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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 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@mcp.com
%O http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/078972801X/robsladesinterne
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/078972801X/robsladesinte-21
%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