Having worked in the IT industry specifically in support for six years now, one particular area that has always interested me is network security. A lot of my current knowledge is self taught and obtained through general day-to-day experience and I’ve always wanted to delve more into the aspects of hacking and the protection of the networks I support - which sparked my interest in Network Security First-Step.

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Pulbished by Cisco, Network Security First Step Second Edition bills itself "your first step to network security" and also states that "no security experience is required". With a name including 'first step' I expected a very basic book that went through attacks and basic prevention methods.

What I found as I read was that Network Security First-Step 2nd Edition is broken down into a flowing chapter-by-chapter guide taking you through the process of what hackers think to the types of attacks and the things we do to stop them. It also includes topics such as security policies and procedures, and advice on using encryption and securing your networks.  See also: Group test: what's the best technology reference book?
 
The text flows from each section of Network Security First-Step 2nd Edition and links together very well. This makes the text very easy to understand. The authors use a great tone and don’t make things too complicated, which is something that can be so easily done when you’re talking about network infrastructure and security.

As I had a basic understanding of network security I did understand a lot of what was being said and the use of images and diagrams really enforced what was being described in the text. The use of examples within Network Security First-Step 2nd Edition was also a great tool personally, as it helped me understand the situations that may arise and to give a broader understanding of the subject.
 
I wouldn't recommend Network Security First-Step 2nd Edition to any complete beginners in IT or networking. I feel you would need a basic understanding of network infrastructure to really get to grips with some of this as I found parts that I didn’t understand fully. However, as the book states, you don’t need any security experience to get what you want from the book although some abbreviations were not defined which may lead to difficulty.
 
My only other gripe would be the image quality. After printing it is quite hard to see some of the images in how the author may have intended.
 
Network Security First-Step 2nd Edition does most if not all of what it sets out to do, I thoroughly enjoyed reading a very well-written and -thought out book. The content was exactly the kind of thing I wanted to read as a beginner to the subject and the positives far outweighed the negatives which were minimal at best.

Network Security First-Step 2nd Edition: Specs

  • Author: Thomas, Thomas M.
  • Stoddard, Donald Publisher: Cisco Press (01/2012) Subject: Security - Networks Skill Level: Intermediate/Advance Format: Paperback (423 pages) ISBN-10: 158720410X ISBN-13: 9781587204104 Language: English
  • Author: Thomas, Thomas M.
  • Stoddard, Donald Publisher: Cisco Press (01/2012) Subject: Security - Networks Skill Level: Intermediate/Advance Format: Paperback (423 pages) ISBN-10: 158720410X ISBN-13: 9781587204104 Language: English

OUR VERDICT

Network Security First-Step is a good guide to securing a network, although total beginners may find some bits difficult to follow, and the quality of images isn't great.

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