The Importance of Criminal Justice Information System Certification

Criminal justice information systems are the backbone of local, state, and federal law enforcement—these high-tech hubs house centralized criminal history records and fingerprint databases.

Government entities that use CJIS information must meet stringent data security standards. These encompass everything from facility security to system and communications protection.


criminal justice information system certification is essential for anyone working with law enforcement, security, and the government. These professionals are often tasked with protecting sensitive information from cybercriminals who may want to hold government institutions hostage for ransom or cause societal damage. To help ensure their protection, these professionals must have access to the latest and most relevant information.

CJIS is responsible for providing law enforcement agencies with a centralized source of crime-related information. These agencies must protect this information and follow strict standards and requirements when handling it.

To meet the CJIS Security Policy, organizations must adhere to 4 primary policy areas:

Personnel Security – This policy area focuses on the need for background checks and robust authentication mechanisms. It outlines the significance of limiting access to CJI following need-to-know criteria and job function. Access controls include password policies, two-factor authentication, and session timeouts. This policy also outlines the need for training and awareness programs to inform personnel about security best practices.

The CJIS Security Policy also outlines the need for physical security measures to protect the data centers where information is stored. These include physical security systems, such as video surveillance and access control systems, and the need to monitor and review access logs for suspicious activity.

Certification Requirements

The criminal justice system is a complex field that encompasses many disciplines. For this reason, many programs offer specializations and concentrations that focus on a specific field, context, or skill set. Concentrations are often available at the certificate, associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree levels, and they can help students achieve their desired career or academic goals.

For example, the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division, or CJIS, provides law enforcement agencies with centralized access to criminal justice data. The National Crime Information Center, the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System, and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System provide this data. Agencies using this information must adhere to strict security standards.

These standards include authentication requirements. Specifically, the policy mandates that agencies implement multi-factor authentication to ensure that only authorized personnel can obtain the data.

Additionally, the policy establishes requirements for facilities where CJI is stored. It also protects network security and communications, including encryption, firewalls, malware detection systems, and secure remote access. Organizations must also have an incident response plan to address unauthorized data breaches and other threats quickly.

Keeping up with these strict cybersecurity standards is challenging for even the most experienced law enforcement professionals. However, technology solutions can make the process easier. A comprehensive data security platform can monitor all activities related to CJI, including file and folder access, privileged mailbox access, permission changes, login attempts, unauthorized password modifications, and more.

Certification Exams

A criminal justice certificate can help you advance your career in the field without requiring a 4-year degree. These programs often take just a few semesters to complete and include foundational criminal justice courses necessary for many law enforcement positions. You can also find certificates that focus on specific subjects in the field, such as a police academy certification or emergency dispatcher training.

Online criminal justice certificates are available from various schools and professional organizations rather than universities.

Other certificates, such as police anthropology and criminal justice systems, may concentrate on certain parts of the field. In addition, you can earn a certification in computer forensics or cybersecurity by passing an exam. This can be a valuable qualification for professionals in these fields who want to stand out from other candidates and demonstrate their expertise to employers.


CJIS is a high-tech hub that provides criminal justice information services for federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. It also serves as a communications network and is responsible for coordinating the sharing of criminal records and other data between agencies at all levels of government. However, the organization faces severe threats from cybercriminals who seek to exploit criminal justice information for ransom or to cause societal damage.

CJIS has several security policies to mitigate these risks to protect the information it handles. These include access control, physical security, and auditing and reporting. The security policy defines the appropriate level of security clearance for personnel, establishes authentication mechanisms, and requires regular review of logs to detect unauthorized activity. The policy also specifies how data should be encrypted at rest and in transit.

In addition, the policy stipulates that all individuals with access to the system must receive at least four hours of training annually. This training teaches personnel how to identify and respond to insider threats. It is also mandated that all breaches and significant incidents be reported to the FBI.

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