In my earlier Cloud Security Career series ( see part 1 here ) I went over what skills you need to start in this field. We now move onto another key area which is the all important job interview. Cloud Security Engineer jobs are booming in 2022 and a big part of securing that coveted cloud security job is impressing your future employers with confident answers during the interview phase.

As someone who had taken my fair share of cloud security interviews over the last couple of years; I wanted to summarize a few of the top questions I have seen asked from potential candidates and what a good answer would be. I hope the below is useful to those who are interested in passing that all important interview !

Disclaimer : These are just from my own experience and of course every job interview is different. But these are pretty common and do get asked a lot

Cloud Security Engineer interview
Prepare for the Interview

What does a Cloud Security Engineer do ?

First thing is to know is what a Cloud Security Engineer does . While the below might change depending on the size of the company and its industry; a typical Cloud Security Engineer job description looks like the below :

  • Identify threats to Cloud Infrastructure and application
  • Identity risks in migrations of critical cloud workloads
  • Implement cloud security controls as per best practices
  • Be able to identify opportunities for automation in security events.
  • Basic knowledge of programming and scripting ( usually preferred )
  • Security certification in one cloud provider ( AWS , Azure or Google )

You might see variation here and there but the above is typically what a cloud security engineer would be expected to do. Most organizations also ask for cyber-security experience of 3 to 5 years which may or may not be in the cloud.

Typical Interview questions

How much experience do you have in the Cloud ? 

Easy to answer if you have worked on the cloud before but this can be tricky if you don’t have experience or only have experience in on-prem security. One easy technique which I have recommended earlier is to register for the free tiers which are already available on AWS , Azure and Google and get familiar with their security services. Via this technique you can easily tell the interviewer that you have already started working on the cloud and show a few samples. This will demonstrate initiative and pro-activeness in the front of the interviewer

Explain IaaS , PaaS and SaaS models 

Remember the basic differences of these cloud models and the different security aspects of each which I have summarized below :

  • Infrastructure as a Service lets you provision infrastructure ( servers , networks etc.) in the cloud. Similar to on-prem but without the hassle of data centers or hardware. IaaS will give you more control over your environment but you have to manage OS , patching and all the security around it.
  • Platform as a Service ( PaaS ) lets you deploy applications without worrying about provisioning the infrastructure. Less hassle about worrying about OS / Hardware but more control is gone and handed over to the provider.
  • Software as a Service (SaaS) is a model managed almost completely by the vendor with you only consuming hte service e.g. Office 365, DropBox etc. Least control over the environment and security

One trick question might be asked as to what is the best and most secure ? Unless the company has any specific regulations to worry about , it really depends on their business needs. If the company does not want to sacrifice control then IaaS is the way to go. However if the company is more focused on flexibility and ease of use then SaaS is the way.

Have you been part of any cloud migrations ? 

Like before this is harder to answer if you have not been part of any actual migrations and don’t have experience. Answer honestly that you don’t have experience but one good technique is to understand actual Cloud Adoption Frameworks from providers like AWS. These go into detail about how to perform cloud migrations and again show the employer you are serious about cloud.

How would you secure a multi-cloud environment ? 

Before answering this question , do understand why it is being asked. More and more companies are moving to a multi-cloud environment as they mature in their cloud workloads. This gives them more flexibility and reduces dependency on one particular provider. However having visibility and standardizing security policies is a big issue when more than one cloud environment is present. The best way is to implement a cloud security posture management solution so you have consolidated security controls across your cloud platforms. I have spoken at length on this topic so that is a good resource to check out.

What are the unique security challenges of using the cloud ?

A few listed below which you can use

  • Less control β€” By moving to the cloud , you share responsibility for security between yourself and the cloud provider. This is both a plus and a minus for most organizations . Go over the Shared responsibility model of AWS as that is a great place to start.
  • Risk of data leakage β€” Cloud can be accessed from anywhere and from any device which increases risk of data leakage unless controls are put in place. BYOD devices can bypass your controls if you are not careful and put in proper controls.
  • Compliance β€” PCI DSS and other compliance standards change a lot in the cloud and you need to make sure your underlying infrastructure is following compliance practices before moving your critical workloads
  • Misconfiguration – A lot of times cloud breaches happen due to accidental misconfigurations which allow attacks access into a cloud environment. Only way to solve this is via trainings and automated controls / alerting. Refer to my earlier link on Cloud Security Posture Management
Any experience with Infrastructure as Code (IaC)

This is a common skill which most cloud security engineers are expected to know and which I have talked about before. Have a basic understanding of IaC tools like Terraform and you should be fine. If not then start writing some code and spin up a few servers in the cloud so you understand this technology. They wont expect you to be an expert but the base knowledge should be there