Commerce signs up for security training

The Commerce Department has awarded a task order to the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, or (ISC)2, to provide an expanded information security education program for the department’s information security employees.

The consortium will provide on-site, classroom-based courses for its Certified Information Systems Security Professional, Systems Security Certified Professional, and Certification and Accreditation Professional credentials. Commerce will provide vouchers valid for one year that its employees may use in (ISC)2 classes.

Nancy DeFrancesco, the chief information security officer for Commerce, said that she hopes this education and training program will develop into a center of excellence within the security line of business established by the Office of Management and Budget.

For the past two years, IT security professionals in the department had been using the Office of Personnel Management’s online learning center. But DeFrancesco said she wanted a broader course offering than that run by OPM, and she wanted to give employees different ways to access materials.

“Our component [agencies] were interested in instructor-led training, and, of course, people learn in different ways,” she said. “We also have a need, with Commerce personnel worldwide, [for a] delivery capability that reaches around the world. … We just saw this as another outlet that provided more diverse, well-rounded service.”

While courses initially will be classroom-based, DeFrancesco said, the plan is to make them available at the Commerce headquarters in Washington, for the vouchers to be used by employees around the country at (ISC)2 venues, and to include Web-based classes.

Classes will begin this month. The first course, for 25 students, is going to be for CISSP, with the others rolled out over a year. DeFrancesco said she is already fielding calls from security personnel asking to enroll.

As for expanding the program into a center of excellence, DeFrancesco said she had served on the task force for the information security LOB and became quite familiar with that initiative.

“The secretary of Commerce has imparted the importance of striving for excellence,” she said. “We are, by [the Federal Information Security Management Act], directed to establish a training program, and if so, why not one that sets us out as a center of excellence for other agencies?”

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