The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), the world’s leading organization dedicated to defining and raising awareness of best practices to help ensure a secure cloud computing environment, announced the Certificate of Cloud Auditing Knowledge (CCAK), the only credential for industry professionals that demonstrates expertise in the essential principles of auditing cloud computing systems.
Set to be released in the second half of 2020, the CCAK aims to solve the current industry knowledge gap for IT audit and security professionals trained and certified for traditional on-premise IT auditing and assurance.
Designed to provide CISOs, security and compliance managers, internal and external auditors, and practitioners of tomorrow with the proven skillset to address the specific concerns that arise from the use of various forms of cloud services, the CCAK will provide a common baseline of expertise and shared nomenclature to ensure that IT auditors and other related stakeholders are communicating appropriately and accurately regarding the effectiveness of cloud security controls.
With its focus on cloud computing, the CCAK differs from traditional IT audit certification programs, which have many excellent elements, but were not developed with an understanding of cloud computing and its many nuances.
An audited organization using cloud computing, for instance, will have a very different approach to satisfying control objectives, and a cloud tenant will certainly not have the same administrative access as in a legacy IT system and will employ a wide range of security controls that will be foreign to an audit and assurance professional grounded in traditional IT audit practices.
“Cloud computing represents a radical departure from legacy IT in virtually every respect. The new technology architecture, the nature of how cloud is provisioned, and the new shared responsibility model means that IT audits must be significantly altered to provide assurance to stakeholders that their cloud adoption is secure,” said Jim Reavis, co-founder and CEO, Cloud Security Alliance.
“Because CSA already has developed the most widely adopted cloud security audit criteria and organizational certification, we are uniquely positioned to lead efforts to ensure industry professionals have the requisite skill set for auditing cloud environments.”
The CCAK’s holistic body of knowledge will be composed of the CSA’s Cloud Controls Matrix (CCM), the fundamental framework of cloud control objectives; its companion Consensus Assessments Initiative Questionnaire (CAIQ), the primary means for assessing a cloud provider’s adherence to CCM; and the Security, Trust, Assurance & Risk (STAR) program, the global leader in cloud security audits and self-assessments, in addition to new material.
For more than 10 years, CSA has led the development of the trusted cloud ecosystem, which notably includes the STAR program and the Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK), the gold standard for measuring professional competency in cloud security.
The CCAK and the CCSK will complement one another in that the CCSK provides the knowledge that enables an expert to secure cloud systems that will, in turn, be successfully scrutinized by an expert holding the CCAK. In many cases, an industry professional will be well served by obtaining both certificates.
Because the CCAK is intended to create a common cloud audit understanding, it’s expected to become a mandatory requirement for IT auditors and highly recommended for IT managers and professionals, especially governance, risk management, compliance, and vendor/supply chain management.
Several opportunities exist for those looking to participate in the CCAK’s development. Individuals can volunteer to provide subject matter expertise or peer review, while organizations with a vested interest in cloud security can become a founding sponsor.