Non-profit certification body (ISC) is preparing to launch what it believes is the world's first qualification designed to assess the skill set of experienced digital forensics professionals.

The Certified Cyber Forensics Professional (CCFP) will be launched in 25 September in the US and South Korea and in other countries, possibly including the UK, at a later time.

It aims to create a degree of standardisation across multiple disciplines and countries, defining the legal, ethical and technical demands of the profession into a single qualification that will help employers, the organisation said.

The subject matter and exam was deliberately international, with input from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, India, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, the UK and US.

"Digital forensics professionals are becoming more and more essential to the security posture of any organisation," said (ISC)'s executive director, W. Hord Tipton. "The CCFP is a comprehensive, expert-level programme that fills a significant void in the digital forensics certification market by validating the depth of senior-level professionals' experience and expertise."

A decade ago such skills were a fringe interest wielded by a relatively small number of specialists that had developed their skills on the job, usually working for police forces.

The huge ramp in cybercrime and the need to handle digital evidence has taken the field into the mainstream where is now heavy demand without employers having a single standard by which to judge applicants.

Establishing a global standard of competence was now essential given that crimes were increasingly being investigated across multiple jurisdictions.

"It is vital that sound and commonly understood principles in the field be established, that these encompass the entire forensic process, right from discovering and handling evidence to keeping records in a manner that meets the needs of business, law enforcement and legal communities, and that these principles can be understood across borders," added (ISC)2 EMEA managing director, John Colley.

"The forensics professional must also be cognizant of laws and rules for evidence handling," he said.

Applicants for CCFP the must hold a four-year Baccalaureate degree (or equivalent) and have three years or more of full time digital forensics or IT security experience in half of the six defined skill areas (legal and ethical, investigations, forensics, digital forensics, app forensics, and hybrid and emerging technologies). Those not holding a Baccalaureate must have six years full time experience.

Read the (ISC)2 Infosecurity Voice blog on Computerworld UK.