Let us first outline the essentials of this CCSP study guide and get you one step closer to getting one of the best certifications.
Starting with the basics will help you understand the importance of the CCSP certification. You will be introduced to the foundation for the Certified Cloud Security Professional exam preparation.
What is CCSP?
CCSP stands for Certified Cloud Security Professional. It certifies that you have the advanced technical knowledge and skills for design, management, and data, applications, and infrastructure security in the cloud using the standard practices, policies, and procedures that have been introduced by the experts at (ISC)².
Earning this internationally recognized CCSP certification is the best way to build your career in Cloud Security and secure critical assets in the cloud. Through this certification, you can prove your skills and further your career. It also helps to be a part of the cyber security community, which will help you through your career.
Who should consider getting CCSP certified?
Certified Cloud Security Professional is for IT and information security professionals who are in charge of implementing the established best practices to cloud security architecture, design, operations, and service orchestration. The certification is also for professionals in the following positions:
- Security Administrator
- Security Engineer
- Security Manager
- Security Architect
- Enterprise Architect
- Systems Engineer
- Security Consultant
- Systems Architect
Is the CCSP Right for You?
The Certified Cloud Security Professional from (ISC)² is not a suitable option for everyone. So, it’s important to first understand that before you start down this certification path. Always consciously make a decision to pursue a certification or credential that is more aligned with your career goals. If you are just starting out, it is recommended that you start with the CCSK (Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge) first.
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CCSP Certification Exam Overview
The (ISC)² CCSP exam duration is of four hours and needs to be taken on a computer with an internet connection and video camera. The exam is in English and consists of 125 questions that are multiple-choice. Out of a total of 1000 points, you need to score at least 700 to qualify. The examination fee is US$599.
Prerequisites for the CCSP Exam
Candidates who are planning to undergo CCSP exam preparation have to fulfill any of the following criteria:
- CISSP accreditation from (ISC)²
- Certification of Cloud Security Knowledge by Cloud Security Alliance (CSA).
- Five years of full-time experience in the IT industry and three years of experience in information security.
- Five years of full-time experience in the IT sector and a year of experience in cloud data and application security. The one year should include design requirements, architectural concepts for the cloud platform, operations, areas of infrastructure security, and legal and compliance.
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CCSP Certification Syllabus
There are six domains that are covered in the CCSP exam. They are:
- Cloud data security (20%)
- Architectural concepts and design requirements (19%)
- Cloud platform and infrastructure security (19%)
- Operations (15%)
- Cloud application security (15%)
- Legal and compliance (12%)
Every domain in the CCSP study guide has a specific weight in the questions for the exam. Cloud data security is given the highest weightage covering 20% of the questions. Architectural concepts and design requirements and Cloud platform and infrastructure security cover 19% of the questions. Meanwhile, Operations and Cloud application security include 15% of the questions in the CCSP exam. The Legal and compliance domain has the least weightage with 12% of the questions in the examination.
Maintain Your CCSP Certification
This CCSP exam guide will also tell you how you can maintain your CCSP credential. After successfully getting certified in CCSP, the process doesn’t end there. One has to ensure to maintain the credentials through the three-year certification cycle. You can continue to maintain your Certified Cloud Security Professional certification by keeping at least 90 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits in this period.
Certified professionals are expected to follow the (ISC)² Code of Ethics and should have another (ISC)² certified professional endorse their application of Code of Ethics. There is also an Annual Maintenance Fee (AMF that needs to be paid. If these guidelines are not followed within nine months from the exam date, then the exam has to be retaken.
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CCSP Exam Preparation Guide
Generally, 120 days are enough to prepare for the CCSP examination. Interestingly, you will also get 120 days to prepare for the exam once you have made the payment for the CCSP exam. For 40 to 60 hours of adequate preparation, you can commit 2 hours every day for exam preparations.
The first thing that you should start with for your CCSP exam preparation is covering the fundamentals. It includes encryption, virtualization technologies, and the difference between SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS.
Recommended Reading Materials for CCSP Certification Exam
Your preparation for the CCSP exam should also include the following books. You can refer to the following books to prepare:
1. The Official (ISC)² Guide to the CCSP CBK by Adam Gordon (illustrated examples, clear diagrams, best practices, and real-life scenarios on cloud security)
2. Security Guidance for Critical Areas of Focus in Cloud Computing v4.0 by Cloud Security Alliance (real-world best practices for cloud security, advancements in cloud security and supporting technologies, and latest Cloud Security Alliance research projects)
3. The Treacherous 12 by CSA (free downloadable file about the top security threats faced by businesses).
4. CSA- Cloud Control Matrix (a guide for cloud customers and prospective vendors)
5. Jericho- Cloud Cube Model ( proprietary/open, internal/external, parameterized/de-parameterized, and insourced/outsourced architectures)
6. OWASP Top 10 (the Open Web Application Security Project)
7. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) publications:
- NIST SP 800-125: Guide to Security for Full Virtualization Technologies
- NIST SP 800-144: Guidelines on Security and Privacy in Public Cloud Computing
- NIST SP 800-146: Cloud Computing Synopsis and Recommendations
8. Electronic CCSP flashcards by (ISC)² (interactive learning and preparation for the examination)
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Tips to Prepare for CCSP Certification Exam
Following are some tips to help you to prepare well and crack the CCSP exam:
Cover All Topics
Make sure to study and learn all the topics and concepts in the Certified Cloud Security Professional domains.
Smartly Manage Exam Time
Allocate a time limit per question. Since the CCSP examination is of four hours and has 125 questions, you have almost two minutes for attempting each question. Don’t be stuck on one question for more than two minutes, as you will end up reducing your chances of clearing the exam. So, the best way of time management is by attempting the easy questions first and then returning to the difficult ones that were left.
Take Practice Tests
Of course, practice is key to any examination. So, make sure not to skip practice tests. These tests will not only simulate the real examination environment for you, but you will also be able to put all the knowledge you acquired by reading to practice. You will be able to time yourself and learn your setbacks. Practice tests usually offer detailed explanations for the questions, thus making it easier for you to improve gradually. The CCSP-certified practice tests can be a good addition to your preparation journey.
Plan Well to Reduce Stress
A timetable is crucial for your CCSP exam preparation. Remember to efficiently plan and schedule the 120 days of preparation thoroughly and follow through with it. Make sure to include and cover all the domains of the CCSP certification. Don’t forget to consider your other professional and personal commitments in your timetable. This will give you the best results and ensure that you have a calm and composed mind during your exam preparation.
Stay Fit and Healthy
As mentioned on the previous point, a well-organized timetable can help keep a calm and composed mind. However, remember to not stress if you are getting stuck on a particular concept. Try to find solutions with a relaxed mind and posture. Doing so will help you be in top shape for the examination. Be patient, consistent, and persistent throughout your preparation.
Hope this CCSP exam preparation will help you start your preparations. Remember that understanding the CCSP domains, concepts, and its exam format will essentially help you get the most out of your preparation and establish a promising career for you. Best of luck!
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