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The Information Technology Infrastructure Library, better known as ITIL, is the pre-eminent framework for managing IT service delivery around the world. ITIL defines a service lifecycle model that prescribes specific processes and activities during the design, development, delivery, and support of IT services. For the purposes of this discussion, IT services are any IT activities that deliver business value to a company’s end users, customers and other internal or external stakeholders. Examples of IT services include centralized corporate email and corporate websites based on back-end IT processes, such as server and network administration. The current version of ITIL is known as ITIL V3.
By adopting the ITIL framework, companies ensure that their services are delivered according to a set of consistent, well-defined processes that incorporate best practices and processes, resulting in a predictable level of service for users. The benefits of ITIL include reduced cost of service development and deployment, improved customer satisfaction with service delivery, increased productivity from IT personnel, quality improvements, better management metrics of services and increased flexibility in adapting services to changing business requirements.
In July 2013, Axelos took ownership of ITIL. It now maintains the ITIL framework and accredits training and examination institutes. Hundreds of ITIL Accredited Training Organizations (ATOs) are available to deliver training, and ITIL certification exams may be administered at the end of a training course or by an Examination Institute (EI), many of which work directly with the ATOs.
ITIL offers five different certification levels:
Be aware that ITIL uses a credit system for the Foundation through Expert levels, in which each certification earns a certain number of credits. Ultimately, a total of 22 credits is required to achieve ITIL Expert certification. (The ITIL Master has its own set of requirements, which you’ll read about shortly). The following graphic shows the structure of that certification scheme and its corresponding credits.
Before you read on for certification details, it’s important to understand how the ITIL IT service framework is structured and what it has to offer.
ITIL was first developed by the U.K. Government’s Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) in the 1980s as a set of standardized best practices for IT services used in government agencies. From that narrowly focused start, ITIL has been adopted, revised and expanded into a comprehensive framework for managing IT service delivery in companies and organizations of all sizes, across all industries and market sectors.
In fact, IT has become a mission-critical service delivery mechanism for companies that rely on complex computing resources to keep their businesses operating and generating revenue. ITIL allows companies to define and implement a documented, repeatable process that assists them in staying focused on the large and small details involved in rolling out new IT services and managing those services afterward.
The ITIL service lifecycle consists of five practice areas or phases, with supporting principles, policies and processes within each phase:
Don’t let the scope of ITIL scare you away from the overall value afforded by this comprehensive lifecycle for IT services. The ITIL framework gives companies the structure and discipline required to design, develop, deliver and manage new or improved services in a timely manner and, most importantly, on a budget. Before ITIL, a lack of service management discipline and expertise led many IT projects to suffer budget overruns, veer off course or fail outright due to scope-creep, mismanagement and a lack of repeatable results. ITIL solves these problems quite nicely. In fact, ITIL is widely regarded as the pre-eminent standard for IT service management frameworks.
The ITIL Foundation certification covers the basics of ITIL and is where most newbies start the process of learning ITIL and becoming certified. The certification has no prerequisites, and anyone with an interest in the subject matter can sit for this exam. ITIL Foundation certification test prep can be accomplished via classroom or distance learning options, as well as via self-study. There is no requirement for you to complete a training course before you sit for the Foundations exam. The Foundation test consists of 40 multiple-choice questions that must be answered in 60 minutes with a grade of 65 percent, or 26 correct answers, required to pass the exam.
Although the certification covers all the five practice areas of the ITIL service lifecycle, including how the different lifecycle stages are linked to one another, an IT pro who completes the ITIL Foundation level will likely need to complete the Practitioner or Intermediate certification before being able to qualify for service management positions.
The ITIL Practitioner certification is the existing entry to the ITIL certification scheme. This test was offered for the first time in February 2016. As the name implies, the ITIL Practitioner certification is based on practical knowledge of ITIL processes and how those principles are implemented in the real world. An ITIL Practitioner can explain how to use the ITIL framework to support business objectives and focuses on organizational change management, communications, and measurement and metrics.
The ITIL Practitioner is considered the next step in the ITIL progression after achieving the ITIL Foundation (which is a prerequisite). It emphasizes the ability to adopt, adapt and apply ITIL concepts in an organization. Although the Practitioner certification is not required for upper-level ITIL credentials, achieving Practitioner certification provides three credits toward ITIL Expert certification. You can prepare for the Practitioner test through self-study, in-person classroom learning or online and distance learning options. The Practitioner test is 40 multiple-choice questions and requires a minimum score of 70 percent, or 28 correct answers, to pass.
The ITIL Intermediate certification is module-based, each of which focuses on a different aspect of IT service management. Relevant modules are categorized as either Service Lifecycle or Service Capability.
The Service Lifecycle modules are:
The Service Capability modules are:
To enable candidates to meet their own career goals, AXELOS lets you achieve qualification in one category or by choosing modules from both categories. AXELOS recommends that you have at least two years of IT service management experience. Note that you must complete your Intermediate test preparation by completing a training course offered by an accredited training organization (ATO), i.e., you cannot self-study then sit for the Intermediate exam.
The ITIL Expert is an advanced certification that encompasses the breadth and depth of ITIL processes and practices across all ITIL disciplines. ITIL Expert certification is a prerequisite for the ITIL Master certification.
To qualify for the ITIL Expert, you must obtain at least 17 credits from the Foundation, Practitioner and Intermediate modules, and pass the Managing Across the Lifecycle (MALC) exam, earning a total of 22 credits.
The pinnacle ITIL Master certification demonstrates an ability to apply the ITIL framework in real-world situations. The ITIL Master encompasses all ITIL principles and processes covered in the Foundation through Expert certifications. An ITIL Master must demonstrate complete mastery of the ITIL framework by completing the following:
The cost of the ITIL Master runs about $4,000, which you pay after an EI accepts your initial application. Given the expense of this certification and its stringent requirements, only serious candidates should pursue the ITIL Master. That said, earning this certification indicates you’ve reached the highest level of achievement in your field.
IT professionals who possess an ITIL certification have always been valued by large corporations who have adopted the ITIL framework as an internal IT standard. What is beginning to change is ITIL’s increasing proliferation. Many small- and medium-sized businesses also now recognize the value of employees with ITIL certifications under their collective belts.
As IT becomes more important, SMBs are realizing the biggest benefits of maintaining ITIL-trained personnel on staff. Though no company wants to see IT projects fail, larger companies can usually absorb the loss of productivity, time and money that accompanies a failed IT service project. SMBs may not have the financial luxury of allowing an important IT project to fail owing to poor management and lack of processes. Thus, the value of an ITIL certification may be greater for enlightened companies that cannot afford IT project failures.
The good news about ITIL certification is that it is a valuable skill for almost any IT professional, from system administrators to chief information officers (CIOs). Many large companies have dedicated ITIL coaches or mentors who help shepherd projects through the various steps of the ITIL framework. These ITIL gurus have a wide understanding of the IT landscape and can usually spot trouble with a service design document or implementation plan in a matter of minutes.
ITIL certification is also a valuable credential for IT project managers, who are in the IT service trenches every day. Most project managers are already familiar with the development lifecycle process, so the principles of ITIL come naturally to them. IT managers, architects and engineers might not ever become ITIL Masters, but even a basic knowledge of the ITIL framework can assist with understanding and supporting the ITIL process.
