CSA Continues Cloud Security Certification Push

The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) has launched what it's calling the first user certification program for secure cloud computing that shows that its holders are up to snuff when it comes to all things cloud security related.

The Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK) is designed show that solution providers and IT professionals have a strong awareness and understanding of security threats and best practices for securing the cloud, the CSA said.

Despite a boost in cloud adoption, security remains a chief concern for users and companies investigating cloud computing. In a bid to allay those security fears, the CSA has developed a catalog of security best practices for the cloud, dubbed Security Guidance for Critical Areas of Focus in Cloud Computing, V2.1; and the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) has crafted a whitepaper titled "Cloud Computing: Benefits, Risks and Recommendations for Information Security." The CCSK certification provides evidence that an individual has completed an examination that covers the key concepts of the CSA guidance and the ENISA whitepaper and that the individual knows the ins and outs of cloud security.

"Cloud represents the shift to compute as a utility and is ushering in a new generation of information technology. Critical services are now being provided via the cloud, which is creating a mandate for cloud security skills across the spectrum of IT-related professions," said Jim Reavis, CSA executive director. "The CSA is providing a low cost certification that establishes a robust baseline of cloud security knowledge. When combined with existing professional certifications, the CCSK helps provide necessary assurance of user competency in this important time of transition."

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While the CCSK certification has just launched, high profile companies like eBay Inc., Lockheed Martin and Sallie Mae plan to leverage the cert among their IT and security staffs, according to the CSA.

"We now plan to make this certification a requirement for our staff, to ensure they have a solid baseline of understanding of the best practices for securing data and applications in the cloud," eBay CISO and vice president Dave Cullinane said in a statement.

According to the CSA, online testing for the CCSK cloud security certification will be available starting Sept. 1. The test costs $195 through December 31 and will run $295 starting Jan. 1, 2010.

The launch of the CCSK continues the CSA's push to develop certifications around cloud computing security. Earlier this year, the CSA teamed up with Novell to launch a security certification program, the Trusted Security Certification program or the "Trusted Cloud Initiative." The vendor-neutral program was designed to give cloud solution providers and IT pros security-specific cloud certifications and the information necessary to deliver cloud solutions that are secure, interoperable and in compliance while also providing a standard to remove concerns around cloud security.