Careers in Cloud Security

Cloud security careers are set to be among the most prominent roles available to any cyber security professional in the coming years. As more firms become increasingly dependent on these platforms, there will be a growing need for skilled and experienced personnel to ensure these critical systems are safe.

The rising importance of cloud security

The use of cloud tools has been steadily rising for several years, and now almost no business can operate without some form of cloud computing solution. According to figures from Right Scale, 91 per cent of firms use public cloud services, while 72 per cent use private cloud solutions.

It also found two-thirds of companies have a central cloud team or a centre of excellence, with a further 21 per cent planning on implementing such a solution in the near future. 

However, figures from Statista show 33 per cent of businesses in 2020 describe themselves as 'extremely concerned' about the security of public cloud, with a further 42 per cent saying they are 'very concerned'. Just one per cent said they have no worries about the safety of these operations.

This means security professionals with specialist expertise in cloud technologies will be in extremely high demand among businesses across all sizes and sectors. As a result, this area is a great environment for anyone who wants to get into cyber security or advance their career and work with cutting-edge technology at the world's largest organisations.

Why firms need cloud specialists

The importance of cloud security specialists was highlighted in training provider (ISC)2's 2021 Cloud Security Report, which noted 96 per cent of security pros are at
least moderately concerned about public cloud security.

It also found a lack of talent in this area is a major barrier, with 39 per cent rating this as the biggest impediment to faster adoption of cloud services. What's more, only 28 per cent of firms rate themselves as 'very' or 'extremely' confident in their cloud security solutions. 

Among the biggest concerns raised by firms about their cloud environments are:

  • Risk of data loss/leakage (64 per cent)
  • Privacy/confidentiality issues (62 per cent)
  • Accidental exposure of credentials (46 per cent)
  • Legal/regulatory compliance (44 per cent)

 Overall, 49 per cent of firms agreed that a lack of staff expertise is their biggest day-to-day headache when it comes to securing their cloud environments - up from 47 per cent 12 months previously. 

Meanwhile, the biggest specific cloud security threats firms face as a result of these shortcomings are:

  • Misconfiguration of the cloud platform (67 per cent of respondents)
  • Exfiltration of sensitive data (59 per cent)
  • Unauthorised access to systems or applications (49 per cent)
  • Insecure interfaces or APIs (49 per cent)
  • External sharing of data (40 per cent)

In addition, 36 per cent of professionals highlighted the threat posed by malicious insiders, while more than a third (34 per cent) were worried about foreign state-sponsored cyber attacks on tier cloud systems, which highlights the wide range of risks posed.

What makes a cloud security career unique?

A major reason for these concerns is that cloud environments have their own unique demands that differ from on-premise technologies and methods. For instance, (ISC)2's study found 81 per cent of firms say their traditional solutions either have limited functionality or don't work at all when applied to the cloud. In turn, this means cyber security pros who are only familiar with these tools may find themselves struggling to keep up.

A career in cloud security will therefore enable you to turn your talents to an exciting, rapidly-evolving landscape and offer potential employers badly-needed skills. You'll need to keep up with a wide variety of the latest threats and be able to work at speed and come up with new solutions to a range of emerging issues. 

There are a wide number of threats aimed at cloud services, including DDoS attacks, data breaches, insecure APIs, malware injection and data loss, and hackers are constantly evolving their techniques. This means there will always be new challenges to tackle.

Therefore, skills such as lateral thinking, problem solving and a willingness to learn something new are all essential if you want to make cloud security your specialism. 

Being able to demonstrate expertise in cloud systems also enables you to apply for specialist jobs within a variety of critical cyber security roles, including:

The skills needed for a career in cloud security

To be successful in the field of cloud security, you'll need a range of technical and professional skills, as well as a passion for the cloud and a good head for problem solving. For starters, most businesses run their cloud operations on one of several key platforms, so it pays to have strong experience in at least one of the following:

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Google Cloud Platform

AWS skills and certifications in particular will be hugely in-demand among many employers, as this is the leading choice for many public cloud deployments. However, you'll also need skills in areas such as:

  • System configuration
  • Cloud architecture
  • Virtualization
  • Identity and access management
  • Encryption

As well as these skills, you can also make yourself more attractive to potential employers with a specialist certification in cloud security. These qualifications can demonstrate you have a deep knowledge of the unique requirements and challenges of this area. 

Certifications such as (ISC)2's Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) or the Cloud Security Alliance's Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK) will be valuable assets in your search for a cloud security career.

Does a career in this area sound like the right path for you? Then check out our latest cloud security jobs listings and find out where your next position could take you.