Book review: Securing the Borderless Network

When Cisco started preaching about Borderless Networks a few months ago, we all knew the term Borderless Networks was a new fuzzily-defined paradigm revolving around the facts that:

  • People want to use their smartphones (and other mobile devices) to access the corporate data from anywhere at any time.
  • Employees have started to use third-party cloud services with unproven security or reliability without coordination with corporate IT or Security.

However, when Cisco Press launched the Securing the Borderless Network book (with the subtitle Security for the Web 2.0 World), I was hoping to get some insight into what Cisco really means with the Borderless Networks paradigm. I was also expecting some hard technical facts and solutions for the problems pestering all of us.

What a disappointment: the book should be called Introduction to Web 2.0 Security Issues with subtitle Anecdotal Evidence for Future Headaches. It nicely lists numerous problems we’re facing today, from unreliable cloud services, targeted malware and phishing to smartphones appearing “out of the blue sky” and employees bypassing AUP or security guidelines ... without offering a single solution (apart from mentioning Cisco’s IronPort product line and hundreds of researchers working @ Cisco several times).

Out of 15 chapters (to get the whole Table of Contents, click Sample content on this page), two are somewhat related to securing (as a noun ... meaning you’re doing something about it) the network, but lack any details that one could take and start planning (or at least researching) the next-generation security of the corporate network (the technical level of the whole book is very comparable to Chapter 8 describing malware).

If you haven’t been exposed to the insecure realities of Web 2.0, cloud computing and mobile devices, this book is a definite eye-opener and I would strongly recommend that you read it cover to cover, as it provides a great introductory description of the headaches we’re having the last few years. If, however, you’re looking for solutions or recommendations, continue looking.

4 comments:

  1. Ivan

    I also have read this book, and completely agree with your review.

    Anyone got any tips on what "Borderless Networks" are ?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Don't worry guys, I got this:

    Router(config-if)# no ip access-group Protect_Everything in
    Router(config-if)#

    Bam, you're borderless! 8-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I though that borderless refered to not dividing the network into cisco layer but using new switching technology that can be implemented anywhere in the network (core, access, wan, distribution, datacenter...) etc

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ivan Pepelnjak01 July, 2010 09:02

    The "borderless network" idea has (in my opinion) more to do with the fact that there are no longer "hard" boundaries between inside and outside of an enterprise network due to mobile devices (BlackBerry, iPhone), cloud services (Gmail, Google Docs ...), use of social networking sites for business reasons ...

    ReplyDelete

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Ivan Pepelnjak, CCIE#1354, is the chief technology advisor for NIL Data Communications. He has been designing and implementing large-scale data communications networks as well as teaching and writing books about advanced technologies since 1990. See his full profile, contact him or follow @ioshints on Twitter.