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  1. Senior Member fullcrowmoon's Avatar
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    #1

    Default Norwich University MSISA Progress

    I have an MSM in Project Management and an MSM in Information Systems Security, but unfortunately the ISS degree is old enough that it's no longer useful for anything except nostalgia. Things change a LOT in seven years when you're talking security. I started out as a UNIX/Linux Systems Administrator for 15 years, moved over to help build a new NOC, had a short stint as a Network Infrastructure Planner, and now I'm in IT Audit focusing on Cybersecurity. I really like Cybersecurity a lot, so I leveraged my experience and earned the CISSP in April 2015. I'll be sitting for the CISM in June 2016, and meanwhile I decided to go back to grad school, because who doesn't like a little torture when they're middle-aged?

    I chose Norwich's MS in Information Security and Assurance online program, and started in September 2015. The setup is three trimesters, each with 2 consecutive seminars worth 6 credits each, so 6 classes for 36 credits and one week residency to finish the degree in 18 months. Each seminar is 11 weeks long, and I just finished the first one which is called Foundations and Historical Underpinnings of Information Assurance. I immediately shortened that to Underpinnings of Info Ass, because deep inside I am a 12-year old boy who thinks girdles and butts are funny. But I digress. There were 9 students total in my cohort, plus the professor, so it was definitely very one-on-one for things. My graduation date is June 2017, so I've got a ways to go.

    They do encourage people applying to the program to already have their CISSP in hand, in order to make it a little easier for them.

    I wasn't sure what to expect when I started, but I found out very quickly - lots of writing and lots of labs. In those 11 weeks I posted to the forums every week (at least four "substantive" posts which means about 500 words and citations), wrote 3 2000-word papers, 2 2000-word memorandum essays, 1 10,000-word final paper and completed 6 labs that I found easy because of my sysadmin experience (I was lucky). The first lab had people modifying files in vi and it apparently did NOT go well for some. I'm a vi girl to the bone so it wasn't an issue for me.

    I start my second core seminar on Monday December 7th. This one is Info Ass Tech, which is obviously all about becoming informed on butt technologies. So far the setup looks much the same as far as deliverables, but it's going to require a lot of networking knowledge. I'm looking forward to it, and I'll keep posting in this thread about how it goes if people are interested.

    For the first 4 core seminars they use the same books:
    Computer Security Handbook 6th Edition edited by Bosworth, Kabay, and Whyne (This is a two volume set, so it's huge and technical and a work of art)
    Information Security Essentials which is apparently out of print and provided to the students via PDF

    Scorecard:
    Foundations & Historical Underpinnings of Info Ass - A
    Info Ass Tech - in progress
    Human Factors & Managing Risk - TBD
    Info Ass Mgmt & Analytics - TBD
    Computer Security Incident Response Team Management - TBD
    Computer Forensic Investigation - TBD
    Last edited by fullcrowmoon; 12-05-2015 at 01:36 AM.
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  3. Member Balantine's Avatar
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    #2
    I read Computer Security Handbook 6th Edition edited by Bosworth, Kabay, and Whyne for fun but thought it was outdated. There were a few good chapters. A lot of NSA people go to Norwich AFAIK, and the program has serious credential. Good for you.
    dulce bellum inexpertis
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  4. Senior Member fullcrowmoon's Avatar
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    #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Balantine View Post
    I read Computer Security Handbook 6th Edition edited by Bosworth, Kabay, and Whyne for fun but thought it was outdated. There were a few good chapters. A lot of NSA people go to Norwich AFAIK, and the program has serious credential. Good for you.
    I agree with some of it being outdated, but the fact is that the security landscape moves so quickly everything gets outdated. After going through it I think it provides a decent foundation to build on, and the rest I'll get from what I encounter at work
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    #4
    Lold at butt technologies.

    Keep us posted, many of us are in the same boat (studying online being middleage) with WGU and would love to compare.
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  6. Senior Member fullcrowmoon's Avatar
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    #5
    My second seminar started last week and it was a little rough. There's a new professor (I think) and he basically posted something on Monday, December 7th, and then proceeded to disappear for over a week. Very not cool. This is the kind of program where you need to be proactive and show initiative, but I like to have some guidance as well. I finally had to email the associate program director and he got things going in the right direction.

    Now I know what my 3 papers will involve as well as the final paper, and I can get started on them early. The jury is still out on this professor, though. My last professor was so very kick ass, so this guy has a very high bar to meet. We'll see!
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    #6
    currently in Info Ass Mgmt & Analytics. So far so good.
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  8. Senior Member fullcrowmoon's Avatar
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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by snakeuptilit View Post
    currently in Info Ass Mgmt & Analytics. So far so good.
    I'm glad you understand the importance of referring to everything as Info Ass.
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  9. Senior Member dmoore44's Avatar
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    #8
    I just finished my first semester in the Carnegie Mellon program, so it's interesting to read other people's accounts of what they're studying, the assignments and such.

