Comparison of Computer/Digital Forensics Professional Certifications and Qualifications

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08/02/20 Personal Development Reference this

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There are many certifications related to the Computer and Digital Forensics field.  Cybercrime is always changing, so keeping up with certifications and continuing education is key to maintain an advantage in this field of work. Each offers something a little different and we will be discussing three of these certifications and their qualifications here.

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification is one of the most sought out certification in the IT security industry. This certification covers all areas of IT security. There are certain prerequisites that must be met to gain CISSP certification. The applicant must have 5 years of full-time professional experience in 2 or more of the 8 domains of the CISSP – CBK 2018. If you are lacking in the five years of experience, you will be awarded an ISC2 associate title. Once you submit your proof of experience, the associate title can be replaced with the CISSP certificate. The eight domains are as follows:

  1. Security and Risk Management
  2. Asset Security
  3. Security Engineering
  4. Communications and Network Security
  5. Identity and Access Management
  6. Security Assessment and Testing
  7. Security Operations
  8.  Software Development Security

Test preparation is offered in a variety of venues. Classroom training, private on-site, online instructor-led and online self-paced training is available. ((ISC)2, n.d.) The cost of training can cost up to $2,500.00, depending on the option you choose. The cost of the exam registration is either $549.00 or $699.00 depending on early or standard registration. The exam consists of 250 questions. You are given 6 hours to complete as many questions as you can correctly. A score od 700/1000 or greater is passing. Once you’ve passed, you will need an endorsement form an (ISC)2 credential holder who will attest to your work experience. The CISSP certification is good for three year, during that time you will need to complete 120 continuing education hours for renewal. (Warner, 2010)

EnCase Certified Examiner (EnCE) Certifications

The EnCase Certified Examiner (EnCE) program is for public and private sector individuals. This certification is recognized by corporate and law enforcement communities. You will need to have at least 12 months experience working in computer forensics or attend 64 hours of online/classroom training to qualify to take the exam.  An application will then need to be submitted to a Certification Coordinator. It will be reviewed and if approved, a coordinator will reach out to you for the test payment. The cost of the exam is $200.00. The next phase is a 2-hour written exam and score at least 80% to pass. If you were to fail the test, you must pay the fee again and wait two months to retake it. Once this phase is complete, you will move on to another testing phase, a practical exam. Sixty days are given to complete the phase II testing. This test has 18 questions and must be answered completely and to the best of your ability. A passing score is 85%. If you fail phase II, you must wait 60 days and retake the practical exam again. Failing this phase a second time will require the individual to restart the process at the Phase I written exam. EnCE certifications are good for 3 years. (EnCase Certified Examiner (EnCE) Certification Program, n.d.) The price for renewing the EnCE certification is $75.00. To maintain your certifications, you must fulfill on of the following prerequisites:

  • Attend at least 32 credit hours of CE’s in digital forensics.
  • Gain a digital forensics related certification during the renewal period.
  • Attend an Enfuse Conference. (EnCase™ Certified Examiner Certification (EnCE) Renewal, n.d.)

GAIC Certified Forensic Examiner (GCFE)

This is a widely sought out certification. There are no prerequisites to take this exam and become certified. GAIC partners with a company called SANS. SANS offers multiple avenues for online learning, whether it be in the classroom, on demand or self-study.  (GAIC Certifications, n.d.) The bundled cost for training through SANS and the GAIC Certification attempt is $1,899.00.  Each certification attempt includes two practice exams. (SANS Institute, n.d.) Each applicant must complete a proctored exam, consisting of 115 questions. The time limit for testing is 3 hours and you must score at least 72% to pass. Your certification is good for four years. GAIC credential can be renewed by retaking the current certification exam again or earn 36 continuing education credits during the four-year period.  The cost of the renewal is $429.00.

Of the different certifications discussed, the GAIC Certified Forensic Examiner (GCFE) certifications seems to be the most comprehensive windows program available. It is open to anyone and the learning objectives and outcomes seem to be in line with the corporate world. It is widely accepted in all areas of digital forensics, whether it be law enforcement, corporations or the military. I believe this would be the most beneficial of the three.

References

  • (ISC)2. (n.d.). Prepare for Your (ISC)² Exam with the Cybersecurity Training That’s Right for You. Retrieved from Find Cybersecurity Training & Education | (ISC)²: https://www.isc2.org/Training?utm_campaign=training&utm_source=pearson&utm_medium=relatedlink&utm_content=sidenav
  • EnCase Certified Examiner (EnCE) Certification Program. (n.d.). Retrieved from opentext: https://www.opentext.com/products-and-solutions/services/training-and-learning-services/encase-training/examiner-certification
  • EnCase™ Certified Examiner Certification (EnCE) Renewal. (n.d.). Retrieved from OpenText: https://www.opentext.com/training/coursedetails.html?id=2695
  • GAIC Certifications. (n.d.). Forensic Certification: GCFE. Retrieved from GIAC Certified Forensic Examiner | GCFE Certification: https://www.giac.org/certification/certified-forensic-examiner-gcfe
  • SANS Institute. (n.d.). SANS Affiliate Pricing for GIAC Certifications. Retrieved from SANS Institute: https://www.sans.org/special/affiliate-pricing-giac
  • Warner, T. L. (2010, January 20). Just the Facts: How to Become a CISSP. Retrieved May 11, 2019, from Pearson IT Certification: http://www.pearsonitcertification.com/blogs/blog.aspx?uk=Just-the-Facts-How-to-Become-a-CISSP
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