Guide to Passing the Google Cloud Security Engineer Exam

Introduction Link to heading

Are you looking to expand your knowledge of Google Cloud security and achieve the Google Cloud Certified Professional Cloud Security Engineer certification? Well, you’ve come to the right place! I’ve recently attained this very certification, and I’m excited to share my insights with you. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the details of the exam, equipping you with the knowledge and skills necessary to pass on your first attempt.

Professional Cloud Security Engineer Certification

Certification Path Link to heading

While there aren’t any prerequisites to take this exam, I highly recommend obtaining the Google Cloud Certified Associate Cloud Engineer certification beforehand. This will not only familiarize you with the Google Cloud platform, but it will also provide you with a solid foundation in various cloud services, many of which will be covered in this exam.

Planning for the exam Link to heading

I always create a “road-to-certification” plan before taking any exam, and this one is no different. Creating a timeline with small goals along the way will help you stay on track and stay motivated.

Exam and Question Structure Link to heading

Google gives you 120 minutes to answer 60 multiple-choice questions. The questions, like other Google Cloud exams, feel straightforward, clear, and are not designed to trick you. However, that doesn’t mean the questions are easy. Most of them present you with a scenario, providing lots of information, and requiring you to analyze the situation in order to choose the correct answer. Deep knowledge of Google’s security products, services, and concepts are required to successfully pass this exam.

During the exam, you can flag questions and navigate freely between them. I highly recommend flagging any questions you want to review and reviewing every single question before submitting your results.

Study Resources Link to heading

It was a bit difficult to find study material that was up-to-date with the latest exam content. To compensate for this, I utilized more study resources than I typically do. Here is a comprehensive list of the resources I used to successfully pass the exam:

  • [Udemy] Google Professional Cloud Security Engineer Certification - This course was my starting point. Its hands-on approach to learning was effective, although it lacked the depth of knowledge required to pass the exam on its own.
  • [A Cloud Guru] Google Cloud Security Essentials - This was the next course I went through. It covered some topics that were not included in other courses but was slightly out-of-date in certain areas. Overall, I’m glad I went through it, but I don’t consider it necessary to pass the exam.
  • [A Cloud Guru] Google Cloud Certified Professional Cloud Security Engineer - For me, this was the best course as it provided in-depth knowledge of the appropriate services and included great hands-on labs. However, like the previous course, it was slightly out-of-date in certain areas. Furthermore, the practice tests included with this course were helpful, but they didn’t align perfectly with the real exam questions.
  • [Whizlabs] Google Cloud Certified Professional Cloud Security Engineer Practice Exams - These practice tests were quite useful and helped me pass the exam. However, there were some inaccuracies in the answers. Despite that, I still recommend using these practice exams.
  • Official Google sample questions - I recommend going through these sample questions multiple times. While it’s not exactly like the exam, these questions most closely resemble the types of questions you will encounter.
  • Exam guide - Before starting your exam preparation, thoroughly review the exam guide to familiarize yourself with the content that may appear on the exam. Periodically revisit the guide while studying to ensure you cover the appropriate material. After completing the courses and practice exams, revisit the guide to address any missed topics or areas you feel you need to delve deeper into. Personally, I created flashcards for areas where I needed additional help.
  • Official Google Cloud documentation - The latest Google Cloud documentation is the best and most reliable source of information and security best practices. It will also provide a more in-depth understanding of Google’s service than what third-party courses may go into.
  • Additional hands-on practice - I was continuously engaged in additional hands-on practice throughout my study process. This practice is essential to better understand these services and to pass the exam.

What I would have done differently Link to heading

  • I would have invested more time understanding and configuring VPC Service Controls in more depth. I felt underprepared when encountering questions about this service during the exam.
  • I would have dedicated a bit more time understanding some of the intricacies of Google Cloud Directory Sync (GCDS). Some questions required a bit more knowledge about the service than I knew.
  • I would have allocated more time in hands-on labs utilizing Cloud DLP. I would have explored all of the different options, settings, and features.
  • I would have taken some time to learn more about Cloud External Key Manager (EKM). Unfortunately, I didn’t spend any time familiarizing myself with this feature, and I received some questions that required some knowledge of its configuration.
  • I advise against spending any time learning Forseti Security. While it is taught in multiple courses, it is no longer recommended by Google. I did not get any questions about this feature and it’s not mentioned on the current exam guide. Forseti Security has been replaced by the Security Command Center.

Areas to Focus On Link to heading

I recommend having a deep understanding of and the ability to configure the following services and topics:

  • IAM
  • Organization Policies
  • Resource Hierarchy and inheritance of IAM and organization policies
  • Identity-aware Proxy (IAP)
  • Firewall rules
  • VPC Peering
  • Shared VPC
  • VPC Service Controls
  • Private Google Access
  • Private Service Connect
  • Cloud Storage security considerations and features
  • Cloud DLP
  • Cloud KMS
  • Load balancing
  • Logging – buckets, sinks, storage, analysis, etc.
  • Features of Security Command Center

Conclusion Link to heading

In this blog post, we have covered the intricacies of the Google Cloud Certified Professional Cloud Security Engineer exam, providing you with the essential knowledge to confidently tackle it on your first try. Embrace this opportunity to elevate your expertise in Google Cloud security and embark on a successful journey towards becoming a certified cloud security professional. Good luck on your path to success!