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How To Earn A CCSP Certification

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By: Cybrary Staff

September 13, 2021

Becoming a certified cloud security professional requires a minimum of five years’ experience in IT and proficiency across six cloud security domains.

Summary: The CCSP certification is the global gold standard for demonstrating cloud security expertise. Earning the certification requires at least five years of experience in the IT sector, including three in information security. The exam itself covers six domains that address the most pervasive issues today’s security teams face.

The Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) certification is one of the most advanced and broadly recognized credentials in the cloud security sector. Granted by (ISC)2, it is awarded to candidates who demonstrate the superlative technical skills and knowledge required to protect today’s enterprises against an increasingly challenging threat landscape.

Many who pass the CCSP exam could earn a six-figure salary. Moreover, given the acute skills shortage in the cybersecurity space, the demand for accredited experts is enormous. For organizations interested in upskilling their employees, enrolling their top security experts in a CCSP course also presents a proven way to overcome that skills gap.

While the CCSP is not as challenging as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) exam, earning this certification still requires at least five years of professional experience in the IT field. The exam itself consists of 125 multiple-choice questions, and candidates are allocated four hours to complete it. A score of at least 700/1000 points is required for a pass.

Here is an overview of what it takes to earn a CCSP certification:

Decide whether CCSP is the right choice

The CCSP accreditation is one of six granted by (ISC)2. While the most widely recognized is the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), the others are targeted at specific industries and specialties. CISSP, for example, is geared more towards management and leadership roles, whereas CCSP stays more on the technical side.

All of the certifications are highly sought-after and open the doors to six-figure salaries. That being said, candidates should pursue the certification that best aligns with their career goals, interests, and experience. It is, of course, possible to earn more than one certification, but that requires an enormous amount of dedication.

Eligibility criteria for the CCSP certification

Although it is possible to take the exam at any time, a pass will only result in certification if the candidate meets all the prerequisites. Candidates who take the exam before they meet these prerequisites have six years to accrue the necessary experience. Passing the exam requires a final score of at least 700 points out of a possible 1,000.

Passing the exam requires extensive knowledge and substantial experience, which is why candidates generally should not pay for and book their exams until they are absolutely certain they are ready.

Candidates must have a minimum of five years of cumulative paid work experience. Three of these must be directly involved in information security, while one must be directly tied to one of the six domains of the CCSP Common Body of Knowledge (CBK). Part-time work and internships can also count towards experience. Finally, earning the CSA’s CCSK certificate can be substituted for a year of experience in one of the six domains covered under the CCSP framework. Candidates will need to prove their experience with the necessary documentation, such as proof of employment.

Options for preparing for the CCSP exam

Assuming the candidate already meets the eligibility criteria for the CCSP certification, preparing for the exam can take anywhere between a few weeks and a few months. Those currently in full-time employment can learn on the job, provided their roles are relevant to those the CCSP accreditation caters to.

There are many ways to prepare for the exam itself. Candidates should invest in the official study guides and other resources, but there is no substitute for self-paced online lessons. This approach makes it easy for candidates to learn in their own time and at a pace that suits them while working in the field to gain experience.

For employers interested in upskilling their staff, online self-paced lessons are more affordable and proven than private on-site training. They also provide excellent flexibility and the means for employers to track progress.

After completing any course, it is highly advisable that candidates take a few practice tests in the weeks before the exam. This will help familiarize themselves with the exam structure, and better prepare them for the real thing.

How to maintain a CCSP certification

Upon earning their certifications, alumni will become official members of (ISC)2. This grants them access to a world-renowned community of security experts, as well as the resources they need to maintain their certifications. There is also an annual maintenance fee of $125.

The CCSP certification itself is valid for three years, as is the case with all other credentials granted by (ISC)2. Fortunately, renewal is largely an automatic process for those working full-time in the cloud security field. More specifically, candidates will need to earn 30 continuing professional education (CPE) credits every year to maintain their certifications. This is possible either through training or work experience.

Candidates can, of course, allow their certifications to expire, as would be the case for those wanting to take a year off work, for example. In this case, it will be necessary to recertify by retaking (and passing) the exam and paying the exam fee again.

Cybrary for Teams is an all-one-one workforce development platform that helps organizations develop stronger cybersecurity skills, prepare for new certifications, and track team progress. Enroll your team in our CCSP course today!

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