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Introduction

As per the Global Knowledge report, do you know AWS Certified Security Specialty falls into the top 10 cybersecurity certifications around? And almost 96% IT managers see AWS Certified Security professionals as an asset to their team!

Deploying the system, server, or app to the AWS cloud is not enough. Companies need someone who can ensure there are no trespassers hanging in, waiting to hack, manipulate, delete or extort the business’s data for malicious purposes. 

AWS though is the secure cloud platform, but it’s only because of its certain tools & processes, if they are not leveraged well on time by cybersecurity specialists around, any IT proprietary data & infrastructure can be turned into a compromised state. Since certified cybersecurity experts are trusted the most over non-certified ones, you shouldn’t miss a chance to get your knowledge on designing & implementing the security solutions to protect the AWS workloads from any security loopholes verified through accredited AWS security certification specialty exam.

In the article below, we will talk about one of the popular AWS Certified Security Specialty exams that has huge demand & preference in the job market. We will walk you through the AWS security certification path, complete exam pattern, skills to hone, syllabus, effective preparation tips, right under this one quick post. So keep following this complete AWS security certification path!

What is AWS Certified Security – Specialty Exam?

AWS Certified Security – Specialty exam is aimed at testing & validating an individual’s understanding & practical ability towards safeguarding an enterprise’s AWS workloads with proper knowledge, measures, tools, and solutions.The exams intend to test you on certain grounds primarily. It checks how much do you know:

  • About AWS mechanisms to honor Data Encryption & secure internet protocols
  • About Data protection mechanisms and specialized data classification
  • About production deployment using AWS security services & features
  • Use of AWS security services to create a protected development environment
  • Possible risks and security operations
  • How to take constructive decisions for a given application requirement based on security, cost, deployment, etc

AWS Security Certification – Specialty Complete Details

Exam NameAWS Certified Security Specialty
Exam Cost300 USD
Exam Format65 questions in form of MCQ or multiple response questions
Exam Total Marks1000 marks
Exam Passing Score75 to 80% (no negative mark on opting the wrong answer)
Exam Duration170 minutes in total
Exam LanguageEnglish, Simplified Chinese, Japanese, Japanese
Exam Delivery ModeOnline proctored exam or physical exam at a testing center (you have a choice)
What are the prerequisites for AWS certification security specialty?To take this exam, it is suggested to have:
Skills Measured in ExamYou are tested on the following 5 sections:Incidence response – 12%Infrastructure security – 26%Logging & Monitoring – 20%Data protection – 22%Identity & Access management – 20%(You would require to pass each of these sections to pass an entire exam)
Does it expire?Yes, it is valid for the 3 years from the date it is credited to you. You need to recertify by giving the AWS certified security exam specialty level based on the latest implementations of security practices or mechanisms.

AWS Security Certification – Specialty Complete Details

Exam NameAWS Certified Security Specialty
Exam Cost300 USD
Exam Format65 questions in form of MCQ or multiple response questions
Exam Total Marks1000 marks
Exam Passing Score75 to 80% (no negative mark on opting wrong answer)
Exam Duration170 minutes in total
Exam LanguageEnglish, Simplified Chinese, Japanese, Japanese
Exam Delivery ModeOnline proctored exam or physical exam at testing center (you have choice)
What are the prerequisites for AWS certification security specialty?To take this exam, it is suggested to have:
Skills Measured in ExamYou are tested on the following 5 sections:Incidence response – 12%Infrastructure security – 26%Logging & Monitoring – 20%Data protection – 22%Identity & Access management – 20%(You would require to pass each of these sections to pass an entire exam)
Does it expire?Yes, it is valid for the 3 years from the date it is credited to you. You need to recertify by giving the AWS certified security exam specialty level based on the latest implementations of security practices or mechanisms.

Syllabus of AWS Security Certification Speciality Exam

Here are the topics & concepts in detail, from which you will be examined in the actual exam.

Data Protection – 22%In this section, you will be judged for the knowledge of concepts as:Implement & design key management & its useTroubleshooting key managementDesigning of data encryption solutions
Identity & Access Management – 20%In this section, you will be judged for the knowledge of concepts as:Designing & deploy authorization & authentication systems for AWS resource accessTroubleshooting deployed authorization & authentication systems
Infrastructure Security – 26%In this section, you will be judged for the knowledge of concepts as:Designing & deploying safe network infrastructure and host-based securityCreating edge security on AWSTroubleshooting deployed secure network infrastructure
Logging & Monitoring – 20%Designing & deploying secure logging solutionsCreate security monitoring & alerting solutionsTroubleshooting the logging & overall monitoring solutions
Incident Response – 12%To identity the abused AWS instanceVerifying incident response plan in AWS servicesConfigure automated alerting & deploy remediation solutions for incidents & security related issues

AWS Security Certification – Specialty Sample Questions

Check out and try to solve these few AWS Security Certification Specialty sample questions to get the real exam flavor.

