Computer forensics consulting is an emerging and fast-growing field in which consulting services are offered to governmental agencies, military, corporations, small companies, and businesses. Computer forensic specialists offer their services in an independent capacity. This means that they are not on the regular staff of any agency or institution.
Computer forensic specialists can be hired as consultants or freelancers for regular work in small businesses and institutions that can not appoint regular computer forensic experts. They may even be retained for a particular assignment for unusual data recovery situations.
These consultants are paid by the hour for the work they do and the services they render, which usually are the same as an in-house computer forensic specialist does. They are responsible as regular computer forensic experts for retrieving and evaluating data encrypted or stored on digital media.
The consultant has variety in discharging his functions, as he works on a case-to-case basis. Each case may differ from the other, for which the specialist will have to infuse all the skills and applications to ferret out the information and data. The computer forensics consultant will also have to go through the same processes of filing the data before a court of law. He should have adequate knowledge of the legal processes.
Computer forensic investigators often starting their careers in law enforcement agencies or computer security. They learn the techniques on-the-job or through training and certification. Later, they establish themselves in offering consulting services.
As computer forensics investigators have become much thought-after, educational achievements in the field are becoming desirable, for which associate degree, bachelor's degree, or master's degree courses are available.
The computer forensic consultants have to prove their qualifications. Certificates are available with a large number of organizations. However, the two most common certifications are the Certificate Information Systems (CISS) and the Certified Computer Examiner (CCE). These are voluntary credentials, which should be provided to the agencies or firms that retain consultants.
There are professional certificate programs, which are a common method of learning education in computer forensics. Certificate programs are short-courses of study requiring less than ten courses.
With increasing cases of computer fraud, computer forensics consulting is becoming a lucrative assignment.