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REVIEW: "CISSP Training Guide", Roberta Bragg

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  • Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Ha
    BKCISPTG.RVW 20030127 CISSP Training Guide , Roberta Bragg, 2003, 0-7897-2801-X, U$69.99/C$108.99/UK#50.99 %A Roberta Bragg Roberta.Bragg@mcpmag.com %C
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 11, 2003
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      BKCISPTG.RVW 20030127

      "CISSP Training Guide", Roberta Bragg, 2003, 0-7897-2801-X,
      %A Roberta Bragg Roberta.Bragg@...
      %C 201 W. 103rd Street, Indianapolis, IN 46290
      %D 2003
      %G 0-7897-2801-X
      %I Macmillan Computer Publishing (MCP)
      %O U$69.99/C$108.99/UK#50.99 800-858-7674 info@...
      %O http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/078972801X/robsladesinterne
      %O http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/078972801X/robsladesinterne
      %P 727 p. + CD-ROM
      %T "CISSP Training Guide"

      The introduction and frontmatter appear to be much more concerned with
      the structure of the book (and this particular series of books) than
      the CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) exam.
      The initial list of topics covered by the domains has notable gaps and
      some oddities in organization.

      Part one is entitled "Exam Preparation," and is divided into the ten
      standard domains of the CBK (Common Body of Knowledge). Chapter one,
      on access control, shows problems right away. The first paragraph
      tries to distinguish between access control and authentication, but
      doesn't really outline the relationship between the two concepts, let
      alone dealing with the broader and more usual interrelated ideas of
      identification, authentication, authorization, and accountability.
      When discussing access models, the lattice content touches on advanced
      outcomes of the model, but not the basic principles. The biometric
      material is simply inadequate. There are sample questions at the end
      of the chapter, and this first set, at least, do appear to be crafted
      in order to avoid the usual "reading check" level of simplicity, but
      the wording is extremely poor and many answers are either flatly wrong
      or highly misleading. Similar problems are evident with
      telecommunications and networking, in chapter two, which has excessive
      space given to topics like cabling characteristics, poor explanation
      of the relationship between tunnelling and virtual private networks,
      an overview of intrusion detection that contradicts the material in
      chapter one, and some completely idiosyncratic terminology. The
      answers to sample question are more correct, but only because the
      questions themselves are overly simplistic. The rudimentary factors
      of security management are discussed in chapter three, but in a
      confused fashion, not assisted by the fact that topics are repeated
      and sections from other domains are introduced for no apparent reason.
      The central material is very brief, despite the sixty pages devoted to
      the topic, and entire sections, such as the various evaluation
      criteria, are missing. Applications development, in chapter four,
      does possibly provide enough information to deal with the CISSP exam
      on this subject, but lists lots of problems without many solutions,
      and has a great deal of extraneous material such as lists of different
      types of memory (fast page mode [FPM] versus extended data out [EDO]
      dynamic random access memory, for example). I thought the
      introduction to cryptography, in chapter five, wasn't all that bad
      (absent details such as the key in a one time pad having to be no
      shorter than the message being sent). That is, until I realized that
      it was the entire chapter, and details about any form of encryption,
      digital signatures, and the requirements for certification and a
      public key infrastructure were completely missing. Chapter six does
      cover the elemental points of security architecture, but in a
      disorganized manner, and has no material at all dealing with computer
      architecture. Operations security is discussed in terms of details
      like specific logs in Windows 2000 and updating antiviral scanners,
      and chapter seven misses more general concepts and operating
      principles. Business continuity and disaster recovery planning, in
      chapter eight, does provide most necessary information about the
      process, except for the recovery phase. Law, in chapter nine,
      concentrates too heavily on US legislation, and the investigative
      process fails to address incident response, interviewing, and
      relations with outside agencies. Chapter ten again covers physical
      security with specific details rather than underlying concepts.

      Part two is a review. About half of the "Fast Facts" are useful and
      the rest aren't: it would be hard for an exam candidate to know which
      is which. The study and exam prep tips are generic, and probably not
      much help. The practice exam questions are, like most of the sample
      questions in the book, far too simplistic and particular to properly
      prepare candidates for the actual CISSP exam.

      Despite the size of this volume, it does not contain as much
      information as, say, Harris' "CISSP All-in-One Certification Exam
      Guide" (cf. BKCISPA1.RVW), nor is it organized as well as the Krutz
      and Vines work (cf. BKCISPPG.RVW). It is closer to the Endorf (cf.
      BKSCDCMP.RVW), Miller/Gregory (cf. BKCISPDM.RVW), or the second Harris
      (cf. BKMMCISP.RVW) works, and therefore its utility as preparation for
      the CISSP exam is questionable.

      copyright, Robert M. Slade, 2003 BKCISPTG.RVW 20030127

      rslade@... rslade@... slade@... p1@...
      Find book info victoria.tc.ca/techrev/ or sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade/
      Upcoming (ISC)^2 CISSP CBK review seminars (+1-888-333-4458):
      March 31, 2003 Indianapolis, IN
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