AXELOS provides a Career Paths chart that maps IT service management job roles with skill levels. This chart is handy for certification candidates interested in specific jobs who need to understand how they fit into the ITIL service lifecycle.
Each ITIL certification webpage provides links to relevant study guides and syllabi. Those pursuing the ITIL Foundation certification should read the three-part blog series on preparing for and taking the ITIL Foundation exam. Those who are thinking about pursuing the Intermediate certification should use the ITIL Intermediate Training Navigator to match desired job roles and skills with the appropriate modules.
Formal ITIL training is available in self-paced online courses, instructor-led distance learning and instructor-led classroom classes. The variety of ITIL training offered and the collection of certified companies offering ITIL training ensures that anyone who is interested in learning about ITIL or becoming ITIL certified has an option that fits their learning preferences.
Although non-accredited ITIL training is available, we strongly recommend that you only utilize an ITIL ATO when you pursue ITIL training. Find a complete list of such training providers on the Axelos ITIL website.
Axelos and the ITIL Development Group, made up of more than 2,000 ITIL stakeholders worldwide, began working on an update to ITIL V3 in late 2017. That work continued throughout 2018, and Axelos has announced upcoming changes to the ITIL certifications known as ITIL 4. ITIL 4 will provide sweeping changes to the ITIL certification program to better align with the growing complexity of modern IT. ITIL 4 also changes some of the certification program terms and titles to align with the new ITIL 4 program structure. Here is a look at the new ITIL 4 program overview:
You’ll recognize some familiar terms as well as some new nomenclature incorporated into the ITIL 4 certification scheme. The certification still starts with the ITIL Foundation, and ITIL Master is still the highest level of ITIL certification, but how you get from Foundation to Master now allows two distinct paths, allowing you to choose the certification knowledge areas that best fit your interests and career goals.
The new Foundation test is scheduled to be released in Q1 of 2019, with additional certification test updates scheduled to be released in the second half of 2019. You can find more details on how existing ITIL V3 certifications map to the new program structure here: ITIL 4 Program Updates.
Note: We will update this article as the new ITIL 4 test preparation courses and certification exams are released by Axelos so check back here often to learn more about ITIL 4.
Ed is a 30-year-plus veteran of the computing industry, who has worked as a programmer, a technical manager, a classroom instructor, a network consultant and a technical evangelist for companies that include Burroughs, Schlumberger, Novell, IBM/Tivoli and NetQoS. He has written for numerous publications, including Tom’s IT Pro, and is the author of more than 140 computing books on information security, web markup languages and development tools, and Windows operating systems.
Earl is also a 30-year veteran of the computer industry, who worked in IT training, marketing, technical evangelism and market analysis in the areas of networking and systems technology and management. Ed and Earl met in the late 1980s when Ed hired Earl as a trainer at an Austin-area networking company that’s now part of HP. The two of them have written numerous books together on NetWare, Windows Server and other topics. Earl is also a regular writer for the computer trade press with many e-books, white papers and articles to his credit.
There is an appreciable number of available, high-quality certification programs that focus on digital investigations and forensics. However, there are also many certifications and programs in this area that are far less transparent and widely known.
There’s been a steady demand for digital forensics certifications for the past several years, mainly owing to the following:
As a result, there is a continuing rise of companies that offer digital forensics training and certifications. Alas, many of these are “private label” credentials that are not well recognized. Making sense of all options and finding the right certification for you may be trickier than it seems.
To help choose our top five certifications for 2019, we looked at several popular online job boards to determine the number of advertised positions that require these certifications. While the real results vary from day to day and by job board, this should supply you an idea of the number of digital forensic jobs with specific certification requirements.
|GCFA (SANS GIAC)||422||489||857||294||2,062|
|GCFE (SANS GIAC)||203||226||433||143||1,005|
*We covered two GIAC credentials, presented together in a single GIAC section below.
Digital forensics is a relatively lucrative space for practitioners. The average salary for intermediate digital forensic jobs in the U.S. – $63,959, according to SimpyHired – trails that of network engineers, system administrators and project managers. However, a senior specialist or forensic analyst, whether working in the private industry or government channels, will often earn six figures in major metro areas. We found salaries on the high end running almost $107,000 for forensic analysts and more than $127,000 for digital forensic roles.
AccessData is the maker of the popular Forensic Toolkit (FTK) solution for digital investigations. The company also offers a variety of related products and services, such as AD Lab, AD eDiscovery, AD Enterprise and AD Triage.
The AccessData Certified Examiner (ACE) is worth pursuing for those who already use or plan to use FTK, which enjoys widespread use in law enforcement and private research and consulting firms. The certification requires one exam, which covers the FTK Imager, Registry Viewer, PRTK (Password Recovery Toolkit) and FTK Examiner Application/Case Management Window tools in detail. AccessData recommends basic to moderate forensic knowledge before attempting the exam. This includes an understanding of digital artifacts, Registry files, encrypting and decrypting files, hashing, attack types, using live and index searching, and other topics. See the latest ACE Study Guide for details.
Recertification is required every two years. Credential holders must pass the current ACE exam, which focuses on the most current versions of FTK and other tools, to maintain their credentials.
|Certification name||AccessData Certified Examiner (ACE)|
|Prerequisites and required courses||None; training recommended:
AccessData FTK BootCamp (three-day classroom or live online)
FTK Intermediate courses
|Number of exams||One test (ACE 6); includes knowledge-based and practical portions
Registration required to receive a join code to access the testing portal
|Cost per exam||$100 (exam fee includes retakes and recertification exams)|
|Self-study materials||There is a link to the free ACE Study Guide is on the certification webpage. The testing portal includes study videos, lessons in PDF and a practice test (with an image file).|
The International Association of Computer Investigative certified (IACIS) is the organization behind the Certified Forensic Computer Examiner (CFCE) credential. This organization caters primarily to law enforcement personnel, and you must be employed in law enforcement to qualify for regular IACIS membership.
A formal application form, along with an application fee, is necessary to join IACIS. Regular membership includes current computer/digital forensic practitioners who are current or former government or law enforcement employees or forensic contractors to a government agency. All other practitioners can apply for Associate membership to IACIS, provided they can pass a background check. Membership fees and annual renewal fees are required. IACIS membership is not required to obtain the CFCE credential.
To obtain the CFCE credential, candidates must demonstrate proficiency with CFCE core competencies. One option is IACIS’ Basic Computer Forensic Examiner (BCFE) two-week training course; it meets the 72-hour training requirement, costs $2,995, includes a free laptop and waives the IACIS membership fee for nonmembers. IACIS membership is required to attend the course. Candidates completing the training course can enroll directly in the CFCE program upon completion of the course. Those not attending the BCFE course may meet the 72-hour training requirement with a comparable course (subject to IACIS approval), pay a $750 registration fee, and successfully pass a background check to enroll in the CFCE program and sit for the exam.
The CFCE test is a two-step testing process that includes a peer review and CFCE certification testing:
Upon completion of both the peer review and the certification phase, candidates must submit a notarized form certifying that the practical and written exams were completed independently without assistance from anyone else.
