Pioneering Digital Forensics Degree

Most business schools offer degrees in business and accounting. This fall, the School of Business will offer another option: Digital Forensics. It’s not a concentration, like those currently offered in entrepreneurship, information technology management, marketing, management and the Financial Analyst Honors Program. It is a full degree granting program. The multidisciplinary four-year B.S. in digital forensics is almost one of a kind – it is one of a handful in the entire country and the only one in the SUNY system.

The digital forensics degree opens a new chapter in School of Business history. The evolving complexity of information systems requires a high level of training to meet the information forensics and security demands for organizations in all sectors of the economy, including health care, government, financial services, and private industry.

Information Technology Chair Sanjay Goel, creator and director of the new major said, “In my work with consulting agencies, the federal government, and international bodies such as the UN and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, it became very clear that digital forensics is a hot growth market. The National Academy of Sciences has pointed out the work force shortage in information security and has encouraged development programs like ours, as well as liberal government funding to support digital forensics education and research.”

Program graduates have many options. They might investigate criminal cases involving hacking, child pornography, securities and financial fraud, identity theft, and terrorism, audit for regulatory compliance, perform data discovery to support complex litigation like industrial espionage, examine information security breaches, explore accounting and tax fraud, work with the Securities and Exchange Commission on insider trading issues, or develop tools and techniques for forensic analysis.

Dr. Goel said, “We have already started working with leading consulting and accounting firms who have double-digit growth in the area of digital forensics. We are creating pipelines for internships and jobs, and are quite confident of having near 100% placement of our students based on our discussions with consulting firms and evaluation of government reports.”

The School of Business has what it takes to make this program soar. The new building provides a state-of-the art forensics laboratory. The school’s extensive network allows for collaboration with leading forensics firms, hands-on experiential learning with top New York City consulting firms and abundant internship opportunities. Six new faculty will be devoted solely to the program.

Collaboration with community colleges will allow 25 students to transfer to the major annually. An additional 25 will start the program as freshmen. This highly competitive program engages faculty from several departments including information technology management, accounting, and criminal justice.

The Digital Forensics degree builds on the school’s strength in information security. According to Goel, “We have received over $5 million from state and federal government and private foundations for security research. We have been awarded a federal grant to create innovative models of distance education for our security and forensics program, and are now in the process of raising money for digital forensics and are writing grants for over $3 million.”