CCSP certification: Exam, cost, salary future growth


Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) Certification: A Comprehensive Guide

The Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) certification, provided by the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC2), is a prestigious credential that caters to experienced security professionals focusing on cloud security architecture and design. Since its inception at RSA in 2015, the CCSP has become increasingly popular as enterprises shift their infrastructure, storage, and applications to the cloud. This guide provides a detailed overview of the CCSP certification, including exam details, costs, requirements, training options, and potential salary benefits.

What is CCSP?

The CCSP certification is designed for seasoned security professionals who apply best practices in cloud security architecture and design. It signifies advanced technical skills and knowledge to manage and secure cloud data, applications, and infrastructure using industry best practices, policies, and procedures. Ideal candidates include cloud architects, cloud engineers, cloud administrators, cloud security analysts, and auditors of cloud services.


The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is another prominent certification offered by ISC2, aimed at upper-level security professionals. The primary difference between CCSP and CISSP lies in their focus areas:

  • CCSP: Concentrates entirely on cloud security.
  • CISSP: Covers a broader range of security topics and is designed to validate the ability to design, implement, and manage an overall cybersecurity program at the enterprise level.

While the CISSP exam is more extensive and covers a wider range of topics, the CCSP is more in-depth regarding cloud-specific security issues.

CCSP Exam Details

The CCSP exam is a rigorous assessment conducted at Pearson VUE test centers. The exam format and structure are as follows:

  • Format: Computer-based
  • Duration: Four hours (changing to three hours from August 1, 2024)
  • Number of Questions: 150 multiple-choice questions (reducing to 125)
  • Passing Score: 700 out of 1,000 points
  • Languages: English, Chinese, Japanese, and German

The exam questions are derived from ISC2’s common body of knowledge (CBK) for cloud security professionals, which is segmented into six domains:

  1. Cloud Concepts, Architecture, and Design: 17%
  2. Cloud Data Security: 20%
  3. Cloud Platform and Infrastructure Security: 17%
  4. Cloud Application Security: 17%
  5. Cloud Security Operations: 16%
  6. Legal, Risk, and Compliance: 13%

Candidates may encounter scenario-based questions, requiring them to apply their knowledge to specific situations.

CCSP Exam Cost

The cost of the CCSP exam varies by region:

  • EMEA: €555
  • UK: £479
  • US and other regions: $599

Additional costs may include training materials and courses to prepare for the exam.

CCSP Certification Requirements

Achieving the CCSP certification involves more than just passing the exam. Candidates must meet specific professional experience requirements:

  • Total Experience: At least five years of paid work experience in IT.
  • Information Security Experience: At least three years.
  • Cloud Security Experience: At least one year in one or more of the six CCSP CBK domains.

Alternatives to fulfill these requirements include part-time or unpaid work, and possessing other relevant certifications, such as the Cloud Security Alliance’s Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge, which ISC2 considers equivalent to one year of professional experience. Holding a CISSP certification can also fulfill the experience requirement for CCSP.

Additionally, candidates must obtain an endorsement from an ISC2-certified professional who can attest to their work experience. ISC2 can assist in finding an endorser if needed. Candidates who pass the exam but lack the required experience can earn the Associate of ISC2 status, providing access to ISC2 resources while they gain the necessary experience, which must be completed within six years.

Additional CCSP Certification Costs

Beyond the exam fee, CCSP certification involves other financial commitments:

  • Annual Maintenance Fees: $135 for certified members and $50 for Associates.
  • Continuing Education: Required to maintain certification, with potential associated costs.

CCSP Training

Preparing for the CCSP exam requires thorough study and practice. ISC2 offers official study materials and resources, including:

  • Study Guide
  • Practice Tests
  • Flash Cards
  • Study App

Third-party books, such as Daniel Carter’s "CCSP Certified Cloud Security Professional All-in-One Exam Guide" and Gwen Bettwy’s "CCSP Cloud Guardians," are also highly recommended.

Several training courses are available, both online and in-person. ISC2 offers an online self-paced training course for $920, with additional classroom-based and instructor-led options. Other providers, like the Infosec Institute and Simplilearn, offer boot camps, often with exam pass guarantees.

CCSP Salary and Career Benefits

Obtaining the CCSP certification can significantly enhance your career and earning potential in the field of cloud security. While exact salary benefits can vary, ISC2’s Cybersecurity Workforce Study provides average salary data for CCSP holders:

  • Globally: $114,211
  • North America: $148,009
  • Europe: $111,665
  • Asia Pacific: $83,017
  • Middle East and Africa: $51,959

It’s important to note that these figures reflect both the certification and the requisite experience. The certification itself does not guarantee a specific salary increase but can distinguish you in a competitive job market. The most recent Foote Partners "IT Skills Demand and Pay Trends Report" indicates that CCSP-certified professionals earn an 11% premium over their peers without the certification.


The CCSP certification is a valuable credential for professionals aiming to specialize in cloud security. It requires a significant investment of time, effort, and money but can lead to advanced career opportunities and higher salaries. By meeting the experience requirements, preparing thoroughly for the exam, and engaging in continuous learning, you can achieve and maintain this respected certification, positioning yourself as a leader in the rapidly evolving field of cloud security.

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