CCPT vs. GCPN: A cloud certification comparison
Cloud adoption surged during the Covid-19 pandemic in response to the accelerated shift to a larger remote workforce and continues to rise. The increased digitalization, desired access to the newest AI tools and growth of IoT will continue to drive companies’ investment in cloud services. According to research and advisory company Gartner, Inc., end-user spending on public cloud services worldwide will grow 20.7% to total $591.8 billion in 2023 (up from $490.3 billion in 2022 and higher than the 18.8% growth forecast for 2022).
Despite the many benefits, cloud migration has also led to a growing threat landscape, with organizations increasing their attention to security risk assessments and providing solutions for new operational resilience challenges. This has resulted in a rise in the number of jobs available to professionals with experience in cloud security.
This is a great time for professionals to hone their could security skills and pursue certification to help them prove to employers they have the right knowledge to secure their IT assets. The Certified Cloud Penetration Tester (CCPT) certification and the GIAC Cloud Penetration Tester (GCPN) credential are two options. Which of these qualifications is more valuable for a career in cloud computing?
CCPT and GCPN certification
Both the CCPT and GCPN credentials can validate a practitioner's ability to conduct penetration testing on the security of systems, networks, architectures, services and applications, emphasizing the defense of cloud infrastructure components. Cloud security testing is necessary for a comprehensive program to keep an organization secures from threat actors. Professionals entrusted with the security assessment of an organization's IT environment can use the knowledge gained through the certification process to mitigate risks and improve the cloud infrastructure security posture.
Becoming a CCPT will give you the skills to conduct penetration tests on cloud services and applications. You will learn what cloud penetration testing entails, its unique challenges, such as multi-tenant environment considerations and pivoting, and the importance of meaningful reporting.
CCPT exam prerequisites
Though there are no prerequisites to sit for the CCPT exam, familiarity with cloud and penetration testing concepts and at least one year in an information security role or equivalent experience is recommended.
What does CCPT cover?
Areas of knowledge that you will be tested in the CCPT certification exam:
- Common vulnerabilities in cloud environments
- Security features of popular cloud platforms
- Cloud pentesting process and requirements
- Cloud pentesting tools
- Reporting pentest cloud findings and providing recommendations
Infosec Cloud Penetration Testing Boot Camp is a great place to prepare and successfully pass CCPT’s fifty-question multiple-choice exam. The course covers the tools and techniques required for conducting security tests of cloud servers and applications, exploiting and defending AWS and Azure services, and containerized and serverless applications. You’ll be building your pentesting toolbox in the cloud and diving deep into cloud infrastructure's security features and vulnerabilities.
Becoming a GCPN will give you the skills to conduct cloud-focused penetration testing to identify security weaknesses in a network infrastructure. The knowledge gained through the certification process allows an IT professional to assess and report on an organization's risks if its cloud services are left insecure. It also gives the know-how to defend applications in the cloud against the most dangerous threats. GIAC highlights that its credential is designed for both attack-focused and defense-focused security practitioners and all involved in vulnerability testing, risk assessment and DevOps.
GCPN exam prerequisites
The prerequisites for the GCPN include a basic understanding of PowerShell and basic experience administering AWS, Azure or Google environments.
What does GCPN cover?
Areas of knowledge that you will be tested for in the GCPN certification exam include:
- Cloud Penetration Testing Fundamentals, cloud CLI and application Mapping, and discovering cloud services and data
- AWS and Azure Cloud Services and Attacks
- Cloud-native applications with containers and CI/CD pipelines
- Red Team penetration testing
- Redirection and attack obfuscation
Completing a training course associated with the certification is a great place to prepare and successfully pass GCPN’s 75 multiple-choice and advanced innovative questions. GIAC also recommends perusing practice tests as a study tool to aid in your understanding of what to expect from the examination and the content that will be covered on it. Professionals can find several penetration training programs from reputable sources that can help them master various aspects of penetration testing.
Choosing between CCPT and GCPN
Which cloud testing certification will it be? When choosing between CCPT and GCPN, choose the certification that most fit your cloud computing career path. Both programs will allow you to gain valuable skills to operate in defense of cloud environments.
Suppose you have basic knowledge of pentesting tools and techniques and cloud environments and desire to go deeper into security features and vulnerabilities of cloud infrastructure. In that case, consider the CCPT. This certification will allow you to cover not only techniques of reconnaissance in the cloud, the newest attacks and pentesting requirements, collecting and reporting on findings and identifying follow-up items.
GCPN best suits professionals in web architecture, cloud technologies and cloud design. It is a pricier option, but, as it’s the case with most GIAC credentials, it has a strong focus on hands-on activities.
Professionals who are already working in penetration testing would make good candidates for either program; the same can be said for cloud security engineers who are responsible for securing an organization’s cloud use and protecting applications and platforms against malicious actors, or cloud administrators who are in control of managing cloud workloads, maintaining the functionality of cloud infrastructure, if not assisting in cloud service deployments.