Security is usually an afterthought in most companies. When a major breach occurs then that is when security best practices are put in place. The CCNA Security Official Certification Guide 640-554 by Keith Barker and Scott Morris is a great resource for an individual wanting to improve their security mindset. If I were you, I would definitely read a book by Keith Barker and Scott Morris.
Although the Official Cert Guide is aimed at passing a Cisco exam (hence the name), it provides a breadth of basic security concepts that can be applied in a vendor agnostic environment. The CCNA Security Official Cert Guide will give you the foundation you need to get your feet wet in security and then guide you down the Cisco path.
I found the Official Cert Guide great at explaining different concepts. It covers the core basics of Cisco security and dabbles into the ASA. It only gets your appetite going for more ASA material, which begins at the CCNP Security level. A big portion of the book covers introductory security topics such as:
- Security Concepts
- Security Policies
- Security Lifecycle
- Introduction to ASAs
The items you will learn are how to secure an IOS router, implement VPNs, learn about Zone-Based firewalls, learn how to use Cisco Configuration Professional, and get a good understanding of basic security concepts and best practices plus much more.
I enjoyed reading about AAA, creating access lists for the ASA, implementing site-to-site and SSL VPNs, and fundamental cryptography. I will definitely be going into the CCNP Security track.
If you are new to security and would like to use ASAs then this is a good start. If you’re neck deep in ASA and you would like to get the credentials, unfortunately you will need to pass the CCNA Security first. The seasoned firewall administrator may find this as a refresher.
The CCNA Security Official Certification Guide is really just an introduction to security which touches upon the ASA. Initially, I thought I would see a lot of ASA configuration and implementations. You mostly see VPN implementations in both GUI and CLI. The juicy ASA material begins at the CCNP Security track.