AWS Security Certification
Sample Ques 1 – There was a decision to place database hosts in their own Virtual private cloud, and to set up VPC peering to different VPCs containing the apps & web tiers. It seems the application servers are failing to connect to the database. Select any 2 network troubleshooting steps that should be taken to resolve such an issue? A) Identify whether the app servers are in a public subnet or private subnet.B) Identify the route tables for the app server subnets for routes to the VPC peering connection.C) Oversee the network access control lists for the database subnets to identify rules that are allowing the traffic from the Internet.D) Analyze the database security groups to find out rules that are allowing traffic from the application servers.E) Find out if the database Virtual private cloud has an Internet gateway. (the correct answers are B and D)AWS Security Certification
Sample Question 2 – A Security Engineer has been informed that a user’s access key has been found on GitHub. Engineer needs to make sure that his access key is not used, and must identify if the access key was used to perform any unsafe activities.Which step do you think is a must to be taken to perform these tasks?A) Check the user’s IAM permissions and delete any unauthorized unrecognized resources.B) Delete the user and review the Amazon CloudWatch logs from all regions, and then report the abuse.C) Delete or rotate the user’s key, review the CloudTrail logs around all regions, and delete any unrecognized or unsafe resources.D) Instruct the user to remove the key from the GitHub submission, rotate keys, and re-deploy any instances that were launched. (the correct answer is C)
AWS Security CertificationSample Question 3 Suppose a company wants to build a data lake on Amazon S3. The data is having millions of small files with uncompromisable information. The security team wants to ensure the following requirements for the architecture:Data must be encrypted in transit.Data must be encrypted at rest.The bucket should be private, but if the bucket is accidentally made public, the data should remain safe confidential.What 2 combinations of steps would meet the requirements?A) Allow AES-256 (SSE-S3) encryption on the S3 bucket.B) Allow default encryption with AWS KMS-managed keys (SSE-KMS) on the S3 bucket.C) Add a bucket policy that includes a deny if the PutObject request does not include as SecureTransport.D) Add a bucket policy with was: SourceIp to only allow uploads & downloads from the official intranet.E) Allow Amazon Macie to monitor and act on any suspected changes over the S3 bucket data lake. (help us find the correct answer to this question in the comments down below!)

AWS Security Certification – Specialty Retake Policy

You can as many times retake the AWS Security Certification, provided each time you would have to imburse the full exam fee. However, in case you failed in your first attempt, you can go for a second chance, but you would have to wait for at least 14 days to retake the exam. The result of the exam is usually mailed to you in pass or fail format within 5 days of the exam. So after that you might have to add another 14 days, & then you can retake the exam, in case you failed in the first one.

How to Apply for the AWS Certified Security Speciality Exam?

You can officially apply for the exam by following these simple steps:

Step 1 – Visit the official Website of AWS – https://aws.amazon.com/certification/certified-security-specialty/ 

Step 2 – Click on the “schedule an exam” CTA colored in bright orange there.

AWS Certified Security Speciality Exam

Step 3 – On clicking the schedule an exam option, you will be redirected to a separate page of AWS Certification, where you will be asked to signup to create an account. Once created, you will have access to a personalized dashboard, where you can apply & manage your exam, view whitepapers, read exam papers & more such activities.

AWS Certified Security Speciality Exam

How to Prepare for this AWS Security Certification Associate Exam?

If you are really interested in opting for an AWS career as a Certified Security Specialist, here are a few tips on how you can ace this certification without much of a deal — all coming from our AWS trainers’ personal experience & wisdom of 15+ years.

1. Get Familiar with the Exam pattern & objective

Be proactive & gather all the information or details you need to understand the basic objective of pursuing this specialty exam. Learn about the exam format, the syllabus & the concepts tested in the actual exam. Don’t directly jump into buying resources or availing of the training. Try to understand the exam pattern first, as this will help you get a broader picture of what you need to get prepared for first.

2. Join the Accredited AWS Training

Studying alone can be overwhelming, especially when you don’t belong to a technical field or haven’t tried hands-on AWS technology before. Try to join the AWS training or courses online that have real-time industry experts to teach, the course material is relevant & in great variety than just regular textbooks. And where you also get ample resources, materials, a question bank, eBooks, real industry use cases to solve & apply your skills. 

Choose a platform that gives you real-time AWS security specialist role’s understanding rather than just help you cram the theoretical concepts.

Other than training, go ahead and…

3. Join online AWS Communities 

To stay relevant on the exam’s format & latest additions, it is best if you keep yourself active on the AWS discussion forums over platforms like Answers.com, StackOverflow, Quora, etc.  

