Network and Internet security skills

There has always been a need for network security specialists, but the Internet has boosted demand exponentially. As companies move to doing business online, their systems have become open to external attack.

This means that the need for competent security people is increasing all the time and will be further boosted with the implementation of the Federal and State Governments electronic transactions acts.

Meridian Business Information has recently completed a survey of 200 chief information officers involved in their companies' e-business initiatives. They found that e-security rated the highest, with 73 per cent of respondents citing this as their biggest concern.

Security specialists need a solid understanding of network security and firewalls, the elements of security, types of attacks, securing resources, levels of firewall protection, and detecting and distracting hackers. In addition, they must be savvy with operating system security, which encompasses file system security, account security, assessment and reducing risk. Besides these areas, a security specialist will also be required to undertake auditing and threat analysis, which includes auditing server penetration and attack techniques, intrusion detection and auditing, and log analysis.

"I learned my security skills initially from ex-hackers, who then formed a consultancy at the direction of the Federal Police," said Raymond Nock, MIS manager of e-learning company SmartForce Australia. "[The police] counselled these university enthusiasts to channel their obvious knowledge and skills into something worthwhile."

Nock worked with them for a number of weeks on the SmartForce system and has built on this knowledge over the years. It is not unusual to learn from hackers and many companies use these people's skills to test their systems, to ensure there are no security holes.

Trevor Guy, manager of Data#3's services business, said, "Security is still very young as a discipline and there is a plethora of issues that can arise. For example, one to two per cent of organisations don't know they are open to attack."

Most of the highly skilled security people are male and young (not over 23 years old). "Learn from the bad guys and hire the good guys," said Guy.

As more than 85 per cent of all Web sites are hosted on either Linux or Windows NT platforms, "these platforms are the main focus of the CIW administrator series of courses run by Interim," said Peter James, president and managing director of Interim Technology. Students of the Master CIW Administrator undertake a five-day security professional module. Prerequisites for the Master CIW are CIW foundations track, CIW server administrator series and CIW Internet working professional series.

"With the increasing focus on Internet-related security," James said, "these courses are in high demand and the skills gained lead to careers as network server administrator, firewall administrators, systems administrators, application developers, and IT security officers."

Com Tech Education Services runs a number of Checkpoint Firewall training courses. According to Steve Ross, manager of education services at Com Tech, these courses are among their most popular.

The most advanced course leads to Checkpoint Certified System Engineer (CCSE) and is targeted at end-users who have sophisticated security requirements for their enterprise networks and engineers managing multiple Firewall-1 systems. Prerequisites are completion of the Certified Checkpoint Systems Administrator (CCSA) course, one year's experience with Firewall-1, a working knowledge of Unix and Windows NT, a working knowledge of client/server configurations, a working knowledge of network ideologies including routers, gateways and servers, and an understanding of TCP/IP and Internet/Intranet concepts.

The CCSE qualification has given Daniel Marin the ticket to travel the world with his job as a consultant for Ireland-based Ward Consulting. Marin was in Australia installing Checkpoint at a site in Sydney recently and told PC World that those "who have the CCSE qualification are highly valued - my remuneration has increased because of the CCSE." Marin's background included a stint as network administrator for Compaq services, which involved troubleshooting and implementing security. courses on offerInterim Technologywww.interimtechnology.com.auCIW Foundations TrackCIW Administrator TrackCIW Internet Working Professional SeriesNetwork Associateswww.pgp.com/services/education/default.aspNetwork Associates has scheduled PGP Gauntlet Administrator and PCG Cybercop Administrator courses for November and December 2000. In addition, the company offers customised courses on demand.

Cisco

www.cisco.com

Too numerous to list

HP Education

www.hp.com.au/hpeducation

Too numerous to list

Meridian Business Information

www.mbi.net.au

Meridian is running Surviving Cyber Attack and Securing e-Business courses in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra during late November and December 2000.

Com Tech Education Services

www.comtech.com.au

Com Tech runs a number of Checkpoint Firewall-1 courses including:

Introduction to Firewall-1 Management

Certified Checkpoint System Administrator (CCSA)Certified Checkpoint System Engineer (CCSE)Global Knowledgewww.globalknowledge.com.auCisco and Nortel Networks security coursesSmartForcewww.smartforce.comInternet Security: overview, cryptology, public key infrastructure, secure communications, secure Web commerce, Internet site security, Firewall principles and multi-tier virus protection.

Other courses are: Windows NT 4.0 sharing and securing network resources, Solaris 2.5.1 system administrator - user setup and security, Novell NetWare 5 administration - NDS security management, Java security, networking and management, IBM AS/400 and OS/390 security, Microsoft Proxy Server 2.0 security, Cisco security solutions, Network Associates antivirus software solutions, and Netscape Enterprise Server 3.0 security.

IBM Learning Management Services

www.ibm.com/services/learning/au

System Administration (Internet Support)

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