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The growing need for digital forensic investigators

The statistics about increased cybercrime are everywhere you turn.

According to the FBI’s 2021 Internet Crime Report, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center saw a record 847,376 complaints in 2021, representing a 7% increase from the prior year. Perhaps more disturbing is the cybercrimes committed against the most vulnerable in society – our children. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children saw a 97.5% increase in online enticement (another type of cybercrime) claims from 2019 to 2020.

It doesn’t matter whether I’m talking to law enforcement or corporate investigations customers, they all tell me the same thing. They simply can’t keep up with the bad actors using computers, networks, web applications, smartphones and other digital devices to commit a crime. 

Given the average home now has more than eleven digital devices, more than 50% of the world’s population owns a computer, more than 90% own a mobile phone and more than four billion people use social media, it is not surprising that more than 90% of crimes committed now include a digital element. Digital forensics is a critical part of every investigation. 

Digital life, digital crime and the rise of digital forensic investigators

I had to assume with the number of devices and the amount of data on those devices exploding and the alarming increases in digital crimes, there must be a demand for forensic investigators. Indeed! According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the digital forensic science job market will grow by 16% between 2020 and 2030—twice the average for all occupations. And since these positions require in-depth technical expertise, not just anyone becomes a digital forensic investigator. Education programs that support the needs of this growing job market are essential.

Many educational institutions offer programs in cybersecurity or digital forensics, and some even offer master’s degrees. These programs teach students what they need to know to become a digital forensic investigator. These skills include understanding computer hardware and software, networking systems and mobile devices, understanding how to restore deleted data, analyze recovered data, perform examinations, assemble the data gained to reconstruct what happened and report results to relevant parties. Digital forensic examiners must understand the proper way to manage evidence, understand the law in order to ensure a successful resolution of their investigations, and understand what is necessary to testify in court on the findings of their investigation. They also have to learn about the tools available to them in their chosen profession. 

Law enforcement, government agencies and corporations need students to come out of these programs ready to hit the ground running. That puts a lot of pressure on the professors and educational institutions to find the time and resources needed develop course material and find the content needed to turn out “field ready” investigators into the job market.  

Help students become field-ready investigators after graduation with the OpenText Forensics Academic Program

This is where programs like the OpenText TM Forensics Academic program come in, providing qualified educational institutions with the ability to create and deliver digital investigation courses. The course content included in the program helps students develop the skills needed to work as a digital forensic practitioner and provides access to market-leading digital investigation solutions and methodologies.  

The OpenText Forensics Academic program, designed and developed by a former FBI CART Program Manager with over 20 years of real-world digital forensic investigative expertise, includes three levels, each providing specific benefits and support for the needs of individual educational institutions. Each program level includes instructor support for semester-based programs, from recommended high-level course outlines to full course content. In addition to providing access to EnCase and Tableau Forensic digital forensic investigation tools, the program delivers the opportunity for professors and students to engage in the OpenText industry-leading training program. The program also includes guest lecture options from industry practitioners. Benefits of the OpenText Forensics Academic program include: 

  • Saving valuable academic resources:  developing a digital forensics curriculum with access to forensic tools can be timely and expensive. The OpenText Forensics Academic Program frees up resources. 
  • Developing practical skills: students develop a technical aptitude, analytical talents, comprehension of cybersecurity, knowledge of criminal law, investigations and more. 
  • Using market-leading investigation tools: students gain the knowledge needed to pursue a career in digital forensics by getting firsthand experience with the industry’s leading tools. 
  • Learning industry workflows: understanding the typical workflows, timelines and processes used in modern-day digital investigations will help students prepare for a career in digital forensics. 

Working to make the world a safer place by finding truth in data

Law enforcement, government agencies and corporations around the world depend on OpenText digital forensic solutions to get to the truth faster and more reliably. With a 20+ year history in digital forensics, and a team with more than 100 years of collective digital forensic investigation experience, we understand what is needed to find digital evidence, no matter where it hides. Educational institutions that turn to the OpenText Forensics Academic Program can rest assured that they will provide desperately needed, top-notch digital forensic investigators while minimizing the impact to their own limited resources.

Learn more about the OpenText Forensics Academic Program. At OpenText, we are working to make the world a safer, more secure place by finding the truth in data.

Peri Storey

Peri Storey is the Senior Product Marketing Manager for OpenText Digital Forensic solutions. Having spent her marketing career in the technology sector, Peri has focused on delivering brand recognition, go-to-market plans and lead-generation programs on a global scale. With a voice-of-the-customer approach, Peri is focused on solving the challenges associated with explosive data growth in a digital world.

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