4. Watch Basic AWS Videos

If you are starting into the AWS field, gather yourself some good AWS intro videos to watch, uploaded by the popular AWS evangelist or the popular training platforms

5. Read AWS Whitepapers & FAQs

On AWS’s official website, you will find plenty of AWS whitepapers & FAQs written by AWS teams, partners & analysts. 

You can read all the Whitepapers on security like AWS security best practices, AWS best practice for DDoS resilience, AWS security incident response guide, etc here.

Certification Associate exam

You can even find plenty of FAQs around Amazon VPC, AWS KMS, AWS route 53, etc here.Certification Associate exam?

6. Focus on Learning These Concepts Particularly

  • Data Encryption, location of a bucket, key management solutions.
  • AWS Identity & Access Management Policies, IAM policy elements, Policy evaluation logic.
  • Features, attributes & differences of network security tools NACLs (Network access control lists) and security groups.
  • Process & tools to identify & respond to threatful incidents.
  • AWS security services types, benefits, features, application.
  • Tools to capture & analyze the bulky log files created by the AWS infrastructure & Applications, best practices to secure the logs by centralizing them from manipulation or intrusion by malicious hackers.

7. Practice Previous Dumps & Question Papers

While fetching the AWS training, make sure to have hands-on the previous AWS dumps to practice them, solve them & learn from them. The previous question papers will help you understand the pattern of the exam, and get to know the types of questions are asked in the exam. This will even help you ingrain your learned concepts very well.  

Other important tips that can help you ace the exam:

  • AWS Certified Security Speciality is a time-based exam, you get only 170 minutes to finish up the 65 questions in total. Make sure to practice enough sample papers given during training, as this will help hold on to better time management.
  • Since this is an MCQ exam, try the elimination method, eliminate the wrong choices & then select the right answers. Since there is no negative marking, you can easily try your luck.
  • Practice good health & mind positivity. With a troubled mind & poor lifestyle quality, don’t expect to clear the exam. Remember, you have to gather the practical knowledge to clear the cert, and cramming the concepts may help you get through the certification by fluke, but it won’t guarantee you the job. So while getting trained for this exam, make a proper study timetable, follow a schedule of studying, sleeping, eating, refreshing. Or if you are a working professional or student, don’t quit that, find a balance to manage both.
  • Keep your confidence & self-belief always up. Always believe in yourself, you can get through this certification battle if you are determined to learn & grow. And it’s okay if you don’t get through this in your first attempt, there is always another chance.

Who Should Take AWS Security Specialty Certification?

This certification is suited to AWS professionals who want to validate their AWS knowledge across a range of security topics including -risk assessment, infrastructure security, data protection and encryption, identity and access control management, incident response, logging, and monitoring.

Basically AWS Certified Security – Specialty certification is intended for AWS professionals who are responsible to perform a security role and have at least two years of hands-on experience securing and hardening workloads and architectures on AWS.

Prerequisites to Become AWS Certified Security Specialist

The AWS Certified Security – Specialty exam validates technical skills and experience in the AWS security domain. Before you go for AWS security certification, we recommend you to have:

  • Five years of IT security experience in designing, planning, and implementing security solutions and at least two years of hands-on experience in securing and hardening AWS workloads
  • Working knowledge and understanding of AWS security services, features, operations and prospective risks and how to deal with them.
  • Sound knowledge of AWS applications; security controls & cloud threat models; monitoring and optimizing strategies; Security automation and management services ensuring disaster recovery controls, including BCP and backups, encryption, access control.
  • Understanding of specialized data classifications, data protection mechanisms, data encryption methods, and AWS mechanisms to implement secure internet protocols.
  • Ability to make tradeoff decisions considering the deployment complexity and cost to meet all application requirements

Read more on role and responsibilities of AWS Solutions architect.

Why You Should Go For AWS security certification?

Having AWS security specialty validates your expertise in securing data and workloads in the AWS Cloud . It helps organizations identify and develop talent with immenence critical thinking ability & skills for implementing cloud initiatives. 

What Does it Take to Go For AWS Certified Security Specialty Certification?

The AWS security specialty exam is open to AWS professional who currently holds a Cloud Practitioner or Associate-level certification.

Candidates with minimum five years’ of experience in IT security-designing and implementing security solutions, a knowledge of security controls for workloads on AWS, and at least two years’ of experience in  securing AWS workloads, can go for speciality level AWS security exam.

Read more on AWS Career Path.

Core & Specialty AWS Security Exam You Can Go For

Here AWS security certification list There are nine  different certifications offered by AWS and each of them open the floodgates to enhanced career opportunities.

