News & Notes for IT Professionals

CoBiT Revision Released
The IT Governance Institute (ITGI) recently released CoBiT 4.1, an update to the CoBiT (control objectives for information and related technology) IT governance framework. CoBiT prescribes a set of practices intended to allow organizations to reduce IT-related risks and see increased value from their IT usage.

The last time CoBiT was updated was late 2005 with version 4.0.

“With version 4.0, we moved CoBiT to an IT governance framework, and one of the big changes in version 4.0 was the linkage between business goals and IT goals and processes to help organizations map the metrics that they’re pulling out of IT to their business objectives,” said Robert Stroud, IT governance evangelist for CA (formerly Computer Associates). “In 4.1, we covered what is formally known as an audit framework. One of the big changes in 4.1 was releasing of our assurance guide. That’s one of the primary elements in it.”

Stroud also is a member of the board of trustees of ISACA, which established ITGI.

The assurance guide provides guidance on how CoBiT can be used to support assurance activities such as planning for and assessing risks and how an assurance review can be performed for each of CoBiT’s 34 processes.

Stroud said Sarbanes-Oxley has helped push global adoption of CoBiT and that the continual emergence of a variety of other regulatory or quality-assurance programs assists with this, as well.

“People are looking to have this overarching single framework they can use to pull all these lower-level frameworks and standards up to a managing-reporting layer and develop balanced score cards for the appropriate person who’s viewing them based on business objectives and priorities,” Stroud said.

Convergence Certification Introduced
As technology continues to synchronize, IT job roles are converging along with it, with data- and voice-based competence dovetailing in the same directions.

According to the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), the industry has articulated a need for IT professionals who bridge the gap between different communications technologies. CompTIA has responded with its new Convergence+ certification.

The certification is designed to help IT and communications professionals expand their skills beyond data-only or voice-only capabilities. The credential validates knowledge and skills in areas of communications technologies in which data, voice, video and broadcast multimedia technologies are combined in a single IP-based delivery system.

CompTIA recommends this certification to individuals with 18 to 24 months of experience in data networking, voice networking or a combination of the two.

Steven Ostrowski, CompTIA director of corporate communications, said this certification keeps pace with the movement of all communication toward one conduit.

“The trend seems to be that everything is eventually going to be carried over your IP network,” Ostrowski said. When CompTIA began developing Convergence+, it discovered somewhat of a skill shortage in this area.

“What we found, when we started developing the certification two years ago, is that there were a number of people who knew how to hook a data network together, link the PCs to the servers and connect them all in a LAN or a WAN or a wireless plan or whatever it happened to be, but when they were asked to do the voice element and put that on top of the data, they didn’t have the experience to deal with telephony and voice issues,” Ostrowski said. “On the other hand, there were a lot of telephony people out there who could hook up phone networks but were stumped when it came time to doing the voice-over IP and putting the voice over the same data network.

“So, that’s where the skills are converging. You have to have your feet in both camps. You have to have ability to do both the data network and add the voice element on top.”

Convergence+ aims to create more IT professionals with such a blended skill set and not a moment too soon — according to global connectivity research firm Yankee Group, the voice-over Internet protocol (VoIP) market for small- and medium-sized businesses is expected to reach more than $1 billion by 2009.

–Daniel Margolis, dmargolis@certmag.com

Program updates

Cisco is in the process of updating its Cisco Certified Security Professional (CCSP) certification. New courseware was made available for Cisco learning partners in May. The updated Securing Networks with Cisco Routers and Switches (SNRS) exam is already available, and the previous version was retired June 20. The updated Securing Networks with PIX and ASA (SNPA) exam was made available June 1, with the previous version retiring Oct. 13. The updated Implementing Cisco Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) exam will be available Sept. 4, with the previous version retiring Jan. 16, 2008.

Adobe Systems is developing a line of certifications for its software. Called Adobe Certified Associate, the suite of exams will help validate a test candidate’s ability to create, manage, integrate and communicate information using Adobe’s multimedia, video, graphic and Web software. The certifications are intended for individuals at high school, college and workforce-entry levels. The first certifications are for Adobe programs Flash and Dreamweaver, launched at this year’s National Educational Computing Conference in late June.

Certification for Photoshop will follow later in the year, and as additional Adobe applications roll out, they will see corresponding certifications, as well.

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Daniel Margolis

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel Margolis is a longtime professional writer and editor. Daniel was managing editor of Certification Magazine from 2006 to 2012.

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