    Quote Originally Posted by fullcrowmoon View Post
    The first lab had people modifying files in vi and it apparently did NOT go well for some. I'm a vi girl to the bone so it wasn't an issue for me.
    Oh god. Well, at least you didn't say emacs. As soon as I can get nano on a machine, emacs/vi/vim get left in the dust.
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  10. Senior Member fullcrowmoon's Avatar
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by dmoore44 View Post
    I just finished my first semester in the Carnegie Mellon program, so it's interesting to read other people's accounts of what they're studying, the assignments and such.



    Oh god. Well, at least you didn't say emacs. As soon as I can get nano on a machine, emacs/vi/vim get left in the dust.
    To which I reply, "Pfffft, sir! Pfffft!"
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  11. Senior Member fullcrowmoon's Avatar
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    #10
    It's about time for an update.

    This seminar got off to a rough start due to the professor failing to show up really. This seminars are only 11 weeks long, you write approximately 20k words in papers and exams, and however many more words in the weekly forum discussions, and it's really important to get feedback from the professor so you know you're headed in the right direction.

    Long story short, I got tired of receiving no grades and no commentary on anything I'd turned in, so I got the rest of my cohort together and organized a protest. We sent an email to the Program Director with all of our names on there on a Saturday evening. She responded on Sunday morning, and Sunday night grades began to trickle in. I'm calling it the Mutiny of the U.S.S. Norwich, teehee. (This is after I emailed the Associate Program Director that first week.)

    Now that the professor has decided to show up, things are going well. He grades hard as ****, but his grading is fair and his comments on my first paper were very helpful. Really that's all I'm looking for. I can do the work on my own, just point me in the right direction and tweak what I'm doing when it needs tweaking.

    This course focuses on networks, and the papers are all about encryption and designing a network, etc., etc., and so forth. It's fun!

    Week 5 of the course ends tomorrow. Six more weeks to go!
    Last edited by fullcrowmoon; 01-15-2016 at 05:21 PM.
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  12. Member Rumblr33's Avatar
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    #11
    Fullcrowmoon, how's the progress going? I just applied to Norwich and I am looking to start in March. It's great to read your progress.
    Last edited by Rumblr33; 01-26-2016 at 12:30 AM.
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  13. Senior Member fullcrowmoon's Avatar
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    #12
    I'm in the middle of my second seminar and it's going well. I have two papers, two exams, several labs, and one final paper left to do. If you didn't realize it already, it is a TON of writing. I see you have your Security+ cert and CEH - those will help you with the program. I feel like you really need to have some operations experience behind you in order to do well in this program. Keep in touch with me! I'll be just one trimester ahead of you so we can share notes.
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    #13
    Hi All,

    I just started my MSISA from Norwich in December. Ran across this thread, thought it might be nice to swap advice (and vent ).

    Definitely a lot of writing. I finished up business school earlier this year and was looking forward to not writing papers for a while. Oh well. So far the labs are my favorite part. The conferences are a necessary evil. Really enjoying what we're studying though!
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    #14
    Three weeks from owing that first 10,000-worder. Not looking forward to all that typing...

    Labs are done, I'd say anyone with basic computer experience could follow them fairly well. I really like the hands-on aspect and I think they were just as valuable as the higher-level reading/writing each week. The exams aren't bad. It does seem that much of a CISO's job involves justifying resource allocation as well as providing security guidance, so I think it makes sense to structure them in the memo format.

    Also have scheduled my ISACA CSX exam at the end of the one week gap between classes. Seems to parallel a bunch of Sec+ curriculum, so I've been watching the Sec+ cybrary videos to augment the study material. I'll definitely take advantage of the CISSP class Norwich offers next year, but for now I think I'll stick to the basics.
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    #15
    I looked into this program at one point (switching directions and going towards Computer Science now) and Norwich has a wonderful reputation but I must say I don't envy all of that writing!
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  17. Senior Member fullcrowmoon's Avatar
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    #16
    Get started on it now. Get the formatting in place, and figure out your topics. (You probably already know since you've had to turn in an outline for it, right?) Then work on it a bit each day. Write one section, or half a section, or for 15 minutes, or something. I have to force myself to do it this way because otherwise I end up waiting 'til three days before it's due and find myself in a writing frenzy of stress and angst, the well-known WFSA.

