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In today’s target rich cyber threat-filled environment, both existing and emerging exploits and hacking tactics must be combatted effectively by those responsible for providing information assurance to their organisation. Ultimately, for any enterprise that is reliant for normal day-to-day operations on their information, its assurance is of vital importance to them. Those responsible for information security will be pleased to hear that nowadays there is a vast array of Information Assurance Courses available to help in their training.
In a world of hackers and rogue nations it is becoming increasingly more critical for organisations to ensure that their data, whether personal or corporate, is kept as safe as possible from prying eyes.
Information assurance is a term that actually covers a large scope. Its scope includes the protection of organisational data, personalised information, intellectual property and the associated assurance of the data’s transfer, storage and communication. Those working in this field will often be employed at a senior level, helping to articulate executive director level responses to both emergent and existing threats within the information domain.
Typically those suitable for further training in the assurance of information will include Security Architects, Security Analysts and senior level staff such as CIO (Chief Information Officer), CISO (Chief Information Security Officer) and IT Directors. Those working in such roles will need a deep understanding of an organisation’s IT and information security, this is where formal training plays its part for these vital staff members.
Various educational and training modules have been developed into courses by a variety of information security training enterprises. The right information assurance course for any individual will, of course, depend upon their previous work experience and any training that an individual student has already taken part in.
Class-based learning courses usually provide the best environment for a student to study within, by protecting them from the interruptions of their daily work tasks. The formal accreditation that pupils can gain also offers potential career benefits to graduates. Qualifications up to MSc, PgDip and PgCert are available for those with the right predisposition to further academic and practical study.
Learning and conversing with other professionals, working in similar roles, also aids in a students education. Both the practical skills and knowledge gained from a courses content will be more applicable to the real world where people are learning about the same subject together.
There are many different Information Assurance courses available today for those working in a role that involves providing a secure information security environment. Courses in Pen Testing, Vulnerability Assessment and Network Architecture are all pertinent here. Formal courses in the subject vary from general introductory training up to the detailed examination of cyber threats, tactics and exploits that can impact an enterprise at an organisational level. Without further ado we should then look at a selection of the types of course that are currently available.
1) Digital Analyst and Forensics Courses for Windows and UNIX based platforms
Many specialist Info Sec training providers currently offer courses focusing on MS Windows, UNIX, iOS, Android or OSX platforms. Windows Forensics courses should provide students with the right knowledge to complete forensic examinations of today’s MS Windows based PC’s and servers. ShimCache and AmCache registry hive files, Digital artefact analysis and the SRUM database will all likely be included.
UNIX focused forensics courses are available for those working on this venerable platform and its UNIX flavoured offspring such as Apple’s iOS, Android, OSX and Linux. Platforms based on UNIX do have certain security advantages when compared to MS Windows due to pre-compiled Kernels and other factors, but they are not bullet proof!
For iOS and OSX, course content may include Apple File System (APFS) and Hierarchical File System (HFS+) parsing. Configuration, user data files, system log files and Apple specific applications such as Time Machine, FileVault, iCloud, Spotlight and FaceTime may also make an appearance.
Finally, courses in Information Assurance may also include studying storage devices, network architectures, IT systems in general and even the volatile memory of computing devices such as their RAM modules.
2) Further education Information Assurance Courses up to MSc level
Courses are available up to MSc (Master of Science) level relating to the assurance of information, these courses are generally most suitable for Directors and leader working in government, corporate or critical infrastructure cyber environments. The ability to effectively respond to cyber threats and understand information risk are vital skills. Such skills are also necessary for those tasked with planning, procurement and policy around information security issues. Information Analysts, Information Architects, CIO’s and CISO’s would all likely be suitable for study up to MSc level including PgDip and PgCert.
Courses at this level are often provided via blended learning methods, often with a mix of online and residential teaching. Assessment would normally be achieved by the attendance of the student at group practical sessions, the completion of coursework, presentations, thesis and individual dissertations. Training is usually provided by recognised seats of learning, such as recognised Universities, at this level.