Certificants must recertify every three years to maintain the CFCE credential. Recertification requires proof of at least 40 hours of professional education, a passing score on a proficiency test in the third year, proof of computer/digital forensics work experience, or passing scores on three proficiency tests within three years, and either three years of IACIS membership or payment of a $150 recertification fee.
Despite the time and expense involved in earning a CFCE, this credential has high value and excellent name recognition in the computer forensics field. Many forensics professionals consider the CFCE a necessary merit badge to earn, especially for those who work in or for law enforcement.
|Certification name||Certified Forensic Computer Examiner (CFCE)|
|Prerequisites and required courses||Basic Computer Forensics Examiner (BCFE) training course recommended ($2,995)
72 hours of training in computer/digital forensics comparable to CFCE core competencies; BCFE training course meets training requirement
Without BCFE training: take a comparable course, pay $750 registration fee and pass a background check
|Number of exams||Two-part process: Peer review (must pass to proceed to subsequent phase) and certification phase (includes hard-drive practical and written examination)|
|Cost per exam||Included in BCFE training; $750 for the entire testing process for those not attending BCFE training|
|Self-study materials||IACIS is the primary conduit for training and study materials for this certification.|
The EC-Council is a well-known training and certification organization that specializes in the areas of anti-hacking, digital forensics and penetration testing. The organization’s Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI) certification emphasizes forensics tools, analytical techniques, and procedures involved in obtaining, maintaining, and presenting digital forensic evidence and data in a court of law.
The EC-Council offers training for this credential but permits candidates to challenge the test without taking the course, provided they have a minimum of two years of information security experience and pay a non-refundable $100 eligibility application fee.
The CHFI course covers a wide range of syllabus and tools (click the test Blueprint button on the certification webpage). syllabus include an overview of digital forensics, in-depth coverage of the computer forensics investigation process, working with digital evidence, anti-forensics, database and cloud forensics, investigating network traffic, mobile and email forensics, and ethics, policies and regulations. Courseware is available, as well as instructor-led classroom training.
The EC-Council offers numerous other certifications of potential value to readers interested in the CHFI. These include the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), CEH (Practical), EC-Council Certified Security Analyst (ECSA), ECSA Practical, Certified Network Defender (CND) and Licensed Penetration Tester (LPT), Certified Application Security Engineer (CASE), and Certified Chief Information Security Officer (CCISO). It also offers credentials in related areas such as disaster recovery, encryption and security analysis. Visit the EC-Council site for more info on its popular and respected credentials.
|Certification name||Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI) v9|
|Prerequisites and required courses||Application with resume and current or previous employer info required.
Candidates must agree to the EC-Council Non-Disclosure, Candidate Application and Candidate Certification agreement terms.
Training recommended but not required:
To challenge the test without training, you must have two years of information security work experience and/or education to reflect specialization, pay a non-refundable application fee of $100, and complete the Exam Eligibility Application Form.
More information on the application process is located on the Application Eligibility Process webpage.
|Number of exams||One exam: EC0 312-49 (150 questions, four hours, passing score 70 percent, multiple choice). Available through the ECC test portal.|
|Cost per exam||$500 (plus $100 application fee; candidates who do not participate in training must pay a $650 test fee plus $100 application fee)|
|Self-study materials||Visit the EC-Council Store and search for “CHFI” for preparation materials, including labs. Study guide and test guides are available on Amazon, as well as some practice exams.|
Guidance Software, acquired by OpenText in 2017, is a leader in the forensics tools and services arena. Its well-known and widely used EnCase Forensic software helps professionals acquire data from many different types of devices, complete disk-level examinations and produce reports of their findings. The company also sells software for remote investigations (EnCase Endpoint Investigator), eDiscovery, risk management, mobile investigations and endpoint security.
The company’s certification program includes the Certified Forensic Security Responder (CFSR), EnCase Certified eDiscovery Practitioner (EnCEP) and EnCase Certified Examiner (EnCe). Available to professionals in the public and private sector, the EnCE recognizes an individual’s proficiency using EnCase Forensic software and mastery of computer investigation methodology, including evidence collection, preservation, file verification, file signatures and hashing, first responder activities, and much more.
To achieve EnCe certification, candidates must show proof of a minimum of 64 hours of authorized computer forensic training or 12 months of qualified work experience, complete an application, and then successfully complete a two-phase test that includes a written and practical portion.
EnCE certifications are valid for three years from the date obtained. Recertification requires one of the following:
|Certification name||EnCase Certified Examiner (EnCe)|
|Prerequisites and required courses||Required: 64 hours of authorized computer forensic training or 12 months of work experience in computer forensics
Training options through Guidance Software:
Completion of the EnCE application
|Number of exams||One two-phase exam:
Passing the Phase I test earns an electronic license to complete the Phase II exam.
|Cost per exam||$200 total, or $300 international
$75 renewal fee
|Self-study materials||Study materials provided in Guidance Software courses. Check Amazon for availability of current and practice exams.
Learning On Demand subscription provides access to 400 courses across the OpenText Learning Services platform.
SANS is the organization behind the Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC) program. It is a well-respected and highly regarded player in the information security field in general. SANS not only teaches and researches in this area, it also provides breaking news, operates a security alert service, and serves on all kinds of government, research and academic information security task forces, working groups, and industry organizations.
The organization’s incident response and forensics credentials include the following:
The intermediate GCFE and the more senior GCFA are the focus of this section. Neither credential requires taking SANS courses (which have a strong reputation for being among the best in the cybersecurity community, with high-powered instructors to match), but they are recommended to candidates and often offered before, during or after SANS conferences held around the U.S. at regular intervals.
Both the GCFE and GCFA focus on computer forensics in the context of investigation and incident response, and thus also focus on the skills and knowledge needed to collect and analyze data from Windows and/or Linux computer systems during such activities. Candidates must possess the necessary skills, knowledge, and ability to conduct formal incident investigations and advanced incident handling, including dealing with internal and external data breaches, intrusions, and cyberthreats; collecting and preserving evidence; understanding anti-forensic techniques; and building and documenting advanced digital forensic cases.
Most SANS GIAC credentials are valid for four years. Candidates may recertify for the GCFE and GCFA by earning 36 continuing professional experience (CPE) credits. In addition, credential holders must pay a certification maintenance fee of $429 every four years.
The SANS GIAC program encompasses more than 36 information security certifications across a broad range of syllabus and disciplines. IT professionals interested in information security in general, as well as digital forensics, would be well advised to investigate further on the GIAC homepage.
|Certification name||GIAC Certified Forensic Examiner (GCFE)
GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst (GCFA)
|Prerequisites and required courses||None
GCFE recommended course: FOR500: Windows Forensic Analysis ($6,210)
GCFA recommended course: FOR508: Advanced Digital Forensics, Incident Response, and Threat Hunting ($6,210)
|Number of exams||One test for each credential (115 questions, three hours, passing score of 71 percent)
Exams proctored by Pearson VUE. Registration with GIAC required to schedule an exam.
|Cost per exam||$769 if part of training/bootcamp
$1,899 (no training – referred to as a certification challenge)
Additional details available here.
|Self-study materials||Practice tests available on the GIAC test preparation page (two tests included in test fee; additional practice questions are $159 each). Study guides and practice exams can be found on Amazon and other typical channels.|
There are lots of other certification programs that can help to further the careers of IT professionals who work in digital forensics.
