Explore the Skills of a Cloud Security Engineer

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Describe the responsibilities of a cloud security engineer.
  • List key skills needed to become a cloud security engineer.

A Cloud Security Engineering Career

Are you curious about technical details? Do you desire to be a protector, helping organizations defend their customer data and make the world a little safer? Do security events in the news keep you up at night? If the answer to these questions is yes, you may be a great fit for cloud security engineering. 

Cloud security engineers identify threats to cloud systems, develop new features to meet security needs, and build, maintain, upgrade, and continuously improve cloud-based systems. The responsibilities can vary a little from company to company. For instance, small-scale companies have different needs when compared to larger businesses. Regardless of your company or job title, you’ll likely partner with architects and other engineers to deliver cloud security solutions. You’ll have a role to play in everything from planning and architecting secure cloud system requirements to constructing, validating, and deploying the system to monitoring and detecting malicious activity once the system is deployed.

Let’s meet Hans. He’s a cloud security engineer working for a political campaign. He’s tasked with securing a cloud-based system that contains sensitive data about potential voters and their demographic characteristics. 

As a cloud security engineer, Hans is responsible for implementing and configuring security controls in cloud environments. He integrates the campaign’s cloud platform with its other technology systems, leveraging industry best practices in security. He provides security recommendations to the campaign’s development teams and identifies security gaps on the platform.

A cloud security engineer sits on a cloud working on a laptop, thinking about his responsibilities in identifying threats, integrating systems, and implementing security controls.

Hans helps document the campaign’s security policy for the cloud environment and builds tools to automate enforcement of policy. He understands how to securely operate cloud infrastructure, platforms, and software. He administers and maintains various systems including firewalls, network threat detection, cloud infrastructure tools, and identity management platforms, among others. He’s also an expert in cryptography and encryption of data in the cloud.

Hans also collects and analyzes logs across cloud environments, ensuring visibility across hosts and services so he can detect attackers and prevent them from exploiting vulnerabilities within his organization’s infrastructure. Finally, Hans helps respond to and remediate cloud-based attacks against the campaign’s systems, to help keep potential voter data secure. 

Why Should You Consider This Role?

So, why should you consider a career in cloud security engineering? As a cloud security engineer, you’re continuously learning new things and every day is different, meaning you will certainly never be bored. If that’s not reason enough, job growth for cloud security engineers is high, and the typical salary range for this career is six figures. In three words, it’s exciting, in-demand, and well paid. If you’re ready to pursue this career, read on to learn more about the education and experience you need to hit the ground running.  

Cloud Security Engineer Skills

Let’s dig into the education, experience, and skills that may come in handy when considering a career in cloud security engineering.

Education

In many cases, a bachelor’s degree is required for entry-level jobs, although those from vocational schools with hands-on experience also can excel in this role. Degrees in engineering, computer science, programming, or information security are often a good fit for this role. 

Experience

Generally, employers seek candidates who have 3 to 5 years of experience in information security. Experience in software development, programming, or ethical hacking and knowledge of technology tools and platforms are all valuable. In addition, it’s super important to have experience with at least one of the major cloud service providers (CSPs): Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform.

Certifications

To help you skill up or get your foot in the door, pursuing a certification is a great idea. Some common certifications for cloud security engineers include the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), AWS Certified Security - Specialty, Google Cloud Professional Cloud Security Engineer, Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK), and Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP), just to name a few.

Business Skills

In addition to technical skills, it’s just as important to hone your business skills. A huge part of being a successful cloud security engineer is being able to communicate and work as part of a team. Cloud security engineers are researchers and problem solvers. They like to troubleshoot issues and come up with innovative solutions. They love to work on big problems and learn new things. Sounds pretty great, right?

Knowledge

As a cloud security engineer, having a good understanding of the basics—such as information security, network and application security, DevOps, and programming languages such as Python and Ruby—is key. You should also have strong familiarity with Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS) cloud computing models. Additionally, it’s helpful to have knowledge of operating systems, such as Windows and Linux, and you must know cloud architecture. 

Sum It Up

In this module, you’ve been introduced to the goals of cloud security engineering, learned more about the importance of protecting data in the cloud, and discovered the responsibilities and skills of a cloud security engineer. 

In the next module, Cloud Security Engineer Responsibilities, you learn how to assess your organization’s infrastructure, identify threats, and adopt cloud solutions. You learn how to build and operationalize cloud technologies, and how to monitor cloud systems and detect threats. Finally, you learn about your role in assisting with incident response and recovery. 

Interested in learning more about cybersecurity roles and getting to know security professionals? Check out the Cybersecurity Learning Hub on Trailhead.

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