Creation of Dynamic Environments for Virtualised and Cloud-based Teaching in Digital Forensics and Computer Security

Buchanan, W. (2011, Sept). Creation of Dynamic Environments for Virtualised and Cloud-based Teaching in Digital Forensics and Computer Security. Paper presented at CFET, Canterbury.



The use of virtualised and cloud-based environments provides an excellent opportunity to enhance learning and to provide students with skills which match exactly to the requirements of industry, along with integrating with professional certification. This presentation shows two examples, in computer security and digital forensics, where students can learn on enhanced infrastructure which would not have been possible before the extensive development of virtualised and cloud-based infrastructures. This has been applied in both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, along with teaching of advanced methods digital forensics and security to law enforcement professionals.
It shows how a range of virtualised environments, including using Amazon Web Services, a university-built cloud, and from a UK-based cloud provider have been used to provide exposure to a wide range of environments which are pre-build, or which are built-up throughout the module, and thus supports the students within a safe environment in which they can learn without any danger, and where errors can be easily undone. The environments can thus be created to use industry-standard tools and infrastructure, and these can be joined together to create collaborative work, along with the continuation of work after the practical lab work has been done.

The presentation shows the results from surveys of students on the module, and their perceptions of working within virtualised environments, and highlights that one of the key factors is that they can work in real-life and complete environments, and on a range of systems, which are well matched to the needs of industry. The presentation also shows how virtualisation has been used to support both blended and distance learning students using the same labs which are accessed within a face-to-face practical session, but done through a virtualised environment, all through a Web browser.

Finally, the presentation will present a new community cloud which allows students to work within a virtualised infrastructure (hosted by a UK company), and which industry and the public sector are able to contribute to in order to share training material and create relevant infrastructures for students.
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William Buchanan
Director of CDCS
+44 131 455 2759

Areas of Expertise

Electronic information now plays a vital role in almost every aspect of our daily lives. So the need for a secure and trustworthy online infrastructure is more important than ever. without it, not only the growth of the internet but our personal interactions and the economy itself could be at risk.

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