As such, companies must shift the way they approach security, as the security controls for cloud-based infrastructures are not the same as those for traditional data centers.
Consequently, cloud security certifications have become essential for IT professionals who want to boost their skills, advance their careers, and stand out from others in the job market, and these ten might help you plan your next career move.
Top 10 Cloud Security Certifications for 2024
1. AWS Certified Security – Specialty
The AWS Certified Security – Specialty certification confirms that you are proficient in developing and deploying security solutions in the AWS cloud. This certification also demonstrates that you understand specialized data classifications and AWS protection methods, data encryption measures and how AWS implements them, securing internet protocols, and the methods AWS uses to implement them.
While there are no formal prerequisites, Amazon recommends that you have at least five years of experience in IT security as well as two years of hands-on experience with AWS. In addition, before attempting to earn this certificate, individuals typically earn the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional certification and/or the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate certification.
2. Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge
The Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK) credential offered by the Cloud Security Alliance provides a vendor-neutral understanding of how to protect data in the cloud. Earning the CCSK will enable you to develop a comprehensive cloud security program. This certificate covers the best practices of cloud incident response, application security, identity and access management, data encryption, securing emerging technologies, and more. There are no prerequisites.
3. GIAC Cloud Security Automation
The GIAC Cloud Security Automation (GCSA) certification demonstrates that you understand the DevSecOps method and toolchains. The GCSA also validates that you have the skills necessary to deploy security controls in the DevOps automated pipelines that deliver changes to cloud-based systems.
Holding the GCSA certification validates your knowledge of the security controls, tools, and configurations necessary to enhance the security, integrity, and reliability of cloud-hosted systems.
The exam covers the fundamentals of DevOps, cloud security fundamentals, DevSecOps security controls, secure infrastructure as a code, and more. Although the GCSA isn’t associated with any specific cloud platform, the materials cover Microsoft Azure and AWS.
Although there are no formal prerequisites, any practical work experience can help ensure that you’ve mastered the skills required for certification.
4. GIAC Cloud Security Essentials
The GIAC Cloud Security Essentials (GCLD) certification verifies that individuals have the professional expertise to understand and implement secure cloud environments. This certification focuses on the critical best practices and concepts as they pertain to cloud security.
The GCLD covers a variety of topics, including data protection, cloud architecture, incident response in a cloud environment, legal and compliance considerations, and more. The certification provides candidates with the skills they need to evaluate and mitigate security risks in cloud environments.
To take the exam, candidates must have completed the GIAC Security Essentials course or have equivalent experience and knowledge in information security. GIAC recommends that individuals have two or more years of experience in information security or a related field before taking the certification exam.
5. Professional Cloud Security Engineer (Google)
Google’s Professional Cloud Security Engineer certification validates that you have the skills that are required to create, configure, and deploy secure infrastructures on the Google Cloud Platform. This includes defining organizational structure and policies, configuring identity and access management, configuring and implementing network security, protecting data with Google Cloud technologies, enforcing regulatory controls, and more.
Although there are no formal prerequisites, Google recommends that you have more than one year of experience creating and managing solutions using Google Cloud, as well as at least three years of industry experience before you take the exam. You should familiarize yourself with the foundations of cloud security, such as identity and access management, along with Google’s specific incident response and data protection technologies.
6. Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate
The Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate certification verifies your expertise in deploying threat protection and security controls on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. It also validates that you have the skills to manage identity and access and protect applications, data, and networks. Azure security engineers work with administrators, architects, and developers to design and implement solutions that meet compliance and security requirements. They might also help respond to security incidents.
While there are no prerequisites, you should have practical experience in administering Microsoft Azure and hybrid environments, as well as a strong understanding of network, computing, and storage in Azure and Microsoft Entra.
7. CCSP – Certified Cloud Security Professional
The CCSP – Certified Cloud Security Professional intermediate certification offered by ISC2 demonstrates that you possess the advanced understanding and technical skills to manage and secure valuable assets in the cloud. The CSSP is aimed at individuals who have some experience in security and information technology and want to advance their careers in cloud-based cybersecurity.
As prerequisites, you need at least five years of cumulative work experience in IT (three years in information security and one year in one or more of the six ISC2 CCSP knowledge domains for cloud security: cloud architecture and design; cloud data security; cloud platform and infrastructure security; cloud application security; cloud security operations; legal, risk, and compliance.
8. CompTIA Cloud+
The CompTIA Cloud+ certification demonstrates that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to design, implement, and automate secure cloud environments, as well as safeguard key corporate applications and data. The CompTIA Cloud+ certification exam will test your skills in cloud architecture and design, cloud security, cloud deployment, operations and support, and troubleshooting security issues related to cloud implementations.
While there are no formal prerequisites, CompTIA recommends that you have two to three years in networking or systems administration in addition to the CompTIA Server+ and Network+ certifications.
9. Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist
The Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist (CKS) certification was developed by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and The Linux Foundation. The CKS certification is aimed at accomplished Kubernetes practitioners who have demonstrated that they have the knowledge and skills to secure Kubernetes platforms and container-based applications during build, implementation, and runtime.
Individuals must have the Certified Kubernetes Administrator certification. This certification validates that you can set up and harden clusters, reduce vulnerabilities in microservices, and monitor for security issues while apps are running.
10. GIAC Public Cloud Security
The GIAC Public Cloud Security (GPCS) certification verifies you’re able to secure the public cloud as well as multi-cloud environments. Professionals with this certification are familiar with the nuances of Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, and AWS and have the necessary skills to protect each platform. The GPCS certification is geared to security auditors, security analysts, auditors, system administrators, engineers and researchers, and cloud and DevOps engineers.
While there are no specific prerequisites, practical work experience can help ensure you have the skills necessary for certification. Alternatively, college courses or self-paced study through another program may suffice.
The benefits and use cases of operating in the cloud have soared over the last decade and are only likely to grow.
But as with any technology, protecting yourself and your data needs to be a primary motive, and there is currently a huge shortage within the security industry.
Gaining one or more cloud security certifications offers an effective way to validate your skills, improve your career prospects, and help differentiate yourself from other candidates in the job market.
So whether you are just starting out or already accomplished in your field, keep learning, validate your learning with certification, and help keep cloud services secure — all of us rely on them!