The proficiency awards offer a tiered award system - so you don't have to wait until the end of your qualification to have an award.
Once you have completed 6 modules, you can receive an ACS Certificate. Complete 8 (plus 100hrs work experience), and receive an ACS Advanced Certificate. Complete 10 and receive a ACS Proficiency Award 1. Complete 14 (plus 100hrs work experience and receive an ACS Proficiency Award 2. Complete 20 modules (plus 100hrs work experience) and receive an ACS Proficiency Award 3. Complete 24 modules (plus 100hrs Work Experience) and receive an ACS Proficiency Award 4.
Note that each module in the Proficiency Award 2 in Information Technology Management is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.
The Research Project involves some theoretical studies followed by designing, conducting and writing up research on a relevant topic. Selection of the topic, and progress in this project is monitored and guided by a tutor.
Industry Meetings involves attendance at committee meetings, seminars, conferences, exhibitions, trade shows, or any other events that are relevant. The student needs to submit documentary proof of attendance (eg. references, testimonials, receipts etc)
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Protecting Your Data
Data integrity is a term used extensively nowadays in the field of information security, so it is important to understand what the term integrity really means in this context.
Data integrity refers to data being unchanged when it is being created or stored on a disk or while being transmitted. To preserve data integrity, changes to data created, stored or transmitted should only occur when these changes are authorised. Data integrity is violated when stored data undergoes unauthorised changes whether these changes are caused by accident (such as bad disk sectors, hard disk crashes, transmission errors, noise in the transmission, etc.), by human error (from users, administrators, customers, etc.), or malicious intent.
There are many computational techniques used for verifying data integrity, the most common ones used are check sums, comparisons, message authentication, message digests and other mathematical algorithms. Cyclic Redundancy Check (also known as CRC) is one of the most important check sum technique and is used to check for errors on computers’ hard drives.
In order to preserve data integrity in information systems, it is important for any individual or business to understand and apply the protection, detection and correction models explained below.
Any business should be able to establish a set of standards and procedures in order to protect their information systems, and minimise the threats to data integrity. These threats include but are not limited to: human errors, hardware and equipment failure, computer viruses and worms, cybercrime and natural disasters (such as cyclones, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, etc.)
It is also important to be able to detect any risks to data integrity before they start causing havoc and adversely affect the business.
Most businesses understand that data loss is never fully preventable, and regardless of how much they try to avoid it, data loss might still happen at some stage. This is why every business should have business continuity plans in place, and they should be able to implement them as soon as data loss occurs, in order to minimise business downtime. As its name implies, a business continuity plan aims at recovering crucial data and allowing a business to resume its normal operations as quickly as possible, by minimising business downtime and recovering crucial data.
To apply the protection, detection and correction models, individuals and organisations can follow a few primary ways to fully realise data integrity such as redundancy, frequent backups, offsite storage, disaster recovery planning, installing antivirus software, installing hardware and/or software based firewalls, using UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) devices, etc.
A full backup is done when a copy of all the data is stored on the required media device (i.e. tape or disk). There are advantages and disadvantages for this type of backup. The main advantage is that a full backup allows you to store a complete copy of all the data on the system, although this would prove to be time consuming, resource consuming, and requires a lot of disk space for storing the backup copy.
When a person or a business performs full backup copies on their data every couple of days, weeks or months, some part of this data might be unchanged whereas other parts of the data might have changed. Therefore, performing regular backups on data that has not changed is considered as senseless work because the same data will be present on multiple backups. For this reason, a full backup should be used only when a complete disk image backup is required. In other cases, systems administrators should consider other types of backups such as incremental, differential or mirror, or a combination of a few backup options. These will be explained in the sections below.
An incremental backup is a backup type that saves a copy of the files that have been created or modified since the last backup was run. An incremental backup is generally scheduled to run at regular intervals of time, after a full backup is taken of the data. As soon as some files get created or modified, the incremental backup will process those files and take a copy of them. Incremental backups rely on an index file in order to find out which files have been created or modified on the drive or drives being backed up.
A differential backup is somehow similar to an incremental backup but the main difference is that it does not update the index file when each task is executed which means that every task execution will process any modifications to the data since the last full backup.
The main advantage of a differential backup is its speed of data restoration, but on the downside this backup requires more disk space because every differential backup will be of the same size or larger than the previous one.
A mirror backup is very similar to a full back up, but the main difference is that the backup files in a mirror backup cannot get compressed and cannot be password protected. The main purpose of a mirror backup is to create an exact copy of the source data so if the source data is lost, the mirrored backup data can be accessed using tools such as Windows Explorer.
When data is backed up and saved locally using devices such as magnetic tapes, DVD drives, CD drives or other disk drives, the backup method is referred to as “onsite backup”. In order for a backup to be considered an onsite backup, the storage devices will need to be located in the same location as the place where the backup is being taken. With larger organisations, data is backed up using network attached storage (or NAS) drives. NAS drives are hardware devices that have special networking capabilities. Only medium to large businesses were able to afford NAS storage drives in the past, but these devices have since started to drastically drop in price and have since been used by home computer users and businesses alike.
Unlike onsite backup, “offsite backup” refers to a data backup method whereby the data is backed up and stored in a remote location in order to provide an added layer of security for the data, in the event of a disaster.