One certification we’ve featured in the past is the CyberSecurity Institute’s CyberSecurity Forensic Analyst (CSFA). The CyberSecurity Institute provides digital forensic services aimed at law firms, businesses and individuals, and administers a small but well-respected certification program. The CSFA is designed for security professionals with at least two years of experience performing digital forensic analysis on computers and devices running the Windows operating system and creating investigative reports. Although the certification didn’t generate as many job board hits as our other featured certifications, the CSFA is still worth your attention.
The same goes for the Certified Computer Examiner (CCE) from the International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners, also known as ISFCE. The CCE is well recognized in the industry and in the law enforcement community as a leading credential for digital forensics professionals, but it fell a little short on job board hits during our review this year.
Other good certifications include the Professional Certified Investigator (PCI), a senior-level, vendor-neutral computer investigations and forensics credential available through ASIS International. The organization also offers the Certified Protection Professional (CPP), which includes an investigation component, and the Physical Security Professional (PSP) in its certification program. Forensics candidates can also pursue one of the High Tech Crime Network vendor-neutral certifications – the Certified Computer Crime Investigator or Certified Computer Forensic Technician, both of which have a Basic and an Advanced credential.
If you look around online, you’ll find numerous other forensics hardware and software vendors that offer certifications and plenty of other organizations that didn’t make the cut for the 2019 list of the best digital forensics certifications. But before you wander outside the items mentioned in this article, you might want to research the sponsoring organization’s history and the number of people who’ve earned its credentials, and then determine whether the sponsor not only requires training but stands to profit from its purchase.
You might also want to ask a practicing digital forensics professional if they’ve heard of the certifications you found on your own and, if so, what that professional thinks of those offerings.
Ali Allage is CEO at BlueSteel Cybersecurity, a Security Compliance Consulting Firm.
The increase in data breaches and hacks over the past few years has forced most organizations to dedicate more resources and put more focus on their information security efforts. For organizations that outsource major business operations to third-party service providers, such as SaaS and cloud-computing vendors, this is particularly true. With my experience running a security compliance consulting firm, I know that if you mishandle customer data, your clients can become susceptible to attacks like malware installation, data thefts, blackmailing or even extortions.
SOC 2 compliance reports are used by enterprises to assure customers and stakeholders that particular vendors appreciate the value of cybersecurity and are committed to managing data securely and protecting the organization’s interests as well as the privacy of their clients.
What is SOC 2?
SOC 2 (System and Organization Controls 2) is a compliance standard for service organizations that replaced SAS 70 (Statement on Auditing Standards) in 2011. SOC 2 was created by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
SOC 2 specifies the criteria by which organizations should manage customer data and spells out five trust service principles or Trust Service Criteria (TSC): security, privacy, confidentiality, processing integrity and availability. Through these criteria, SOC 2 reports attest to the trustworthiness of services offered by an enterprise and result from an official audit procedure carried out by a certified public accountant.
The reports vary depending on the needs of each organization. Based on specific business practices, each enterprise can design its own control to adhere to one or all trust service principles. These reports help stakeholders, regulators and suppliers know how your organization’s service vendors manage customer data.
What are the differences between the types of SOC 2 reports?
Type I: These SOC 2 reports describe the service organization’s systems and test the system design to confirm that they meet the stipulated trust service principles at a specific point in time.
Type II: This type of report attests to the operating effectiveness of a vendor’s systems and controls throughout a disclosed period, usually 12 months.
Understanding The Five Trust Service Principles of SOC 2
For an organization to receive a SOC 2 certification, it must be audited by a certified public accountant. The auditor will confirm whether the service organization’s systems meet one or more of the trust principles or trust service criteria. The principle includes:
Security: Every organizational system needs protection from unauthorized or outside access. Physical and logical restrictions (access controls) must adequately prevent potential system intrusion, unauthorized deletion, theft, software misuse, disclosure of data and device manipulation.
Availability: The availability principle checks the accessibility of processes, products or services agreed upon by both parties when designing a service level agreement (SLA) or contract. The parties explicitly agree on the minimum acceptable performance level of the system.
Processing Integrity: The processing integrity confirms whether the system is performing as intended. For example, this type of review determines if the system delivers the right data at the right time, ensuring that the system processes are complete, accurate, timely and licensed.
Confidentiality: In this segment of the review, the focus is on assuring that data termed as confidential is restricted to certain individuals or organizations and protected according to policy and agreement signed by both parties. The principle of confidentiality covers business-to-business relationships, internal price lists, intellectual property, financial information forms and other sensitive data shared between businesses.
This policy applies to personally identifiable information (PII), including name, social security number, address, etc. The same goes for data related to race, religion and sex. All these pieces of data require an additional level of protection.
How long does it take to get SOC 2 compliance?
Usually, it takes six to 12 months for a company to generate a SOC 2 audit report. However, the duration varies depending on the type of report pursued, with Type I SOC 2 reports taking approximately 6 months and Type II SOC 2 reports taking a minimum of 6 months and sometimes lasting up to 12 months.
Why would a company invest in SOC 2 certification?
Companies that undergo SOC 2 auditing often enhance their security measures and overall efficiency. The audit report helps them streamline their operations and controls based on the understanding of cybersecurity threats their customers face. As a result, the organization can Improve its services, process or products.
SaaS, PaaS, B2B vendors processing and storing personal indefinable information or sensitive data need to invest in SOC 2 certification. Any company that collects and stores customer data needs to focus on security, considering the rise in cybersecurity threats and data breaches. A SOC 2 audit report will confirm to enterprise customers, users and potential clients that the products they’re using are safe and secure. Protecting customer data from unsanctioned access and theft should be at the forefront for these types of organizations.
A SOC 2 report gives a company a competitive edge over those that don’t have one. With the proliferation of data breaches, most businesses prefer working with SOC 2 certified vendors because these service providers are safe and have adopted the necessary measures to prevent unauthorized data access.
In most cases, the benefits of undergoing SOC 2 auditing and obtaining the SOC 2 certification outweigh the investment for achieving it. That’s because a SOC 2 report shows that an organization is committed to investing in the security of its services or product and protecting customer information. In return, the enterprise enjoys a competitive edge, a great business reputation and continuity.
In a world where competition for jobs, pay increases, and academic success continues to increase, certifications offer hope to candidates and educators.
Certification helps to build a skilled workforce that meets the needs of local employers and government tech initiatives. Certification strikes the right balance of academic excellence and real-world skills, giving students the confidence and motivation they need to succeed both in school and in a profitable career.
“According to Pearson VUE’s 2021 Value of Certification study, 69% of IT managers believe certification significantly increases an employee’s productivity,” said Ray Murray, of Vice President and General Manager, Certiport. “Certifications are a great way to help candidates get their foot in the door and be more productive in their future careers.”
A certification is any credential that an individual can earn or achieve that validates a level of knowledge or a skillset related to a specific subject or discipline. Certifications are credentials that stand in addition to, in support of, or independently from degrees and diplomas.
Certifications, as defined above, are often created or supported by industry-recognized businesses or organizations and are administered in controlled environments by authorized and independent agents. Validating technical skill and knowledge has benefits in both academic and workplace settings.
