If you are an IT specialist and want to know what effort is required, how much time is needed to become a Cloud Security Subject Matter Expert (SME), this guide might be of your interest.
If you are in one of the following situations:
- looking for a new IT Security Certification
- looking for a way to challenge your Cloud Security knowledge and expertise
- looking for a vendor-neutral Cloud Security Certification
- planning to pass the CCSP but don’t know what effort it requires
Learn in this article how to get the CCSP certification, one of the highest cloud security certification recognized in the industry.
1) Start by learning some facts about the CCSP
- Introduced in 2015 by 2 leading non-profit organizations focused on cloud and information security (ISC2 & CSA)
- Ranked #1 on The Next Big Thing list as the certification to earn in 2017 & 2016 (Certification Magazine)
- Named one of the Top 5 Vendor-Neutral Cloud Security Certifications of 2017 ( Tripwire)
- Named one of 8 Valuable Security Certifications for 2017 (Dark Reading)
- Named #1 of the Top 5 IT Security Certifications to Target in 2016 (Firebrand Training)
- ANSI-accredited (compliant with ISO/IEC 17024 Standards)
- Opportunity to be part of a network of 125.000+ cybersecurity professionals (ISC2 members)
The below table lists the number of CCSP vs CISSP in OECD countries as of Jan 1, 2018.
The number of CCSP for all countries can be found in this (ISC)2 website.
2) Check the CCSP‘s pre-requisites or requirements
CCSP requires 5 years of cumulative, paid and full-time work experience in IT, including 3 years in information security and 1 year in one or more of 6 domains of CCSP Common Body of Knowledge (CBK).
Important: earning the CSA’s CCSK (Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge) can be substituted for one year of experience in one or more of the six domains of the CCSP CBK. Earning the (ISC)2 CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) can be substituted to the whole CCSP’s experience requirements.
3) Review the potential CCSP’s benefits
- Instant credibility and differentiation (earn trust from your clients or senior leadership)
- Unique recognition (highest standard for cloud security expertise)
- Staying ahead (keep you current on evolving technologies, new threats and new mitigation strategies)
- Versatility (vendor-neutral, valuable across a variety of different cloud platforms)
- Career advancement (e.g. moving from internal subject matter expert to more strategic roles)
4) Check if the CCSP is appropriate for you
Ideal candidates for CCSP are generally people working (or planning to work) with cloud technologies as:
- Systems Engineer
- Systems Architect
- Enterprise Architecture
- Security Engineer
- Security Analyst
- Security Architecture
- Security Consultant
- Security Administrator
- Security Manager
5) Select the right training format
Several training formats are available to prepare for CCSP. Depending on your level of cloud security knowledge and funding capabilities, one of the following formats can be selected:
- In-person training seminars (classroom based training or private on-site training), 5 full days (40 hours)
- Online training seminars (instructor-led or self-paced training), 2 to 3 months (2 to 5 hours per week)
- Self-study using the (ISC)2 CCSP official study guide book available on Amazon’s e-commerce site and covering 100% of CCSP exam objectives.
The self-paced online training or self-study requires less budget and gives more flexibility to CCSP candidates, but they are appropriate for candidates already having enough experience on the 6 domains of CCSP CBK.
A training seminar with an instructor would be appropriate for those having less experience on the 6 domains of CCSP CBK.
Whatever the selected training format, several additional study tools are available for free on the (ISC)2 website.
6) Schedule for the exam
When you are ready, you must schedule your exam in a Pearson Vue testing center.
CCSP exam has the same structure as CISSP exam but with less number of questions and duration:
- Duration: 4 hours
- Number of questions: 125
- Question format: Multiple choice
- Passing grade: 700 out of 1000 points
- Available language: English
7) Maintain the CCSP
To maintain the CCSP certification, you need to:
- Abide by the (ISC)² Code of Ethics
- Earn and post 30 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits per year
- Pay your Annual Maintenance Fee (AMF), USD$100 per year
Additional information to prepare for the CCSP can be found on the (ISC)2 website.