If you’re reading this, you’re likely already familiar with cloud computing: a technology that delivers various on-demand computing services to users over the Internet. These services include applications, databases, servers, networking, and more—all available on a rental or “pay as you go” basis.
Cloud forensics refers to the use of forensic techniques to investigate cloud environments. When unlawful or criminal behavior has occurred using the cloud as a medium, cloud forensics experts use their skills and knowledge to detect the individuals or groups responsible. Cloud forensics encompasses users of the cloud, both victims and perpetrators. For example, a company using cloud servers might be the victim of a data breach or denial of the service incident. Criminals themselves might also use the cloud to launch an attack.
As with other subfields of forensics, cloud forensic investigators must follow strict regulations to ensure their work is admissible in a court of law. This may involve obtaining court orders to search a cloud server, ensuring evidence has not been tampered with, and other necessary precautions.
Cloud forensics jobs are usually listed under titles such as “forensic computer analyst,” “IT security analyst,” and “cyber investigator.” According to PayScale, the median U.S. salary for these jobs ranges from roughly $60,000 to $100,000. These individuals may be employed by governments, law enforcement agencies, and large companies such as banks and healthcare organizations that are common cybercrime targets. They may work in-house or provide their services as external contractors.
There’s no universally agreed upon background necessary for cloud analytics jobs, and each organization will have its own criteria. Most employers look for candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree, although not necessarily in computer science or information technology. Going through cloud forensics training (such as a certification program) is usually essential, but some people can bypass this requirement with enough experience.