Candidates who earn certifications while in school reap benefits early, including:
Studies validate the specific benefits listed above, demonstrating the value of certifications for candidates as well as academic institutions. According to the Florida CAPE Performance Report, certification provides tangible improvements in academic performance, including:
The following content is brought to you by ZDNet partners. If you buy a product featured here, we may earn an affiliate commission or other compensation.
Cyber crimes continue to increase in frequency and severity, so the demand for cyber security skills will keep growing. And now, you can study for certified ethical hacking certifications, even with no tech background, with this 10-course cybersecurity training collection for $34.99.
You can access these courses on your computer, tablet, and phone. Total novices should start with "Learn Ethical Hacking: Beginner to Advanced," as it's designed specifically for those without IT experience. It even includes a crash course on Python and Linux essential system commands.
Amazon Web Services is the world's leading cloud-computing platform, and the "AWS Security Management & AWS Security Specialist Course" is a student favorite, with a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. It's offered by Oak Academy, founded by tech experts and specializing in the most in-demand skills such as coding, cybersecurity, mobile, game development, app monetization, and more. You'll learn about cloud computing, security, and much more required for well-paid jobs in this field.
You'll develop practical hacking skills in "Practical Wireless Networks Hacking from Scratch" and "Learn Practical Hacking Using Metasploit From Scratch." "Ethical Hacking & Penetration Testing Bootcamp with Linux" teaches you practical hacking skills, including how to set up your own lab. While "Ethical Hacking: Network Scan by Nmap & Nessus" demonstrates how to use Nmap to discover networks and check vulnerable devices.
A basic understanding of concepts related to ethical hacking is recommended for "The Complete Python Hacking Course: Beginner to Advanced." And if you're familiar with basic web technologies such as HTTP, HTML, Document Object Model, and the like, you can dive into the "Full Ethical Hacking & Penetration Testing Course."
You should know the information covered in the CompTIA Security+ and Network+ exams before taking "TOTAL: CompTIA PenTest+ (PT0-002)", but that certification would turbocharge your resume. If you've got basic IT skills and are into Raspberry Pi, then "Practical Hacking using Raspberry Pi" should be of particular interest to you.
Kickstart a new career fighting cybercrime with the 2023 Complete Cyber Security Ethical Hacking Certification Bundle, available for only $34.99.
Scuba diving opens up the magic of the underwater world to humans. The freedom people feel while breathing underwater, being in the presence of the planet's most beautiful and bizarre creatures of all sizes in the midst of an alien world beneath the waves, is an experience incomparable to any other. Once considered a sport only for the rich, scuba diving is now more accessible, affordable, and safer than ever, with millions of people all around the globe enjoying the hobby, be it regularly or occasionally on vacation.
From kaleidoscopic reefs and coral-coated sea walls heaving with colorful fish, turtles, and sharks to eerie shipwrecks, caves, and current-swept subaquatic mountains attracting manta rays, schools of hammerheads, and gigantic whale sharks, the oceans know no bounds in terms of marine life.
Don't forget about freshwater antics, either; many divers also explore the wonders within inland and subterranean lakes, which house their own unique aquatic specimens for observation. It truly doesn't matter; whether diving out in the open ocean, enjoying encounters with dolphins, whales, and the likes, taking in rainbow-hued reefs, discovering the crystal-clear waters in the icy arctic, or submersing oneself in a lake, scuba diving is one of life's most serene pastimes and bucket list items — but underwater explorers must get the right dive certifications first before they can venture into the extraterrestrial dimension below the water's surface.
As any experienced or aspiring diver might be aware, there are so many dive programs and certifications available, which can make research into getting certified a little complicated. However, this guide to each scuba diving course and certification has been written by a dive instructor, covering every angle so that hopeful divers can understand each one in the correct order.
While every dive course mentioned in this guide is based on the programs designed and offered by the most popular dive agency, PADI, most agencies — such as SSI, SDI, NAUI, RAID, and others — follow a similar flow of courses, each with similar names, curriculums, and course requirements, bar a few differences.
In ascending order and each being a prerequisite to the next, here's a comprehensive catalog and overview of every dive course at the recreational level before entering into the higher zone of professional dive training.
Scuba Diver Course Prerequisites:
First, the Open Water certification (mentioned next) is the ideal place to begin one's journey as a diver, as it's considered the initial level of certification required to dive without the presence of certified diving professional. However, the Scuba Diver certification is the stage before the Open Water Diver cert and is technically the first step on the diver ladder.
The Scuba Diver certification is often a useful option for those who wish to become a diver but are short on time since the full Open Water program takes at least a couple of days longer to complete. Generally, not all dive centers, instructors, and operators offer the Scuba Diver program, so it's wise to check before booking a vacation somewhere to undertake this novice level. However, don't panic; most do offer it, and it's a great choice for those interested in diving but who aren't sure how confident they will be in the water.
After signing up for the Scuba Diver course, participants spend two or three days undertaking its requirements. Students must complete three out of the five theory sections (videos, knowledge development sections, and quizzes), three of the five confined water dives, and only two of the four open water dives that make up the full Open Water Diver program.
Hence, the Scuba Diver cert is considered 'half' of the Open Water Diver cert, generally speaking, as it requires students to complete approximately half of the theory, confined water dives, and open water dives. Think of the Scuba Diver course as an intermediate step toward the Open Water Diver certification, the latter of which can be pursued and earned by completing another day or two to finish the full program.
The theory section of the course covers the basics of scuba diving skills and safety, which are then put into practice during the confined water portion of the program. Also, while many people complete the theory part of the course in person with their instructor, a lot prefer to do this part in advance online via PADI's e-learning. Opting for e-learning allows students to undertake all theory in their own time before starting the practical sections of the program, which they then take with the instructor. It's usually a more convenient option for those who don't want to spend any of their vacation studying books, taking quizzes and exams, and watching dive theory videos in a classroom.
After the appropriate theory modules are finished, the confined water classes are usually conducted in a swimming pool, although they can be taught in a shallow, calm area of the ocean or a lake — so long as the conditions are 'swimming pool-like.' In the confined water lessons, the instructor has the student(s) complete a series of mandatory skills — both in and out of the water — until the student has learned and demonstrated each skill to the instructor's satisfaction.
Once the confined water skills have been mastered, the best part of the program takes place: the open water modules! This part is undeniably the most fun — for both student and instructor — and is when students put the diving skills they learned in theory and confined water sections to the test out in the open water. Either in the ocean or a lake, students take to the open water with their instructor and must fulfill the same skills.
During the two open water dives, students will complete several skills on each plunge, but the skills part of the dives don't usually take that long, which leaves plenty of time to enjoy the underwater world as they explore the dive site alongside the instructor. Plus, unlike the full Open Water Diver course, there's no final exam. As long as students complete all knowledge reviews and quizzes, confined water skills, and open water dives to the instructor's satisfaction, they will receive the Scuba Diver certification.
Scuba Diver Course Overview:
The Scuba Diver certification permits holders to:
The Scuba Diver course is ideal for those who:
If students wish to upgrade to the Open Water certification, they can do so at any time in the future, whether they decide to extend their vacation to complete the necessary extra sections of the course or sign up to do these sections at a later date. The instructor can refer students to another dive center or instructor if they decide to upgrade to the Open Water Diver certification with a different dive center/instructor.
