It is very rarely, that you'd see a good high-level security book nowadays. There are lots of great "worm-eye view" books with nice detailed descriptions of attacks, defenses, secure configuration options, tools and tricks. However, many of the high-level books resolve to quoting some outdated CSI/FBI survey, blabbering about security policy and giving out piles of outworldly advice on how to "mitigate risks".
This visionary book proves the opposite: you can have a high-level security book, which is not just practical, but actionable. "Mission Critical Security Planner" delivers a portion of the security process, packed into one toolkit. Make no mistake - this book is about planning how to do security, not how to tweak your scanner or configure a firewall. However, planning is indeed a critical (and, as the author points out, often missing) piece of security conundrum, and the book delivers on that.
An awesome component of the book is a large collection of templates and worksheets on "selling" security measures, planning the implementations, organizing security team, dealing with various business people and many other occasions. The book has the printed versions while its companion website criticalsecurity.com has the download.
The main part of the book is organized around "security fundamentals", large domains of security (such as authentication, encryption, integrity, privacy, etc), which are used to structure the security planning process, described by the author. For each of the fundamentals, the content is organized in sections: summary, security stack (covering various aspects from physical to application level), life-cycle management (from technology selection to response), business (on dealing with various categories of business people, such as suppliers and customers) and selling security (to execs, managers and staff). All of the above contain various templates.
Among the more fun parts, the section on negotiating with hackers is just exclusive and of the never-seen-before kind. Section in hacker profiling is also of interest, since it seems to originate from author's experiences (and not in just reading about it on the news). The book also demystifies such elusive notions as "impact analysis", "security ROI". PKI also has a prominent role in the book. While PKI (as it is defined today) might or might not fly, the book gives a great example of large-scale production implementation, running for many years. Another great feature of the book is author's "future 10 attacks list" with his predictions on threat landscape.
Overall, the book seems indispensable to those responsible for securing networks. Security managers and CSOs will likely gain maximum benefits from using it (due to the book targeting), but other security professionals will benefit as well. Notice, that the benefits can be derived from "using" it as opposed to just "reading" it, although even the latter will prove highly enlightening. The "selling security" templates alone are likely worth their weigh in gold. The book is well-written and, while not possessing the lively style of some recent security books, will beat some of them hands down in real-world applicability. After all, even if you very well know that IDS is valuable, who will help you to "sell" it to the CIO? This book just might!
Anton Chuvakin, Ph.D., GCIA, GCIH is a Senior Security Analyst with a major information security company. His areas of infosec expertise include intrusion detection, UNIX security, forensics, honeypots, etc. In his spare time, he maintains his security portal info-secure.org