Paperback: 528 pages
Publisher: Cisco Press (June 2010)
ISBN – 10: 1-58705-352-7
ISBN – 13: 978-1-58705-352-8
List Price: $70.00; Amazon: $51.49
Reviewed by Jeff Owen, Independent IT Consultant
Security is on everybody’s mind these days; or at least it should be. High-profile security breaches make every CEO cringe and the public nervous. This newfound awareness has given rise to a slew of professional certifications, laws, and organizations that offer security services. What’s in your network worth stealing is the operative mindset of crooks and security professional alike.
The need for securing IT networks is nothing new. In fact it has been around for years and is probably practiced to some extent by your organization. This book explains in detail how you can constantly improve your security via auditing. Having been in the IT field for a number of years, I can attest that few IT professionals feel comfortable about being audited. That’s the wrong attitude. An audit, done correctly, is nothing more than a learning opportunity. As the author states, “ The ultimate benefit of auditing is to continuously improve the processes, procedures, and controls put in place to secure valuable corporate assets.”
This is a well laid out book that will be useful to not only learn about various issues and implementation strategies for conducting a network security audit, but also as an ongoing reference. Divided into two major parts and 12 chapters, the first 4 chapters provide an overview of auditing by covering; “Principles of Auditing”, “Security and the Law’, “Security, Governance, Frameworks, and Standards”, and “Auditing Tools and Techniques” respectively. This background is helpful in understanding the need for, and value of, an audit. The second part covers the major Cisco security technologies that enable auditors to examine network security as a set of integrated components. Chapter 5 begins with “Security Domains”; a method of assessing network security. Chapter 6, “Policy and Compliance”, continues as the first domain to be considered in an audit. Chapter 7, “Infrastructure Security”, explains routers, switches, and wireless device security configurations. Chapter 8, “Perimeter Intrusion Prevention”, focuses on firewalls and intrusion prevention systems. Chapter 9, “Access Control”, discusses identity based security solutions. Chapter 10, “Remote Access”, covers assessing VPN technologies. Chapter 11, “Endpoint Protection”, presents methods for assessing threats to users and their network devices. Chapter 12, “Unified Communications”, discusses the auditing of UC policies, procedures, and security controls.
Written as a primer, this book assumes the reader is new to network auditing, in general, and Cisco networks, in particular. The author thoroughly covers the 5 pillars of security auditing, namely; assessment, prevention, detection, reaction, and recovery. Useful for anyone wanting to build and maintain a program to measure the security effectiveness of their networks (especially Cisco networks), the book contains several checklists, an introduction to various IT governance frameworks (e.g. COBIT, ITIL and ISO 17799/27001) and references to several federal and state statutes governing IT security.
Jeff Owen is an independent consultant with 30+ years experience in telecommunications/networking and IT. He has worked in engineering, project management, and management positions for major corporations in the telecommunications, finance, aerospace, and IT consultancy industries. As an industry analyst for Datapro and Gartner, Owen authored numerous analytical reports published for international consumption. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org