Note: When a certified Scuba Diver wishes to upgrade to the Open Water Diver certification, they must (with an instructor):
Open Water Diver Course Prerequisites:
The Open Water Diver course is where it really begins; it's the first autonomous diving certification and teaches participants how to be a great, safe diver without necessarily being under the wing of a dive professional (although diving with a certified buddy is always mandatory, no matter what certification a diver holds). It's the most popular beginner diver program and is highly recommended for newbies because it teaches them even more valuable skills and allows a greater level of diver freedom.
As discussed, the Open Water Diver certification is the next level up from the Scuba Diver course, and any participant who already has the Scuba Diver cert only needs to fill the above-mentioned checklist for upgrading to the Open Water certification. However, the Scuba Diver qualification isn't a prerequisite, so absolute beginners can still sign up for the Open Water Diver course. So long as participants meet the prerequisite criteria bullet-pointed above, they can take the Open Water Diver course.
The Open Water Diver course consists of the same sections as the Scuba Diver course, except it has two more theory sections involving videos, knowledge development assessments, and a quiz, two extra confined water sections, two more open water dives, and a final exam.
Open Water Diver Course Overview:
For students starting the Open Water course from scratch, the program overview looks like this:
Open Water Diver Certification Information:
Upon completion of the Open Water Diver course, students receive the Open Water Diver certification, which certifies divers to:
Any young divers certified between the ages of 10 to 14 receive a Junior Open Diver certification, not the 'full' Open Water Diver cert. The Junior Open Water Diver carries the same weight, but there are some important differences. Junior divers between 10 and 11 may only dive with a dive professional, a certified parent, or a certified guardian — and only to a maximum depth of 12 meters (40 feet). Junior divers aged between 12 and 14 are permitted to dive to 12 meters (40 feet) only when accompanied by a certified adult diver over 18. Once Junior Open Water Divers turn 15, they are automatically upgraded to the standard Open Water Diver certification without any further applications necessary.
Advanced Open Water Diver Course Prerequisites:
The name of this program can be quite deceiving; divers don't need to be 'advanced' to undertake the Advanced Open Water Diver course; rather, it advances their existing skills and builds upon the Open Water Diver certification by exploring the underwater world. Divers who are at least 12 years old and have the Open Water Diver certification can opt for this course, which is considered the second level on the diving path. What participants might enjoy about this program, in particular, is the fact there are no 'fixed' classroom theory sessions per se; everything is all about getting in the water and discovering its adventures.
Students receive the Advanced Open Water Diver course book, which they can study at their leisure before completing the diver quizzes, which the instructor will check, but that's about all there is to the 'theory' side of the course. Handily, there's no final test necessary to pass this program, either.
During the Advanced Diver course, students log a total of five 'specialty' dives with their instructor. Specialty dives are unlike ordinary dives; in essence, they're much like 'themed' dives, in which students explore certain environments and complete skills appropriate to that particular specialty dive. Two of the dive specialty dives are mandatory — the 'deep' dive and the 'navigation' dive.
The deep dive involves exploring depths (up to 30 meters max) and equips students to handle the unique physiological effects of deep diving. On the other hand, the navigation dive equips divers with the know-how to find their way above and below the surface using an underwater compass, visual landmarks, kick cycles, and time.
The other three specialty dives are up to the student, and they can choose from several useful (and amazing) situations to experience, so long as the location permits. The following specialty dives are usually the most widely available and most popular:
Plenty more specialty dive types also exist, although they are often less available due to a lack of equipment or suitable dive sites near any given dive center's vicinity that allow these dives to be carried out:
Advanced Open Water Diver Course Overview:
Advanced Open Water Diver Certification Information:
After completing the Advanced Open Water Diver course, students earn the Advanced Open Water Diver certification, permitting them to:
Rescue Diver Course Prerequisites:
For most dive instructors, the Rescue Diver course is one of the most fun and enriching scuba courses to teach. Rescue Divers are much like the emergency services of the aquatic world, equipped with the in-depth know-how to solve myriads of problems and respond to dive-related emergencies both on land, on the surface, and underwater. Out of all the dive programs, this one is often branded the most physically and mentally challenging; however, it's the most rewarding, shifting the focus from oneself to other divers.
The purpose of the Rescue Diver course is to teach divers to prevent, manage, and solve all kinds of problems that may occur when scuba diving — not just for themselves but also for other divers. It also equips divers with the knowledge to identify small, potential problems before they become big ones. As such, there's a lot to learn in this program before earning the esteemed Rescue Diver certification, but don't panic; it can be completed in around four to seven days — though those days will be plush with work and plenty of taxing tasks.
First, course participants must be at least 12 years old and have earned their Advanced Open Water qualification. In addition, they also need to have completed a CPR and First Aid training program within the last 24 months (there are exceptions for qualified medical professionals, such as doctors and nurses, for instance). If students don't have the required CPR and First Aid training, they can undertake it alongside the Rescue Diver course, which is a ton of fun and teaches them a wide array of highly valuable skills, but it does mean even more work is added to an already-heavy course. Among divers, the most popular CPR and First Aid training course is Emergency First Response (EFR), and most dive instructors are Emergency First Response instructors themselves, enabling them to teach the program to aspiring Rescue Divers.
For students without the EFR Primary and Secondary Care certification completed within the last 24 months, they will complete this program before starting the Rescue Diver course. In the EFR course, students learn about CPR, health and safety, identification of hazards, how to respond to various emergency scenarios, how to operate an AED, how to identify scuba diving-related illnesses, and how to administer emergency oxygen to a diver. The EFR portion takes around two days, after which the Rescue Diver course begins.
Throughout the dry land part of the Rescue Diver course, participants study the Rescue Diver textbook and complete quizzes before starting their in-water skills practice, which has them demonstrate what they learned in the classroom in a variety of rescue scenarios in and around the water. Much of the course consists of role-playing rescue scenarios under the guidance and supervision of the instructor, covering aspects and essential in-water and out-of-water skills, including the causes of dive emergencies, recognizing and responding to various types of diver distress, identifying and rectifying equipment issues, effectuating missing diver procedures, undertaking first aid and injury treatment, accident management, and quick problem-solving.
Overall, ten water rescue exercises form the structure of the Rescue Diver course. They include drills such as:
Dive instructors and their assistants will simulate and guide Rescue Diver students through these rescue scenarios — and usually without any warning (during dinner or when relaxing on the beach or at the bar are common times instructors like to instigate a surprise role-playing emergency situation for students who take the course while on vacation!) This means students must be ready at all times to put their theoretical and practical training into practice and respond quickly and appropriately as if the incident was occurring in real life.
Rescue Diver Course Overview:
Master Scuba Diver Prerequisites:
The Master Scuba Diver certification doesn't have a respective course; it's earned by fulfilling a checklist synonymous with advanced and experienced recreational scuba divers. The Master Scuba Diver status is the final title of the recreational scuba realm, after which comes the ranks of the dive pros (starting with the Divemaster cert below).
