IT Bookworm Blog

Jul 19 2011   7:48PM GMT

Mark Ayre reviews Securing the Borderless Network

Guest Author Profile: Guest Author

Member MarkAyre agreed to review Securing the Borderless Network: Security for the Web 2.0 World. If you’d like to review a book for the Bookworm Blog, send me an email at Melanie at to express your interest. Disclosure: The publisher of the book provided a free copy for this review.

Written by an employee of Cisco and published as part of the Cisco Press range it should come as no surprise that the solutions presented in this book to the issues raised are based around Cisco products.

Touching on a number of hot topics, under the umbrella of “The Borderless Network” – which the author later expands on to require “a movement of openness in the Enterprise” – some of the topics covered include the consumerization of IT, cloud computing, identity management and the challenges now and in the future of supporting Generation X/Y employees in the workplace.

Throughout, the author clearly speaks with hands-on experience acquired during the two decades he has spent in the Infosec field and challenges the usefulness of traditional security methods and what he describes as the outdated and increasingly unrealistic “Culture of No.”

In the chapter about cloud computing, like Nicholas Carr in “The Big Switch,” the author likens cloud computing to electricity generation, and it is clear – as you might expect from somebody working for a major technology vendor – that the author is a proponent.

Published in April 2010, it was noted that some of the sources used in the book date back to 2009 and 2008, but whilst the back cover refers to the subject matter as a “quickly evolving network paradigm,” due to the economic climate of the last few years and the way the author states “we have entered a world where business and personal computing are, inextricably one,” the impacts of which are still being felt, the content is still very much relevant. This is perhaps most noticeable in Chapter 6, which discusses the role mobile technologies and particularly smartphones increasingly play in what is now being referred to as the Post-PC era. Some would argue that the section title beginning Handheld Harvest would now read “From Apples to Blackberry (and back).” The author goes on to make a pointed observation between the impact of the smartphone (and the role of Apple in recent years in the mobile market) to their famous “1984” Superbowl Ad.

A slim book of some 150 pages, it is aimed at the busy CIO, IT Manager or those in similar roles in discussing the comprehensive range of related topics from a high-level perspective. Each chapter begins with a summary of the topics to be discussed, the topics themselves followed by references quoted within the chapter and opportunities for further reading in an approachable and easily digestible manner. Though a number of the author’s colleagues within Cisco are referred to, typically several sources about the topic under discussion are used.

The book has a companion website but given the subject matter discussed and Cisco’s widespread use of social media, it is a disappointment as it offers nothing more than what is included on the book’s back cover and links to the product pages of the major booksellers.

It is a worthwhile read, particularly (given the price) for those like me who have a Safari Bookshelf online subscription, although for those who do not, details of a free trial are provided along with a code to 45 day access to the online version.

For more from Mark, check out his website.

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