Course Outline for CompTIA® Security+ Certification Preparation

Week 1

Lesson 1- Authentication

We'll start off with a brief review of the Security+ exam and its objectives. Then we'll jump right into talking about access control. Authentication—verifying that a user requesting entry to a system or network is who they claim to be—is the first step in access control, which protects valuable and sensitive resources from unauthorized users and evildoers. In this lesson, we'll explore authentication, as well as its methods, protocols, and devices.

Lesson 2- Authorization and Access Control

Last time, we talked about the authentication step in access control. In this lesson, we're going to continue our exploration of access control with a closer look at authorization and types of access control. Both of these are extremely important parts of the security policies protecting network resources. We'll take a detailed look at the elements that make up these two processes.

Week 2

Lesson 3- Managing and Securing User Accounts

In this lesson, we'll cover the policy and administration of accounts in a secure environment. First, we'll go over the different types of accounts you might work with, including individual accounts and group accounts. Then we'll talk about password policies, which govern how to make passwords as strong as possible, when passwords should expire, and how to deal with lost or forgotten passwords. Lastly, we'll discuss permissions, privileges, and the administrative actions required to minimize vulnerability.

Lesson 4- Risk Management

As network administrators, we're constantly managing risk. But what does that really mean? In this lesson, we'll investigate the elements of the risk management process, including vulnerabilities, threats, risks, and likelihood and the methods used to identify, determine, or calculate each. The ultimate goal of risk management is to reduce risk to a level that's acceptable to the system and organization. In this lesson, you'll discover the methods we use to figure out what level of risk is acceptable.

Week 3

Lesson 5- Penetration Testing, Vulnerability Scanning, and Data Recovery

Do you know the differences between penetration testing and vulnerability scanning? When is it best to use each? In this lesson, you'll find out the answers to those questions. We'll take a look at the six phases of the penetration testing process, and you'll find out how vulnerability management works. Then we'll look at methods of software vulnerability testing, including black box, white box, and gray box testing. We'll wrap up the lesson with a discussion of disaster recovery plans and data backup methods.

Lesson 6- Data Security

How do we protect the crucial data that allows our organizations to function day in and day out? That's the question we'll address in this lesson. We'll start with a look at data loss prevention systems, which manage, identify, and protect data in its various states. You'll get acquainted with data encryption applications and hardware-based encryption devices. And we'll cover some considerations for off-site and remote data storage—what should you keep in mind about data when deciding where to store it and back it up? Maintaining your data's integrity and security is incredibly important, so you won't want to miss this lesson.

Week 4

Lesson 7- Application, Host, and Hardware Security

In Lesson 7, we'll focus on the security of application software. There are a few ways to make applications more secure, including application hardening and careful patch management. We'll see how these work, and we'll take a look at some common application attacks. You'll also see how to make sure the in-house software development process is as secure as you can make it. We'll even look at the ways in which a host computer is secured both internally and externally.

Lesson 8- Securing Mobile Devices

As businesses go global and standard business hours no longer apply, mobile devices are becoming more common in organizational networks. In this lesson, we'll look at the threats mobile devices introduce and the security methods for removing these threats. We'll investigate some internal measures for dealing with mobile devices, including what you can to protect data if a device is lost or stolen. We'll also explore what you should include in external security policies for mobile devices, and you'll see how technologies like mobile biometrics, voice encryption, and GPS tracking can help on the mobile security front. Mobile devices are only getting more essential to both our business and personal lives, so securing them is an increasingly important priority.

Week 5

Lesson 9- Virtualization and Cloud Computing

If you're working in IT these days, chances are you're working with virtualization in some form. But what exactly is virtualization? In this lesson, we'll build on what you learned about it in the first course. You'll find out how server virtualization works, and we'll explore virtualization software and hardware. You'll also learn how virtualization can benefit an organization, and we'll discuss the particular security concerns that come along with it. We'll finish up with a look at the various types of cloud computing available today.

Lesson 10- Cryptography

If you work in network security, being cryptic is just part of the job! Cryptography, or encryption, is what we use to prevent unauthorized people from being able to understand or use intercepted data. In Lesson 10, we'll explore the concepts behind encryption and the primary types of encryption in use. We'll talk about the most common encryption algorithms and ciphers, and you'll learn about the secure transport of encrypted data.

Week 6

Lesson 11- Public Key Infrastructure

With the Internet so integrated into our everyday lives, we depend on a security and validation system that most of us take for granted: the public key infrastructure (PKI). The PKI protects us, often unknowingly, against people and companies we don't know and may not trust if we did. In this lesson, you'll learn about the PKI and the security elements that work to protect you. We'll also talk about how and why they work.

Lesson 12- Preparing for the Security+ Exam

The CompTIA Security+ exam covers a wide-range of security concepts, topics, terminology, and practices, as well as a bit of hardware and software. In this lesson, which is the last of the two prep courses for the Security+ exam, we'll review the key terms and concepts you'll see on the exam. We'll revisit what you really must know, and I'll give you some final tips for taking a CompTIA exam.

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