The best certifications for working in the cloud

If you're looking to start a career in cyber security, one of the fastest-growing and most in-demand specialisms in the industry is expertise in cloud systems.

Cloud computing now has a place in almost every business. However, these networks often differ significantly from more traditional on-premise tools, and there are a new range of threats specific to these environments, which means old ways of protecting them may not be effective. 

Therefore, recruiters are increasingly looking for candidates who can demonstrate specialist knowledge of how cloud systems function. And one of the best ways you can show this is by having a professional qualification such as relevant cloud security certification.

There are several options to select from, so it pays to understand what each offers and which might be best for you. Here are a few you should be aware of.

Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)

If you only have one certification in this field, (ISC)2's Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) is the one to have. Among the most well-regarded qualifications in the industry, this lets future employers know you have a strong working knowledge of all aspects of cloud security. The certification covers six key domains: architecture and design; data security; application security; platform and infrastructure security; security operations; and legal and compliance risks.

It will therefore give you the wide range of knowledge employers need, especially for more senior roles. However, it's not a qualification designed for those new to the sector, as it requires five years of IT work experience, including at least three in information security, before you can take the exam.

Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK)

For those looking for a first step on the road to becoming a cloud security professional, the Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK) from the Cloud Security Alliance is an excellent choice. It covers key areas including cloud architecture and infrastructure, data security, key management, and identity and access management. There are no prerequisites before taking the exam and it's a relatively cost-effective option, so is ideal for entry-level professionals.

CompTIA Cloud+

While the CompTIA Cloud+ certification is a more general cloud administration qualification rather than one specialising in security, it's still a good option for security-focused IT professionals. This will help show that you understand security's place in the cloud environment, how to implement security controls and how to troubleshoot problems. 

It provides professionals with a good basis in concepts, common vocabulary, and approaches to cloud computing in a platform-agnostic way. CompTIA recommends two to three years' experience in systems administration before starting the course, but this isn't a requirement.

GIAC Cloud Security Automation (GCSA)

A lesser-known but still highly-valued certification for hiring managers, the GIAC Cloud Security Automation (GCSA) is a more specialised option for those working in the most up-to-date cloud and DevOps environments. It's far from the cheapest option out there, but if you're looking to work in the most technical environments that focus on highly-automated processes, it can be immensely useful in furthering your career.

Identity and Access Management CIAM and CIMP Certifications

CIMP
Closely aligned with the cloud security field the Certified Identity Management Professional designation is a registered international and vendor-neutral certification mark developed and administered by Identity Management Institute (IMI) for technology professionals in cybersecurity and identity management who develop and implement technical identity and access management (IAM) solutions.

The Certified Identity Management Professional (CIMP) program helps certification candidates become technical identity professionals based on industry guidelines for digital identity management and validates their IAM technology management expertise. CIMP experts demonstrate technical ability to support IAM processes and controls by developing and implementing system solutions that meet business needs and requirements.


CIAM
The Certified Identity and Access Manager  CIAM certification is a registered and vendor-neutral IAM certification which is recognized globally as the Gold Standard certification of the identity and access management industry. The program offers comprehensive training with online study materials, video course, and exam to certify candidates and improve their career advancement opportunities in the fastest growing segment of cybersecurity.

 

Vendor-specific certifications

The above certifications all offer a general view of cloud security that isn't specific to any one platform, but if you do expect to be working within a certain environment, there are vendor-specific options to consider as well. The three main cloud computing providers in 2021 are:

  • Amazon Web Services (32 per cent of the market)
  • Microsoft Azure (20 per cent)
  • Google Cloud (nine per cent)

All of these offer vendor-specific cloud security certifications, including Amazon's AWS Certified Security - Specialty certification, Microsoft's Azure Security Engineer Associate and Google's Professional Cloud Security Engineer.

These can all be used to complement your overall cloud security knowledge or give you a leg up if you're looking for roles in a specific field.

Browse our range of cloud security training courses today to find one that suits your experience and ambition.