AWS Security Certification List

  • AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner. 
  • AWS Certified Developer – Associate. 
  • AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate. 
  • AWS Solutions Architect – Associate. 
  • AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional. 
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional.
  • AWS Certified Big Data – Specialty
  • AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty
  • AWS Certified Security – Specialty
  • In this section of AWS certification specialty, next we are going to see the different job prospects after becoming AWS security specialty.

AWS Certification Job Prospects/Salary

According to a salary survey, 70% of AWS professionals interviewed reported a salary increase of up to 20 percent after getting AWS certified. As per Forbes, AWS  certifications are among the most lucrative programs, paying average salaries of around $100,000 plus.

Final Thoughts on AWS Certified Security Specialty Exam Guide!

Cybersecurity is an inescapable concept, yes even if you move to the cloud with vendors like AWS. Currently, more than 46% of professionals are pursuing cybersecurity credentials to validate their knowledge & become a right fit for the data-driven organizations’ safe business processes & virtualization.

AWS is one of the most secure platforms only because of its exceptional features, process, tools & specialists around to ensure there are no major security loopholes left uncovered. While security is very precious for business, it cannot be traded in the hands of skilled but non-certified IT specialists. Companies continuing forward with AWS workloads only trust certified professionals whose knowledge about the security protocols around AWS has been deeply tested & can be trusted at malicious times.

We just walked you through the complete exam architecture, logistics, syllabus & preparation tips for AWS Certified Security Specialty certification. You can go for it right away or follow it after scoring the AWS foundation & associate-level certifications (choice is yours).

Don’t wait, the cybersecurity specialist role in AWS cloud is very popular, just take the right AWS training & mark your career around it!

Frequently Asked Questions on AWS Certified Security Speciality

Q 1. What is the AWS security certification cost?

Ans:-The AWS Security certification costs 300 USD.

Q 2.  What is the AWS security certification specialty exam format?

Ans:-The AWS security certification specialty has 65 questions in the form of MCQ & Multiple responses. And you get a total of 170 minutes to complete the exam. It is both an online proctored & offline exam, which requires you to score between 75 to 80% marks out of 1000.

Q 3. How difficult is AWS Security Certification?

Ans:-The AWS Security certification specialty exam is not a hard nut to crack unless you take the help of proper study resources, guidebooks, how-to videos, virtual training platforms, AWS whitepapers, and study for the exam thoroughly. Better focus on capturing the practical knowledge of securing the AWS workloads & you will be through with the AWS security certifications with ease.

Q 4. What are the prerequisites for AWS certification?

Ans:-To take the AWS certifications, you need to have basic interests in cloud computing, and rich training in implementing & managing cloud infrastructure for secure, scalable & fast data storage, content delivery & computer power. 

Q 5. How to pass the Amazon AWS security certification specialty exam?

Ans:-To pass the AWS security certification exam, you can follow the following AWS security certification study guide or regime.

  • Know the Security certification exam’s objective, syllabus, concepts tested, or any other thing like prerequisites you need to know in advance.
  • Join the accredited AWS Training online to get a hold of core concepts with a point of view of job readiness.
  • Alongside training, watch multiple how-to videos, read AWS documentation, support guides FAQs & whitepapers to gain the AWS security concepts.
  • Practice the sample papers, a question bank, dumps, join online communities.
  • Understand the concepts of AWS services, security tools, incident reporting, log centralizing, AWS IAM policies, etc.
  • Take good care of body & mind, as without them it’s hard to focus & win the certification battle.

Q 6. Can you retake the AWS Certified Security Specialty Certification?

Ans:-Yes, you can retake the AWS Security specialist exam as many times as you want, in case you don’t get the passing score. However, you will have to pay the same amount, each time you appear for the exam. Also, to take the next attempt, you need to wait for at least 14 days.

Q 7. Do you have to take any other AWS certification before taking its Security specialist exam?

Ans:-No, you can take the AWS security certification specialty exam right away without taking any AWS foundation or advanced or associate certification of AWS. However, it would be better, if you take the AWS Solution Architect Certification & AWS cloud practitioner exam first, as it will help you get used to the AWS concepts & services, before jumping to its security part straight away.

Q 8. How many AWS Security Certifications are there?

Ans:-Here is the AWS security certification list:

  1. AWS Certified cloud practitioner
  2. AWS certified developer – Associate
  3. AWS Certified SysOps Admin
  4. AWS Solution Architect Associate
  5. AWS Certified DevOps Engineer (professional)
  6. AWS certified solution architect (professional)
  7. AWS certified big data specialty
  8. AWS certified advanced networking
  9. AWS certified security specialty

Q 9. How much is the AWS security certification salary?

Ans:-The AWS security certification salary can be between an average of $90,000 to $170,000 per year. 

Q 10. What are the AWS security certification requirements?

To get the AWS security certification specialty one, you must have practical knowledge of all the services, tools & methods needed to safeguard the AWS workload of any nature, size & scope.