CCSP: Mastering cybersecurity in the cloud

In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, the shift towards cloud-based infrastructure, applications, and data is becoming the norm for organizations worldwide. As these entities increasingly integrate cloud solutions into their operational framework, the demand for skilled information security professionals, especially those with a cloud security specialization, is on the rise.

Melissa Parsons

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Melissa Parsons
Technical Writer
February 28, 2024
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CSSP: Mastering Cybersecurity in the Cloud

CCSP – Overview and Origins

Cloud and Digital Transformation

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics underscores this reality, projecting 32% growth in employment for information security analysts from 2022 to 2032. This surge is indicative of a broader trend, as the number of cloud security jobs is set to expand in tandem with the growing reliance on cloud services for critical organizational functions. The transition towards cloud-based services is reshaping the way individuals and organizations manage information, making the Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) certification more relevant than ever. Mastering cybersecurity in the cloud is about ensuring the resilience and sustainability of an organization's digital transformation.

What is the CCSP certification?

The ISC2 Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) certification validates that an information security professional has the advanced technical skills and knowledge to design, manage and secure data, applications, and infrastructure in the cloud. The CCSP certification assures employers that cloud security professionals know how to use best practices, policies and procedures established by cybersecurity experts. The ISC2 in partnership with Cloud Security Alliance developed and launched the CCSP cloud security certification in 2015.

What is ISC2?

The International Information System Security Certification Consortium, also known as ISC2, is a non-profit organization that was created in 1989. It is a major source for information security professionals to receive education and certifications for in the field. ISC2 is developed the CBK, or Common Body of Knowledge that is used as a basis for the certifications the organization offers.

What is Cloud Security Alliance?

The Cloud Security Alliance, or CSA is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping define and raising awareness of best practices for the cloud computing environment. CSA currently has more than 42 working groups that cover topics such as AI, C-Level Guidance, Hybrid Cloud Security, and others. CSA has also published more than 500 research papers.

History of CCSP

In 2015, the CCSP certification was launched. Since its creation, the CCSP has gained significant recognition among employers and IT and cloud security practitioners. In summer of 2023, Certification Magazine ranked the CCSP exam as no. 2 on “The Next Big Thing” list, coming in second to CISSP certification. It is globally recognized and is considered the gold standard for cloud security professionals. 

The Six Domains of CCSP

There are six domains covered by the Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) certification. Each domain represents a critical component in the knowledge base of cloud security professionals.

1. Cloud Concepts, Architecture, and Design

This domain focuses on fundamental cloud computing concepts, including architecture and design principles that govern the cloud environment, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of cloud infrastructure and its implications on security.

2. Cloud Data Security

This area addresses the strategies and techniques required to protect data within the cloud, encompassing data lifecycle management, data security technologies, and implementing data discovery and classification measures.

3. Cloud Platform & Infrastructure Security

It covers the security aspects of the cloud infrastructure, emphasizing the need for robust cloud platform protection strategies, including infrastructure management, planning, and compliance with standards.

4. Cloud Application Security

This domain is dedicated to securing cloud applications, involving the understanding of software development lifecycle (SDLC) processes, and applying appropriate security controls and best practices in application design and development.

5. Cloud Security Operations

It entails the day-to-day operations and procedures necessary to maintain a secure cloud environment, such as implementing incident response plans, managing cloud security services, and understanding the legal and compliance aspects of cloud security.

6. Legal, Risk, and Compliance

This area focuses on the legal, regulatory, and compliance issues surrounding cloud computing, ensuring an understanding of the organizational risk environment, legal obligations, and audit processes within cloud ecosystems.

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The Importance of CCSP for Cloud Cybersecurity

CCSP certification in 2024

The CCSP is the regarded as the gold standard in the field of cloud security. One of the reasons it remains so well respected by cybersecurity professionals is because the exam topics are continuously reviewed. The ISC2 review process ensures that the credential remains relevant.


CCSP: Certified Cloud Security Professional Exam Information

  • Time allowed on exam: 4 hours
  • Number of exam questions: 150
  • Question format: Multiple choice
  • Passing grade: 700 out of 1000 possible points
  • Exam languages: English, Chinese, German, Japanese, Korean & Spanish
  • Testing center: PearsonVUE Testing Center (around the globe)

Work Experience and ISC2 Validation Process

The ISC2 requires that a cloud security professional who passes the Certified Cloud Security Professional certification exam goes through a validation process for to ensure that the candidate also possesses the necessary practical skills and understanding to apply cloud security principles effectively.

To obtain CCSP certification candidates must have:

A minimum of five years of cumulative, paid work experience in information technology, of which

  • three years in information security
  • one year in one of the six domains of the CCSP common body of knowledge (CBK)
  • one year can be counted for CISSP certification or an undergraduate degree in information technology
  • An endorsement from an ISC2 certified professional who can attest to the candidate's professional experience in the field.

This rigorous process provides credibility to the CCSP, demonstrating that the cloud security professional is equipped to handle the complex challenges of securing cloud environments in various organizational contexts.

CCSP Associate

If a CCSP candidate lacks the five years of professional work experience, but passes the exam, the title of ISC2 Associate is given. The cloud security professional will then have six years to earn the five years of required experience. Post-secondary education degrees and other ISC2 exams can also reduce the number of years necessary for full ISC2 membership.

Prepare for the exam

ISC2 offers online adaptive training directly as well as with partner organizations. It is possible for cloud security professionals to complete an online training course in as little as 5 days or over 8 weeks. The adaptive training enables professionals to tailor their learning path depending on their needs.

There are also several official self-study tools from ISC2:

  • CCSP Flash Cards
  • Official CCSP Study App
  • CCSP Online Study Group
  • Official CCSP Practice Tests

CCSP certification and your salary

As organizations migrate to cloud-based systems, the demand for skilled IT professionals who can navigate and secure these environments will continue to grow. The certification opens doors to more senior job positions and higher salary brackets compared to non-certified peers. According to industry surveys and reports, individuals with the CCSP certification can expect a noticeable increase in their earning potential often with salaries that are significantly above the industry average for information security professionals. According to Certification Magazine’s 2023 survey, CCSPs in the US earn an average salary of $137,100. It is the 13th highest salary for information security and cloud security professionals who hold certifications.

Continuing education and training for risk professionals

Staying Ahead of the Curve

The cloud computing landscape is dynamic, with new technologies and threats emerging. This is why ISC2 the CCSP certification has a continuing education component as well, to ensure that cloud security professionals stay current with the latest developments and best practices in cloud security.

Expanding Professional Network

Being a CCSP certified professional opens doors to an large community of cloud security professionals with ISC2. This network can be valuable for career growth, mentorship opportunities, and staying informed about the latest developments in information security.

Achieving CCSP certification is a significant career milestone and it demonstrates the capabilities and skills of information technology professionals with the knowledge. As organizations increasingly rely on cloud technologies, the value of having a CCSP on the team becomes ever more apparent, in terms of organizational security and individual career progression.

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Who should pursue the ISC2 CCSP Certification?

The CCSP certification is particularly relevant for professionals working in environments where cloud computing plays a significant role in the overall IT strategy. It is ideal for IT professionals who are involved in managing and securing cloud environments.

What are some other important cybersecurity and information security certifications in addition to the CCSP certification?

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) from ISC2 is one of the most recognized and respected certifications in information security. ISACA offers advanced certificates for experienced IT professionals, such as the Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).

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