Less than 2% of divers ever achieve this high rating, which is acquired through hard work, ample time spent underwater (50 dives at least), and additional specialty training. This 'specialty training' entails any of the multiple Specialty Diver courses available, which are like shorter 'mini-programs' that teach specific knowledge and skills and certify divers in a certain area of expertise.
Although there are many more, some of the most popular Specialty Diver courses are:
Those who've risen through the diving ranks, having logged at least 50 dives and achieved their Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Rescue Diver, and five Specialty Diver certifications will therefore meet the criteria for the elite Master Scuba Diver and can then apply to have their certification upgraded from Rescue Diver to Master Scuba Diver — proudly flashing their cert level whenever they go diving from there on out.
Divemaster Course Prerequisites:
The Divemaster course is the first stage in the professional diving industry, teaching divers to become leaders and take charge of dive activities. This level of training is about honing all the knowledge and skills needed to work as a diver at the professional level, with a view to becoming a mentor and even a motivator for new divers.
Of course, it's not just for hopeful dive pros; the course is perfect for recreational divers who want to amp up their skills even more than ever before and become the best diver they can be. Many fun divers take the Divemaster course to build their knowledge and abilities while also enjoying an incredible experience, which the program always is.
As a diver, it's an amazing time, taking several weeks or even months to work on theory, in-water skills, and open-water competencies, as well as plenty of fun dives with fellow divers and Divemaster students along the way.
Throughout the Divemaster course, participants gradually complete a long list of theoretical and practical skills, assignments, assessments, and exams, as well as a final examination compiling everything learned during the entire program at the end. Divemaster students also assist instructors with other training programs, too, helping them teach Open Water Diver courses, Advanced Open Water Diver courses, Rescue Diver courses, and Specialty Diver courses to other dive students.
In general, the course takes a minimum of four weeks, but many dive operators offer varying course lengths ranging from one month to three months (or more, in some cases, depending on the needs of the student). It's usually recommended to take at least a couple of months or even longer when taking the Divemaster course; students taking their time affords them a more in-depth experience, with more opportunities to dive, learn, and practice their abilities.
Ultimately, Divemaster training is designed to supply divers the knowledge and skills to make it in the dive sector as a pro, providing them with both simulated and real work experience during the program, which enables them to get a feel for what it might be like working as a divemaster or instructor.
Whether aspiring divemasters intend on quitting their day job to become a divemaster or get a weekend job at a local dive shop, the Divemaster course is ideal for those who wish to make a career out of diving, not just a hobby. Plus, the Divemaster certification is the main prerequisite for the Instructor Development Course — the training and certification needed to become and work as a professional dive instructor.
A Basic Divemaster Course Outline:
Through a series of knowledge development classroom sessions, water skills exercises, in-water workshops, hands-on practical assessments, and a final exam, Divemaster course participants develop the necessary abilities to plan, organize, and direct scuba diving activities, such as certain low-level courses and experiences, dive excursions, equipment management, logistics, diver health and safety, and business skills.
Topics, skills, and practical course workshops include:
While this guide to each diving course is extensive and in-depth, hopefully, it arms aspiring divers with the knowledge they seek about the specific certification they're interested in, as well as those looking for a detailed program list of each cert as they continue their scuba journey. Not mentioned in this guide is the Instructor certification, as that goes beyond the domain of recreational scuba and instead speeds full steam ahead into the planet of the pros — but worry not, aspiring instructors can read all about it in another exciting feature.
For now, budding divers and season sub-sea explorers should focus on each of the courses discussed above before venturing down the instructor road. Then, if they do decide to pursue the professional dive instructor path, they'll be ready to do so after completing all the courses and being armed with a belt chock-full of the savvy, skills, and certs sectioned in this guide.
Whatever the case, be one adamant about working in the dive industry or cherishing diving as a hobby, ticking these courses off the bucket list is an extraordinary, bucket list-worthy journey and will forever change the lives of those who dive into each and take the plunge!
The 5th edition of the Solomon test Prep Series 24 Study Guide is now available for securities professionals seeking their FINRA Series 24 license.
— Jeremy Solomon, President & Co-founder of Solomon test Prep
PORTLAND, OREGON, USA, October 6, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ -- Solomon test Prep has just published the 5th edition of “The Solomon test Prep Guide: Series 24 FINRA General Securities Principal Qualification Examination.” With this updated edition of the Series 24 Study Guide, professionals can learn the content they need to know to pass the Series 24 exam.
The Series 24 test was created by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the self-regulatory organization that regulates member brokerage firms and exchange markets. The Series 24 test assesses how competent candidates are to perform the job functions of an entry-level principal dependent on their representative-level registration(s).
Individuals must have passed the FINRA Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) test and a representative-level qualification test such as the Series 7, Series 79, or Series 82 to be eligible to take the Series 24 exam. Passing the Series 24 test qualifies individuals to perform supervisory activities related to advertising, market making, trading, and underwriting.
The Series 24 test tests an individual’s knowledge of rules, regulations, and practices in all areas of a firm’s investment banking and securities business. Therefore, it is a difficult test that requires significant study time with up-to-date, comprehensive materials.
“If you have to take the Series 24 Exam, you’re probably already a Limited Securities Representative and have passed the SIE and at least one of the representative-level exams. This means you have an idea of what to expect, and you know that serious study and practice is required to pass an exam. Having a study guide that explains concepts in plain English and supports comprehension with helpful graphics, examples, and practice questions is crucial when it comes to retaining the knowledge you need for this exam. Solomon’s 5th edition of the Series 24 Study Guide provides exactly that and has helped thousands of students pass the Series 24 exam.”
– Jeremy Solomon, Co-founder and President of Solomon test Prep
While the core content remains the same, the 5th edition of the Solomon Series 24 Study Guide includes these helpful content updates:
• Revamped coverage of net capital to focus on the most testable facts
• Coverage of compliance obligations when a firm outsources business functions
• Information about a new FINRA rule that may require heightened supervision when a rep is appealing a violation
• Expanded and updated discussion of Regulation D private placements and the SEC’s new definition of accredited investors
• Extensive coverage of Regulation Best Interest and the new suitability requirements it imposes on broker-dealers
• Information about the SEC’s new, higher exempt offering dollar caps
• Expanded coverage of the taping rule for firms who hire associated persons formerly employed by a disciplined firm
• Additional information about OTC due diligence
• Coverage of FINRA rule changes for continuing education, permissive registration, and the Maintaining Qualifications Program
• Revised coverage of FINRA's updated fingerprinting rules
To help prepare candidates for the exam, the Solomon Series 24 Study Guide is continually kept up to date to reflect current rules and regulations, and it covers all key test topics. Charts, graphs, and practice questions throughout the text support learners in understanding and practicing key concepts.
Content updates for the 5th edition of the Solomon Series 24 Study Guide are also reflected in the Solomon Series 24 test Simulator. The test Simulator complements the Study Guide with over 3,500 practice questions for Series 24.
The Solomon Series 24 Study Guide is available as a digital subscription with a hardcopy upgrade option, and it can be purchased individually or in a package with accompanying Series 24 study products. Customers also have access to free tools and resources, including a study schedule in digital and pdf formats, which helps students master the test material with maximum efficiency.