    The professor for this second seminar continues to be a non-participatative annoying person, but it's ok. The Norwich people have been very responsive to the cohort's issues with him and I'm already looking forward to my third class once this is done. Almost 1/3 finished, whoo!
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    #17
    Quote Originally Posted by fullcrowmoon View Post
    Get started on it now. Get the formatting in place, and figure out your topics. (You probably already know since you've had to turn in an outline for it, right?) Then work on it a bit each day. Write one section, or half a section, or for 15 minutes, or something. I have to force myself to do it this way because otherwise I end up waiting 'til three days before it's due and find myself in a writing frenzy of stress and angst, the well-known WFSA.

    The professor for this second seminar continues to be a non-participatative annoying person, but it's ok. The Norwich people have been very responsive to the cohort's issues with him and I'm already looking forward to my third class once this is done. Almost 1/3 finished, whoo!
    I'm one of those procrastinators who does his best work in a state of last-minute panic, unfortunately. I actually scored better on the exam and paper 2, when I reached a point where I just said "hell with it, good enough!" and submitted, rather than paper 1 which I started early and stressed over.

    We have done the outlines. This prof is very responsive to those. I'll survive... but I accept that I'm going to be in quite a grumpy mood for the last week of this seminar!
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    #18
    Quote Originally Posted by zxbane View Post
    I looked into this program at one point (switching directions and going towards Computer Science now) and Norwich has a wonderful reputation but I must say I don't envy all of that writing!
    So does ODU, at least it seemed well represented in the officer ranks when I was in the USN. Good luck to you!

    As for the writing, I've sent screenshots of the assignments to my business school classmates so they can laugh at my pain...
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  20. Senior Member fullcrowmoon's Avatar
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    #19
    That's a great idea!
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  21. Member Rumblr33's Avatar
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    #20
    I am currently doing my Industry Case Study proposal. Really interested to see how this turns out once the final product is complete. My industry is Retail, and we know about the recent years the Retail industry has had. I look forward to writing this proposal. Did the people that are currently enrolled chose the Industry or Organization case study?
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  22. Senior Member fullcrowmoon's Avatar
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    #21
    I've worked ahead on my assignments because of life getting a bit crazy. At this point everything that's due is turned in except for my final paper, which is due Saturday February 27th. I think I'm going to make my A in this class, but the professor certainly hasn't made it easy. I think when it's all over with I might go to ratemyprofessor.com and leave some comments. :P

    Despite this seminar being so difficult due to the lame professor, I've learned a lot and really gotten close to my cohort, which makes for good feedback on stuff when there's questions. I'm still really happy with the program.

    This class on 02/27 and the next one starts on 03/07, so I'll have a small break before back to the writing.
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  23. Senior Member fullcrowmoon's Avatar
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    #22
    Ugh, why can't I edit my original post? So annoying.

    Scorecard:
    09/07/2015 - 11/22/2015: Foundations & Historical Underpinnings of Info Ass - A
    12/07/2015 - 02/28/2016: Info Ass Tech - in progress
    03/07/2016 - 05/22/2016: Human Factors & Managing Risk - TBD
    06/06/2016 - 08/21/2016: Info Ass Mgmt & Analytics - TBD
    09/05/2016 - 11/20/2016: Computer Security Incident Response Team Management - TBD
    12/05/2016 - 02/26/2017: Computer Forensic Investigation - TBD
    June 2017: One week residency
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    #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Rumblr33 View Post
    I am currently doing my Industry Case Study proposal. Really interested to see how this turns out once the final product is complete. My industry is Retail, and we know about the recent years the Retail industry has had. I look forward to writing this proposal. Did the people that are currently enrolled chose the Industry or Organization case study?
    I did the organization, because I work at a company with excellent resources for information. I'm a neophyte so I'm learning as much (or more) from interviewing coworkers for the assignments as I am from class.

    I'd go industry if I didn't have the same level of resources at my job, since you'll be doing a lot more external stuff anyway in that case. The prompts for each paper are tailored to the direction you chose.
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    #24
    Quote Originally Posted by fullcrowmoon View Post
    Ugh, why can't I edit my original post? So annoying.

    Scorecard:
    09/07/2015 - 11/22/2015: Foundations & Historical Underpinnings of Info Ass - A
    12/07/2015 - 02/28/2016: Info Ass Tech - in progress
    03/07/2016 - 05/22/2016: Human Factors & Managing Risk - TBD
    06/06/2016 - 08/21/2016: Info Ass Mgmt & Analytics - TBD
    09/05/2016 - 11/20/2016: Computer Security Incident Response Team Management - TBD
    12/05/2016 - 02/26/2017: Computer Forensic Investigation - TBD
    June 2017: One week residency
    Can't wait to hear about the human factors class. Really looking forward to that one, because.... people.
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  26. Senior Member fullcrowmoon's Avatar
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    #25
    Quote Originally Posted by FSF150 View Post
    Can't wait to hear about the human factors class. Really looking forward to that one, because.... people.
    Secure the human! With DUCT TAPE!
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