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Career Benefits of Information Assurance Training

The government recognizes the need for highly skilled security professionals in the information security sector

Importance of Information Security
Howard Schmidt, the cyber security czar for the Obama administration, stated it clearly when he said, "the government needs to focus its cyber security efforts to fight online crime and espionage."

As cyber security coordinator at the White House Schmidt published the Comprehensive National Security Initiative. Among the security measures laid out in the plan, "efforts to train more security professionals and have the government share more information with the private sector" were included.

The government recognizes the need for highly-skilled security professionals in the information security sector. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stats reflect this forecasting that over the next decade, those certified in information systems will experience faster than average job growth, greater job security and higher earnings than in the previous decade.

Another concern is that a coordinated attack could cost the U.S. big by shutting down power grids, stock exchanges and the Internet.

General Keith Alexander, director of the U.S. National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command put it plainly, "I don't think any nation out there right now wants to attack us, but we have these vulnerabilities, and we've got to address them. These are significant problems."

Five Core Principles Of Information Assurance Training
As technology continually evolves, so does the need for more robust security measures. Initially, information security was the main focus which meant protecting information and information systems from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, perusal, inspection, recording or destruction.

More recently, information assurance (IA) has become necessary. IA is the practice of managing risks related to the use, processing, storage, and transmission of information or data and the systems and processes used for those purposes.

The five core principles of IA training combine proven techniques from information security with rapidly developing information assurance practices.

  1. Availability
    The information, the computing systems used to process the information, and the security controls used to protect the information are all available and functioning correctly when the information is needed.
  2. Authentication
    Ensures users or objects are genuine.
  3. Confidentiality
    Allows only authorized users to access, use or copy information.
  4. Integrity
    Protects data and does not allow it to be corrupted, altered, deleted or re-created without proper authorization.
  5. Non-Repudiation
    A service that validates the integrity of a digital signature's transmission; starting from where it originated and ending where it arrives. Non-repudiation guarantees that the digital signature is that of the intended party, thereby granting authorization to the protected information.

Three Important Certifications for Government Security Experts
DOD 8570.1

Since August 2004, the Department of Defense has had a mandate that all full- and part-time military service members, contractors and foreign employees with privileged access to information systems must acquire a commercial information security credential accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Originally, all information assurance personnel were to become compliant by the end of 2011.If your current or preferred position fits the criteria above, now is a good time to earn new credentials.

Several respected credentials satisfy the DoD Directive 8570.1 certification requirements, including CISSP, SSCP and CompTIA Security+. All of these are offered through the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, Inc., more commonly known as (ISC)².

These certification tests are often rigorous and it is strongly recommended that all candidates plan appropriate prep time before attempting the exams.

CNSS 4011
The CNSS enacted National Standard 4011 to set a base level of training for IS security professionals. Its goal is to provide "the minimum course content for the training of information systems security (INFOSEC) professionals in the disciplines of telecommunications security and automated information systems (AIS) security."

Meeting CNSS Standards is critical to any IS security professionals working for the U.S. government, as employees or contractors.  Programs meeting CNSS and other government standards are invaluable to professionals seeking to make gains in government security sectors.

CAP Certification
CAP (Certified Authorization Professional), a relatively new credential, is highly favored in all levels of government, as well as by private sector employers and contractors.

CAP certification is a new (ISC)² qualification satisfying both Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and CNSS National Standard 4011 requirements.

The CAP certification design provides vital skills and new tools to help authorization officials, information owners, system owners, IS security officers and certifiers, senior system managers and other professionals perform with the highest degree of confidence.

FISMA requires all federal systems to be certified and accredited prior to operation, and at least every three years thereafter.

CNSS 4011 sets the minimum requires for security training. By satisfying FISMA and CNSS requirements the CAP® certification has become one of the more sought after certifications for government and private sector security professionals.

Training and Certification
Information security awareness training and certification is more important now than ever for IT Professionals. With rising security threats and increased minimal training requirements in government and private sector jobs, training could easily be the determining factor of job placement.

On-site and online training opportunities are available through certifying bodies and university programs. Many of the online programs are becoming more robust in order to support training for the latest cyber threats. By offering online sources these entities are able to stay ahead of the game, updating training materials and information as cyber security threats evolve.

The availability of online security and information assurance training reflects the growing necessity of highly-skilled cyber security experts. Working professionals seeking to improve their skills and career development can learn anytime, anywhere by selecting online programs offered by widely recognized universities and organizations.

More Stories By Claudia Vandermilt

Claudia Vandermilt works in conjunction with Villanova University and University Alliance to promote professional training materials. She writtes on information security, project management and six sigma.

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