without any cost by CSA. This reading can help you gain knowledge about the top security threats faced by businesses.
4. The next book for your preparation is the CSA- Cloud Control Matrix. You can download this reading and find guidance for cloud customers and prospective vendors. The guidance highlighted in this reading refer to the assessment of overall security risk for a cloud provider.
5. Another promising and mandatory book that you should read for CCSP certification is “Jericho- Cloud Cube Model”. This book can help you learn more about Internal/external, perimeterized/de-perimeterized, proprietary/open, and insourced/outsource architectures.
6. Candidates should also ensure CCSP exam preparation by reading the “OWASP Top 10”. OWASP refers to the Open Web Application Security Project. This is an open community that helps organizations work with trusted applications. You can learn about the ten most important web application security risks such as sensitive data exposure or broken authentication.
7. Candidates should also focus on National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) publications to prepare for CCSP exam. The most important ones are as follows.
- NIST SP 800-144: Guidelines on Security and Privacy in Public Cloud Computing.
- NIST SP 800-146: Cloud Computing Synopsis and Recommendations.
- NIST SP 800-125: Guide to Security for Full Virtualization Technologies.
8. You could also use electronic CCSP flashcards provided by (ISC)2 for your preparation journey. These flashcards help in interactive learning and preparation for the examination. You could be able to use them for testing your knowledge about industry terms and the different CCSP domains.
There are a number of security risks associated with the cloud environment. Check these top Cloud Security Risks that every company have to face.
Expert Tips to Prepare for CCSP Certification Exam
Now that we have focused on important concerns associated with CCSP exam preparation let us outline some expert tips that will help you to prepare well and pass the Certified Cloud Security Professional exam.
Cover All Topics Thoroughly
Finally, you need to make sure to cover all the topics in the CCSP domains. On the other hand, you should also allocate a certain time limit for each question. The CCSP examination has 125 questions with a four-hour duration. This means that you have almost 2 minutes for attending each question. If you are stuck on one question for more than 2 minutes, you reduce your chances of clearing the exam. So, start clearing off the easy questions first and then you can return to the questions you left.
Don’t Undermine Practice Tests
The foremost priority should be on practice! Reading the books mentioned above would improve your knowledge of CCSP domains. However, practice tests will simulate the real examination environment for you. You can be able to attend the different questions in the time frame of four hours and learn your setbacks. Practice tests offer detailed explanations for the questions, and so it can become easier for you to improve gradually. The CCSP certified practice tests can work highly in favor of your preparation journey.
Plan to Reduce Stress
A timetable is the most important thing needed for your CCSP exam preparation. You need to plan and schedule your 120 days of preparation thoroughly. And remember to cover all the domains that are covered in CCSP certification. You have to consider your various commitments on professional and personal levels for preparing the schedule. This can help you adjust your timetable and study hours for the best results. Also, you will be able to have a calm and composed mind while preparing for the exam.
Stay Fit and Healthy
The next expert tip for success in CCSP exam is keeping away stress. As discussed above, a well-planned schedule can help you maintain a calm and composed mind. However, you do not need to worry about any obstacles in the way of getting stuck on a particular concept. Try to find out solutions with a relaxed posture. It will help you keep your mind and body in top shape for the examination. Always rely on patience, consistency, and persistence throughout your preparation.
If you are preparing for a Cloud Security interview, these frequently asked Cloud Security Interview Questions will help you to ace the interview.
So, in this article, we highlighted the important tenets for CCSP exam preparation. The average certified cloud security professional salary ranges from $88,510 to $113,726 annually. The highest estimate of certified cloud security professional salary is $132,500 annually in New York. Based on these estimates, this preparation guide can help you achieve these remuneration packages with ease.
You have to focus on a better understanding of the CCSP domains and the exam format. This guide can be the most important tool for your exam preparation and to develop a promising career in cloud security. Also, the guide reflected on essential readings and expert tips that can be handy for your CCSP certification exam.
So, start your preparation now to become a Certified Cloud Security Professional!
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