Google’s BeyondCorp effort would probably be what we would now call Zero Trust, although I am surprised by how little name recognition BeyondCorp has when I talk to security people about Zero Trust. Perhaps there are subtle differences between the two, but if there are they aren’t obvious to me. I find myself reading the relevant Usenix papers for BeyondCorp, so I figure I’ll post a summary of what I got from each paper here.
The earliest of these papers are quite old now (2014), especially for something the rest of the industry is only starting to talk a lot about at the moment. I wonder if there is a viable business model in watching what papers megacorps like Google publish, and the implementing them as commercialized products before the rest of the market catches on?
Either way, here’s a summary of the various papers from the perspective of an interested bystander…
I don’t think I’ve really reviewed a technical book here before, but I read the thing so I guess I should. This book is the certification guide for a “Cisco CyberOps Associate” certification, which is what they now call the CCNA Security qualification. Its a relatively junior certification, qualifying you to be a level one operator in a Security Operations Centre (SOC).
I read this book because I took a Cisco NetAcad course for the associated certification in the second half of 2022 (although it has continued to be a thing I plug away at in 2023). That was mainly motivated by a desire to more about a field that is clearly important, but hasn’t been core to my personal career.
This book is reasonably well written and readable — I’d read a chapter in the evening after work and its wasn’t a huge chore to churn though. I certainly learned things along the way, even if the certification seems to suffer from a desire to have everyone rote learn a lot of acronyms, which seems like a common ailment in the industry (AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner, I’m looking at you).
My main critism is of the qualification itself, which is that it is quite Cisco centric — almost all examples of the implementation of a technology are a Cisco product, which is great if you’re trying to demonstrate the depth of Cisco’s portfolio, but isn’t great if you’re competing with less vendor centric certification options. This is in contrast to the CCNA content, which feels more vendor neutral to me because its more fundamental.
That said, this book wasn’t a waste of my time and I learned stuff — which I guess is mission accomplished for a technical book?
Cisco Cyberops Associate Cbrops 200-201 Official Cert Guide
August 6, 2020
Modern organizations rely on Security Operations Center (SOC) teams to vigilantly watch security systems, rapidly detect breaches, and respond quickly and effectively. To succeed, SOCs desperately need more qualified cybersecurity professionals. Cisco's new Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate certification prepares candidates to begin a career working as associate-level cybersecurity analysts within SOCs.
OpenStack is an orchestration system for setting up virtual machines and associated other virtual resources such as networks and storage on clusters of computers. At a high level, OpenStack is just configuring existing facilities of the host operating system — there isn’t really a lot of difference between OpenStack and a room full of system admins frantically resolving tickets requesting virtual machines be setup. The only real difference is scale and predictability.
To do its job, OpenStack needs to be able to manipulate parts of the operating system which are normally reserved for administrative users. This talk is the story of how OpenStack has done that thing over time, what we learnt along the way, and what I’d do differently if I had my time again. Lots of systems need to do these things, so even if you never use OpenStack hopefully there are things to be learnt here.