InfoSec Reviews – CISSP Study Guide

Book Title: CISSP Study Guide

Author: Eric Conrad, Seth Misenar, Joshua Feldman

Publisher: Syngress

Date of Publishing: 16 Sep 2010

ISBN(13): 9781597495639

Price (UK&US price – full price, not discounted price): £36.99/$59.95

URL of Publisher Site: Syngress

URL of Amazon UK web page: CISSP Study Guide

URL of Amazon US web page:

The book is structured exactly as you would expect of a CISSP Study Guide, with an Introduction and then a chapter dedicated to each of the 10 (ISC)2 CISSP CBK Domains:Chapter 1: IntroductionChapter 2: Domain 1: Information Security Governance and Risk Management Chapter 3: Domain 2: Access ControlChapter 4: Domain 3: CryptographyChapter 5: Domain 4: Physical (Environmental) SecurityChapter 6: Domain 5: Security Architecture and DesignChapter 7: Domain 6: Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery PlanningChapter 8: Domain 7: Telecommunications and Network SecurityChapter 9: Domain 8: Application Development SecurityChapter 10: Domain 9: Operations SecurityChapter 11: Domain 10: Legal, Regulations, Investigations, and ComplianceAppendix:  Self Test AnswersGlossary.The CISSP “new kid on the block” is from Syngress, very well known in the InfoSec book field.  The first obvious thing that you notice about this book is its weight (and thickness!). It is much shorter (567 pages) than the majority of the CISSP “usual suspects” (All in One Exam Guide (1193 pages), Official (ISC)2 Guide (1063 pages), CISSP Prep Guide (501 pages), CISSP Study Guide (894 pages) etc) but its scope is the same – the 10 CISSP Domains.  Although each chapter is shorter the contents are more focused, to the point which helps keep the reader interested.One thing that is a true differentiator in this book is that while it has fewer pages than the majority of other CISSP study guides, it has far more diagrams. And you know how the saying goes: a picture paints a thousand words. For example Domain 7: Telecommunications and Network Security has 33 diagrams as opposed to the ISC2 18.  Overall the use of diagrams, for me, helps enormously with readability and understanding.The book also uses tools, such as “Learn By Example” boxes which discuss real-life situations that really help to illustrate the point as well as “Exam Warning” boxes that identify high-probability exam topics.Compared with the other revision guides available on the market the CISSP Study Guide is easier to read, and the chapter mechanics I referred to previously keep the reader focused.In addition each Domain is introduced with “Exam Objectives” and “Unique Terms and Definitions”.  The Terms and Definitions theme is amplified in the Glossary where all Acronyms and Definitions are explained– this is very helpful in an exam where TLA’s are everywhere! Each chapter ends with a Q & A Self Test questions, something that is a standard formula in the other CISSP books. Finally, the Appendix offers all the correct answers, and explains why the other answers are incorrect – another great help.  Overall I believe that the book is clear concise and well presented.The lead author as well as the contributing authors and the technical author are highly qualified and have much practical experience, which comes out in the text. The Syngress Web Site (, Eric Conrad (the lead author) has created two further practice exams plus ten podcasts-one for each of the CISSP domains. I have listened to a few of these podcasts and they certainly add value to your Exam Preparation.

So, was this book value for money? The Syngress CISSP Study Guide costs £36.99 for 567 pages (6.5 p/page) whilst the Official ISC2 Guide to the CISSP CBK costs £42.99 for 1063 pages (4p/page) so in terms of “pages per buck” it is not as good as the others. However, taking into account the additional 100 words added by each picture and the fact that the book contains all the necessary topics that you will need to know to revise for the exam it is money well spent.

Overall the book is more concise than the majority of the other CISSP study guides available.  It uses techniques such as Learn By Example” and “Exam Warning” boxes to illustrate and highlight key points. Well written by technically competent authors, I found the book easy to read.  Significantly cheaper than many of its peers, this is all that the more experienced prospective CISSP candidate requires.  After all to take the CISSP exam the candidate should have “5 years of direct full-time information security professional experience in 2 or more of the 10 domains of the (ISC)? CISSP CBK”

Marks: 4 out of 5


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