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Certified, With Honors


I graduated from a little-known institute of higher learning named the University of Minnesota-Morris (UMM), with an English major. I majored in English, in part, because Im terrible at almost all things mathematical.

As universities go, UMM basically certified me for some of the less-glamorous journalism jobs-beat reporting for local newspapers, editing said local newspapers and working as executive editor for a certain IBM* iSeries* magazine. Armed with a UMM degree, I wasn't going to go out and land a position as a investigative reporter for The New York Times, in other words.

Had I graduated from the Columbia School of Journalism or, just as unlikely, Yale or Harvard, I no doubt would've had considerably more credibility and opportunities.

Just as graduating from more-distinguished and respected universities can certify graduates to attain more and better-paying employment opportunities, respected certifications can help qualify products to be taken more seriously than others in the IT marketplace.

Common Criteria

Although theres no shortage of IT certification standards, one of the most internationally recognized security standards is "Common Criteria."

Common Criteria came about after a melding of sorts between three international security standards intended to evaluate IT security: the ITSEC standard, utilized by several European countries, as well as Australia; the CTCPEC Canadian standard; and the CTCPEC American standard.

Simply stated, Common Criteria is an internationally recognized security-evaluation process used to verify that hardware and software products contain a set of security features. The Evaluation Assurance Level (EAL) associated with a Common Criteria certificate indicates how much verification was done during the evaluation process. 


Evelyn Hoover is the content director of IBM Systems magazine. She can be reached at



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