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The Top 5 Security Certifications for Cloud Professionals

Nehal Barot
   

cloud_security_certificationsAre you seeking a career in cloud computing? Cloud computing is the new wave with great career prospects. Let’s look first at what’s going on in the area of cloud computing. 

Cloud computing has been growing by leaps and bounds in recent years. According to IDC, worldwide spending on public cloud computing will increase from $67B in 2015 to $162B in 2020 attaining a 19% CAGR. Simply put, businesses are migrating to the cloud.

Today’s customers prefer on-demand services. Current technology also supports and enables these services. We have a plethora of mobile apps, web services, and cloud-based applications making business staff more productive and delivering more value. Cloud computing is enabling all these applications and on demand services. This is leading to businesses moving their applications to the cloud to gain benefits of data space, increased efficiency, scalability, speed, and other advantages.

But along with all the stupendous growth and increasing applications in the cloud, there are cloud security threats. Cloud security has become a high priority area. This has led to an increase in demand for certified cloud security professionals.

So how can you get certified in cloud security and enhance your career prospects?

(Read The Ultimate Guide for a Successful Cloud Engineering Career)

To start, cloud certifications can be vendor neutral or vendor specific. Cloud computing is still on the growth path and full advantages of cloud computing are still being exploited. As cloud computing is more of an integrated solution involving tools, technologies and platforms from various providers, it may make sense to have a vendor neutral certification. On the other hand, if you are working in an organization using a particular vendor based cloud solution such as AWS or Azure, you can look for certifications specific to those solutions.

With so many options out there, let’s take a look at some of the more popular certifications.

1. Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK)
This is a vendor-neutral, foundational course and is a great start for those aspiring to a career in security for cloud computing. The best part is there are no prerequisites for this 90-minute exam. This certification will help candidates demonstrate a strong understanding of cloud fundamentals along with comprehensive knowledge of cloud security program. This foundation course is also a stepping stone for the Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) exam.

Website: https://cloudsecurityalliance.org/education/ccsk/


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2. (ISC)2's Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)
ISC2 is a leader in IT security certifications. The Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) is comprehensive and covers core specialty areas like cloud application security and cloud platform security. Qualifying for this certification has a prerequisite of 5 years of work experience. 3 years of that experience must be in information security. One year experience can be in any of the CCSP common body of knowledge (CBK) six domain areas. You can reduce the prerequisite to 4 years of work experience if you have the CCSK certification which is foundational (Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK).

Website: https://www.isc2.org/ccsp/default.aspx

3. CCNP Cloud/CCNP Security - Cisco Certified Networking Professional (CCNP) – Cloud and Security
Cisco is popular everywhere and is a well known name in the information technology industry. This certification is more oriented towards Cisco's platforms and its technologies and is good if you are working, or plan to work, in corporations using Cisco technologies. Many times, the corporate enterprises themselves sponsor their employees for these programs. This is a vendor specific certification unlike the vendor neutral ones listed above. 

Website: 
https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/training-events/training-certifications/certifications/professional/ccnp-cloud.html


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4. CompTIA Cloud+
Another popular certification is the CompTIA Cloud+ certification, which is vendor-neutral. It basically validates a persons methodology competency. It is recommended that those who give the exam must have a couple of years experience in IT networking or IT data center administration. This certification is targeted towards IT professionals and practitioners. CompTIA Cloud+ covers competency in cloud models, infrastructure, virtualization, security, resource management, and business continuity.

Website: https://certification.comptia.org/certifications/cloud

5. Certified Integrator Secure Cloud Services
This certification provides an integrated approach to issues and challenges in IT. This certificate is earned free by completing the three foundational courses in IT service management, information security, and cloud computing. Each costs $155.

Website: https://www.exin.com/US/en/career-advice/certified-integrator

Conclusion
Getting certified is no guarantee of a job or job security, but companies do prefer some certified knowledge that resources possess when they join their firm. Vendor neutral certifications tend to make more sense as it opens up a wider marketplace rather than vendor specific ones. But this is obviously contingent on your situation.

People with less experience should start with the foundational certificate and move on to earn other certifications that are more advanced and specific. Experienced candidates can look at specialization where their experience can help them add more value to cloud security.

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