CSA Offers New Certificate of Competence in Zero Trust for Cloud Security Best Practices

December 18, 2023 | Cloud Security

A 2022 report by IBM indicated that a zero trust approach to information security helped reduce the average cost of a data breach. This statistic demonstrates that zero trust is no longer just a buzzword—it’s a strategy for cloud security best practices. Zero trust operates on the principle of “never trust, always verify,” which means, by default, no one should be trusted from inside or outside an organization’s network, and verification should be required from everyone trying to gain access to resources on the network. 

The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) recently launched a training and certificate program to develop skill in zero trust methodology.  This program allows individuals and organizations alike to build their knowledge of zero trust and implement the zero trust philosophy to cloud environments. Learners can achieve a Certificate of Competence in Zero Trust (CCZT) through the successful completion of a CCZT exam.  

The CCZT includes foundational zero trust components released by CISA and NIST, innovative work by CSA Research, and guidance from renowned zero trust experts. Through the CCZT program, CSA aims to meet the rising demand for zero trust through the following approaches: 

  • Increasing the effectiveness of traditional security: Traditional models are ineffective against modern threats. Zero trust assumes no user or device can be trusted.
  • Developing cloud computing and remote work: Zero trust helps organizations secure their cloud-based resources and remote workforce.
  • Providing opportunities for demand growth: As organizations and government agencies increasingly embrace zero trust, they seek training programs to educate their employees. 

Let’s take a closer look at the CCZT program and how to earn certification so you and your organization can keep up with cloud security best practices.

Benefits of Achieving a CCZT

The CCZT provides an in-depth understanding of zero trust architecture, its components, and its functioning. Earning a CCZT is critical for security professionals seeking to advance their careers and organizations that want to maintain strong security postures. According to CSA, benefits to the CCZT include: 

  • Building a competent workforce and further individual development by keeping up with and demonstrating zero trust excellence.
  • Gaining an in-depth understanding of zero trust to implement robust security measures and create secure systems.
  • Keeping up with innovation by tackling evolving cloud security challenges and vulnerabilities with zero trust.

Who Should Earn a CCZT?

CSA offers several options when it comes to achieving a CCZT. If you’re a cybersecurity professional looking to advance your career, you can enroll to take the CCZT exam as an individual. Additionally, CSA offers guidance for agencies who want to meet federal mandates, enhance cybersecurity, and ensure compliance with security directives. If you’re a manager responsible for maintaining your organization’s security posture, you can also enroll groups or teams for the CCZT exam. 

Other professionals who will benefit from achieving a CCZT are:

  • CISOs
  • Enterprise architects 
  • Risk officers 
  • Decision makers
  • Stakeholders
  • Compliance officers and managers
  • System engineers 
  • Cybersecurity analysts 
  • Developers 
  • Security administrators
  • Government agencies
  • Federal partners 

How to Prepare for the CCZT Exam

To earn a CCZT, you must pass the CSA’s open-book, online exam. The exam is 90 minutes with 60 multiple-choice questions selected from certain CCZT topics. As a learner, you can study on your own using the CSA’s free prep-kit, or you can enroll for the Zero Trust Training (ZZT), which includes online, self-paced courses and study guides. 

The CCZT exam evaluates an individual’s knowledge and expertise in various key areas related to zero trust security, including the following essential topics:

  • Zero trust foundational concepts
  • Zero trust architecture
  • Software defined perimeter 
  • NIST and CSA best practices
  • Zero trust planning
  • Zero trust implementation 

CSA offers a digital badge for those who successfully pass the exam and achieve a CCZT. The digital badge helps you and your organization gain recognition for earning your certificate by allowing you to easily display and share your credentials.

BARR’s CSA STAR Services

CSA also offers the Security, Trust, Assurance, and Risk (STAR) program, which uses standards from the Cloud Control Matrix (CCM) for security assurance in the cloud. CSA STAR is a benchmark assurance framework for cloud service providers (CSPs), helping organizations align with the industry’s evolving changes. Organizations can choose to complete two levels of the CSA STAR program, where CSA STAR Level 1 serves as a foundation for the more advanced CSA STAR Level 2.  

As a CSA STAR certification-approved assessment firm, BARR Advisory partners with CSPs to provide an efficient way to demonstrate their commitment to security and privacy best practices through the CSA STAR program.

“For CSPs that have already completed assessments through other compliance frameworks, CSA STAR is a seamless addition that brings with it a unique opportunity to hone in on the security principles that are most relevant in cloud environments,” said BARR Advisory Founder and President Brad Thies.

Contact BARR today for more information on zero trust and how to differentiate your cloud-based organization with security and compliance.

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