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CCSK vs CCSP : Which Cloud Security Certification to go for?

What Is CCSK certification and why go for it?

The Cloud Computing Security Knowledge, or CCSK, is a vendor-neutral certification. It certifies competency in key cloud security areas covering architecture, governance, compliance, operations, encryption, virtualization and much more.
The CSA, Cloud Security Alliance, was the body that released the CCSK for the first time in 2010. The current version 4 of Cloud Security Alliance’s Security Guidance for Critical Areas of Focus in Cloud Computing acts as a practical and actionable roadmap.
Since 2011, this version 4 represents a major update to the last version, including:

  • Real-world Best Practices in cloud security
  • Latest cloud technologies, security regulations and approaches
  • Integration with other available CSA tools

CCSK v4 is now been adopted as the first security cloud reference and many cloud providers and information security services firms are encouraging employees to get CCSK Certification.
With the updated v4 content, the CCSK remains highly relevant to security professionals who are seeking a course that delivers a general tactical and strategic understanding of the challenges and advantages of cloud.

The CCSK certification is around making sure the cloud security expert understands the foundation of cloud security topics and has a broad understanding of almost all topics related to cloud computing and security both in ITSEC and INFOSEC.

The CCSK exam is a web-based examination test of specific competency in key cloud security domains. The open book test is available online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and it costs $345 USD. Registration and payment for the exam can be done online. The allowed time is 90 minutes with an 80% score of correct answers to pass the exam. The CCSK examination consists of 60 multiple choice questions. The exam questions are based on 92% of the CSA Guidance and 8% of the ENISA report.

CSA has two instructor-led courses foundation and plus packages which ranges between 1k$ and 1700$.

For those wanting a CCSK self-paced online course that you can follow on your own schedule and do it completely online, I have designed and built a complete online course, a step-by-step style that includes videos, resources, flashcards and AWS labs along with an exam simulator and online support 24/7.


The online course has been live for more than a year and we update the content s regularly. It helped all our members get their certification from first try – Guaranteed!

What about CCSP certification?

Cloud security professionals report that, by obtaining the CCSP certification, they have gained employer and customer confidence – respect, credibility, and trust. Backed by the two leading nonprofits focused on cloud and information security, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) and (ISC)², the CCSP credential denotes professionals with deep-seated knowledge and competency derived from hands-on experience with cloud security architecture, design, operations, and service orchestration.

The exam covers 6 domain areas. Think of the domains as specific topics you need to know based on your professional experience and education. Some domains carry more exam weight than others.
Once you attain the CCSP certification, you become a member of (ISC)² – and you’ll be part of a growing global community of over 125,000 cybersecurity leaders and professionals.
You’ll also receive access to ongoing continuing education and professional development opportunities, helping you stay ahead of industry trends and keep your knowledge and skills current.
To qualify for the CCSP, you must have a minimum of:

  • 5 years of cumulative paid full-time information technology experience, of which
  • 3 years must be in information security and
  • 1 year in one of the 6 domains of the CCSP examination:
  1. Architectural Concepts & Design Requirements
  2. Cloud Data Security
  3. Cloud Platform & Infrastructure Security
  4. Cloud Application Security
  5. Operations
  6. Legal & Compliance

My Thoughts…

Depending on your background and your experience in IT security, going for the CCSK or CCSP can be an easy decision.
I always recommend to my students from all levels (Engineer, Officer to Exec level) or those wanting switch their career or simply get started with cloud security to get their CCSK first.
It gives a good foundation and confidence to start a journey in cloud security and decide later on, which field in cloud security topics you want to move deeper or specialized.
The CCSP is bit different in approach and can be bit intimidating if not well prepared. CCSP requires some IT security experience to get approved in the process. The CCSP could be a natural choice for those with previous experience or IT security certification.
I wont push for one or the other, but the decision is a case by case and will depend on each one profile, background, experience and future goals.
If you want more help deciding which one to go for or start with, shoot me an email and will be glad to help.

All the best,