CompTIA Security+ Network Security

Welcome to this review of the Pluralsight course CompTIA Security+ Network Security by Chris Rees.

This is the first course in the Pluralsight Security+ learning path, covering the first domain of the CompTIA Security+ exam.
It describes a huge number of different networking terms and concepts, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, network address translation, port address translation, subnetting, VLANs, network access control, virtualization, cloud computing (IaaS/SaaS/PaaS) etc.

There is a module on common protocols and services – 22 in total, including TCP/IP, HTTP, IPSec and DNS.

If you haven’t heard of the OSI model before it may be better to watch this part first because there are various times throughout the course when Chris will mention it (e.g. “this is layer 3 on the OSI model”). Chris explains how the 7 layer OSI model relates to the 4 layer Internet model and covers the relationships between the various protocols and their standard port numbers, giving security recommendations along the way.

If you’ve recently studied networking at University, you might find the content here to be at a similar level. These are fundamental concepts for IT security professionals, but it goes well beyond what the average developer or IT admin knows about networking.

As a developer, I found that although I had heard of most of the terms before, this course is giving me a better understanding of what their roles are in creating a secure network.

This course is 3h 48m long at standard speed. Although it is easily understandable up to about 1.3x speed, I recommend allowing 5 hours or more in total for this course because some sections are very densely packed with technical information. Give yourself time to write notes and take breaks between modules.

There are examples throughout the course but there aren’t any demonstrations. It is worth allowing yourself some time to experiment yourself with some software related to this course. It introduces a lot of different things without going into them in depth. So think of this as a very broad but quite shallow course.

Related courses:
This course complements the narrower and deeper “Introduction to wireshark” course nicely. Although the wireshark course is not part of this learning path, it is something that you probably need to learn if you want to become a security professional. I previously watched the wireshark course and found it more difficult to understand because I didn’t have the background that this network security course provides.

Recommended speed: 1.0-1.3x

Activities to complement this course:
One interesting piece of software mentioned is called snort, which is an intrusion protection system. This is worth downloading and experimenting with.

Next course
Compliance and Operational Security

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