To learn more about Solomon test Prep’s Series 24 study materials, including the Study Guide, test Simulator, Audiobook, and Video Lecture, visit the Solomon Series 24 product page.
ABOUT SOLOMON test PREP
Solomon test Prep has helped thousands of financial professionals pass their FINRA, MSRB, NASAA, and NFA securities licensing exams including the SIE and the Series 3, 6, 7, 14, 22, 24, 26, 27, 28, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 63, 65, 66, 79, 82, and 99. Solomon test Prep also offers Investment Adviser Continuing Education.
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Wednesday, September 28, 2022
Per Executive Order 14028, Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a memorandum on September 14, 2022 requiring federal agencies to only use software from software producers that attest compliance with secure software development guidance issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
The new agency requirements will apply to third-party software used on government information systems or third-party software that otherwise “affects” government information. Specifically, agencies must require software producers to comply with two documents: (1) the NIST Secure Software Development Framework (NIST SP 800-218) and (2) the NIST Software Supply Chain Security Guidance (collectively, “NIST Guidance”). “Software,” as defined in the NIST Guidance, includes firmware, operating systems, applications, application services (e.g., cloud-based software), and products containing software. The requirements will apply to software developed after the effective date of the memorandum, and to existing software that is modified by any major version changes after September 14, 2022.
Agencies must require attestation from software producers in one of two ways:
Self-Attestation: Agencies, at a minimum, must require software producers to self-attest that their software complies with the NIST Guidance prior to agency use. The attestation is to be provided via a standard self-attestation form and must be retained by the agency, unless the software producer publicly posts the attestation. The memorandum allows agencies to accept a Plan of Action & Milestones (POA&M) from the software producer for secure development practices to which the software producer cannot attest.
Third-Party Assessment: Alternatively, agencies may accept a third-party assessment conducted by a certified FedRAMP Third Party Assessor Organization (3PAO) oran assessor approved by the agency. The NIST Guidance is to be used as the assessment baseline. Based on the criticality of the software, agencies may require a third party assessment in some cases.
Additionally, agencies may require software producers to provide artifacts demonstrating proof of the software development practices underlying the attestation. This could include a Software Bill of Materials (SBOM), evidence of participation in a Vulnerability Disclosure Program, or any other artifacts an agency deems necessary.
The memorandum provides the following timeline for key milestones over the next year:
Agencies are to inventory their software within 90 days, separately identifying “critical software” (NIST’s definition of “critical software” is discussed here);
Agencies will develop a process to communicate requirements to software producers within 120 days (by January 12, 2023);
Agencies will begin collecting attestation letters for critical software within 270 days (by June 11, 2023);
Agencies will begin collecting attestation letters for all other software subject to the memorandum within 365 days (by September 14, 2023).
What contractors should do now. Contractors that produce or sell software to the government should prepare for the new security and attestation requirements. Software producers should take this time to evaluate their software and ensure compliance with the NIST Guidance. Software resellers should review their software offerings and consider reaching out to software producers for assurances that they will be able to meet the requirements. While the memorandum and Executive Order 14028 contemplate updates to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) relating to secure software development practices and associated attestation form, we have yet to see an open FAR case on this and contractors should not wait for that to happen. It is expected that agencies will begin incorporating language specifying new requirements in solicitations and contracts in accordance with the timelines outlined above.
Copyright © 2022, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 271
First spine navigation software to receive clearance from the FDA for use with pediatric patients aged 13 and older
KALAMAZOO, Mich., September 27, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Stryker (NYSE:SYK), one of the world’s leading medical technology companies, announced today the launch of its Q Guidance System for spine applications. The System combines new optical tracking options provided by a redesigned, state-of-the-art camera with sophisticated algorithms of the newly launched Spine Guidance Software to deliver more surgical planning and navigation capability than ever before. When used with the Q Guidance System, the Spine Guidance Software is intended as a planning and intraoperative guidance system to enable open or percutaneous computer-assisted surgery and is the first spine navigation software to receive FDA clearance for use with pediatric patients aged 13 and older.
This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20220927005511/en/
The Q Guidance System combines new optical tracking options provided by a redesigned, state-of-the-art camera with sophisticated algorithms of the newly launched Spine Guidance Software to deliver more surgical planning and navigation capability than ever before. (Photo: Business Wire)
"The Q Guidance System offers cutting-edge tracking options with its 4th generation FP8000 camera, and Spine Guidance Software allows for advanced planning and computer-assisted execution," said Robbie Robinson, President of the Spine division. "With the addition of the Q Guidance System, customers now have access to a robust solution that includes imaging, guidance, and instruments and is fully integrated and designed to meet complex customer needs. In the years to come, our goal is to use the versatility of this System to help advance our technologies across multiple specialties including cranial, spine, ENT, and orthopaedics."
Q Guidance offers surgeons numerous benefits, including:
A proprietary camera: The Q Guidance System features a 4th generation FP8000 camera that offers unmatched speeds and the flexibility of multiple optical tracking methods, including full-spectrum active/passive hybrid optical tracking.1 It is the only guidance system with proprietary active technology and a non-invasive patient tracker, SpineMask.
Image processing: Spine Guidance Software features completely redesigned applications, semi-automatic and automatic processing features, gesture recognition, and broad compatibility with various types of image sets.
Spine Guidance Software: Spine Guidance Software is designed to help surgeons optimize their workflow, minimize their time in the OR and address complex clinical decisions and techniques intraoperatively. Its computational power is designed to support our spine product and software roadmap. It is our intention to develop and release new technologies within the Q ecosystem.
"In my experience, Spine Guidance Software truly simplifies preoperative planning, navigation and execution," said Stephen George, M.D., Director of Spine Surgery, Nicklaus Children's Hospital. "From what I have seen, the Q Guidance System is a powerful platform that has provided reliability and performance in a solution that is conveniently scalable to a wide array of surgical procedures, ranging from a single level fusion to a multi-level deformity correction. When used with the Airo TruCT scanner, Spine Guidance Software is designed to minimize time spent intraoperatively planning, thanks to its auto segmentation capability, while also allowing us the benefit of being able to image the patient in the surgical position. Its intuitive and customizable software enables us to configure the System to fit our preferences."
Stryker will be featuring the Q Guidance System and offering demonstrations at several upcoming meetings, including:
Society for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (SMISS) 2022 Annual Forum in Las Vegas, Sept. 29–Oct. 1, 2022 (booth #206, #208, #210)
Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) 2022 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, Oct. 8–12, 2022 (booth #419)
North American Spine Society (NASS) Annual Meeting in Chicago, Oct. 12–15, 2022 (booth #4211)
Stryker is one of the world’s leading medical technology companies and, together with its customers, is driven to make healthcare better. The company offers innovative products and services in Medical and Surgical, Neurotechnology, and Orthopaedics and Spine that help Improve patient and hospital outcomes. Alongside its customers around the world, Stryker impacts more than 100 million patients annually. More information is available at www.stryker.com.
Dr. Stephen G. George is a paid consultant of Stryker. His statements represent his own opinions based on personal experience and are not necessarily those of Stryker. Individual results may vary.
Stryker data on file
Content ID: QGS-PR-2_33777
View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20220927005511/en/
Andrea Sampson, Sampson Public Relations Group
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