Thursday, June 03, 2010

Interview with Sam Raincock, Sam Raincock Consultancy

Forensic Focus: Sam, can you tell us something about your background and how you became involved in computer forensics?

Sam Raincock
Sam Raincock

Sam Raincock: Prior to university, I’d never considered computing as a potential career; in fact, I hadn’t really used computers apart from playing games. I decided I wanted to be a physicist and solve the world’s particle physics problems. After embarking on a physics degree, I became more interested in computers (even though they were running 3.1 and Solaris!) I made the radical decision to change my degree course to a BSc in computer science even though I was a complete novice in the area. However, I learnt very quickly and really enjoyed the challenges and problem solving. I was also lucky to work in two summer internships in IT departments at Morgan Stanley during my degree, so I at least had an appreciation of bigger businesses.

After my undergraduate degree, I embarked on research into the human factors involved in 3D imagery on 3D display systems – again a completely different area from my previous computing experience. However, I liked the mathematical challenges and the combination with human vision psychology. At the same time I was also working in contracting in web development and providing tutorials in all different types of computer science for undergraduates. I really enjoyed the teaching but I found being a programmer quite monotonous – it was a great insight into proving that a full time role in computer programming was not for me.

The research time and ability to develop a questioning mind is invaluable in my career today but after a few years of academic research I was really looking for a business driven challenge. An opportunity with Keith Borer Consultants, a forensic science company based in Durham, was presented to me and I started working as a mobile telephone/cell site examiner. There was lot of flexibility and encouragement and I was able to perform research and development into whichever digital fields I wished to explore - so I opted for them all!

Forensic Focus: What services does Sam Raincock Consultancy offer? What is a typical working week like?

Sam Raincock: The business is primarily concerned with providing a combination of computer investigation/expert witness services and IT security assessment services to corporates and solicitors alike. I love solving complex problems so I particularly enjoy computer forensic cases involving technically complex scenarios/problems or software system assessments (how does software A produce B logs and what do C logs actually mean).

In the telecommunications field, SRC can offer a full range of services but primarily concentrates on taking expert instructions in complex connection record and cell site analysis cases and providing advice to other companies in these types of cases.

My current passion is working in the breadth of the IT security fields with particular interest in ISMSs, the effective use of encryption, procedures for forensic labs, corporate investigations, process improvement post incident and the ISO 27001 standard. Very recently, I was accepted to work as an assessor with A2LA regarding digital and telecommunications lab assessments. I am very excited to be a part of the American new forensic lab standards.

I also provide training in all of the above and in my ‘spare’ time I write papers and perform research. I am also studying for the CISSP and ISO 27001 lead auditor certs.

Currently, a typical week is very long – around 80 hours if not more. Working in so many fields is quite a challenge but there is also the business element too – I have become my own accountant, marketing manager, IT Manager etc. However, I love the all round skills it is providing me with and how it enables me to work with a diverse range of partners, bodies and clients...


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