Many organizations migrate to the cloud because of increased efficiency, data space, scalability, speed and other benefits. But cloud computing comes with its own security threats. To address these challenges, companies should create a hybrid cloud environment, confirm that their cloud security solution offers 24/7 monitoring and multi-layered defenses, and implement security measures like encryption, data backups and identity access management (IAM).
Organizations can take their cloud security strategy one step further by hiring IT professionals with the proper certifications. These accreditations ensure your new employees are qualified to properly configure your cloud servers and secure your data. Coupled with the proper amount of experience, certified employees can serve as a crucial resource towards helping your company defend against a data breach.
Of course, there are plenty of cloud security certifications available on the market today. Which ones should your organization look for in its expanding workforce?
To answer that question, we have compiled the top five cloud security certifications below. These programs are listed alphabetically and are not ranked. All the certifications included in this article are vendor-neutral.
1. Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge
Provider: Cloud Security Alliance
Cost: 345 USD
Description: The Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK) certifies that the recipient possesses and can demonstrate their technical knowledge in developing a holistic cloud security program. To help applicants prepare for the exam, which covers the CSA Security Guidance for Critical Areas of Focus in Cloud Computing V3 (PDF) and the ENISA report Cloud Computing: Benefits, Risks and Recommendations for Information Security (PDF), Cloud Security Alliance offers two preparation courses. Its “foundations” course reviews cloud security fundamentals and prepares students for the certification exam, whereas its “plus” course uses hands-on activities and expanded materials to hone participants’ knowledge in applying key cloud security issues.
2. Certified Cloud Security Professional
Provider: Cloud Security Alliance and (ISC)2
Cost: 549 USD
Description: To qualify for the Certified Cloud Security Professional exam, interested parties must have five years of full-time working experience in information technology. Three of those years must pertain to information security, and one year must relate to architectural concepts & design requirements, cloud data security, cloud platform & infrastructure security, cloud application security, operations, and legal & compliance. IT professionals can substitute the one-year requirement by earning Cloud Security Alliance’s Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge, and they can replace the entire five-year requirement by earning the (ISC)2 CISSP accreditation. Certification recognizes that an individual possesses knowledge and skills of key cloud security issues as set forth by two of the world’s leading organizations in cloud and information security.
3. Certified Integrator Secure Cloud Services
Cost: Free (with three foundational certificates as pre-requisites)
Description: EXIN, a Dutch certifier of IT professionals worldwide, encourages its students to take an integrated approach to IT issues and challenges. As such, those who become a Certified Integrator Secure Cloud Services do so free of cost by combining the following foundational certificates: IT service management, information security, and cloud computing. Each of those foundational certificates costs 155 USD. Professionals do have some flexibility when it comes to qualifying for this integrated certificate, however. For example, they can swap the EXIN IT service management certificate out for an alternative accreditation offered by ITIL or MOF. They can also replace EXIN cloud computing with the Cloud Technology Associate certification offered by the Cloud Credential Council.
4. CompTIA Cloud+
Cost: 294 USD
Description: The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), a non-profit trade association, offers its globally recognized, accredited, and ISO 17024-compliant Cloud+ certificate to practitioners who wish to validate their knowledge, skills, and abilities in implementing and maintaining cloud technologies. The program teaches students key issues associated with the cloud including models, virtualization, infrastructure, resource management, business continuity, and security. CompTIA recommends that those who register for the exam possess at least 2-3 years’ experience in networking, storage, or IT data center administration as well as familiarity with at least one of the major hypervisor technologies for server virtualization.
5. Professional Cloud Security Manager
Provider: Cloud Credential Council
Cost: 300 EUR
Description: Managed by EXIN, the Cloud Credential Council’s Professional Cloud Security Manager certification program prepares IT professionals for security, risk, and compliance issues as they relate to cloud computing. Specifically, the program focuses on the intersection between business and technical security challenges in an enterprise’s cloud computing environment. Technically, there are no prerequisites for IT professionals to apply for the exam. However, the Cloud Credential Council recommends that interested parties enter the program with five years of working experience in enterprise security along with a deep understanding of cloud computing services and deployment models.
To learn more about staying secure in the cloud, find out what 18 experts advise for effective and secure cloud migration, here.