If you plan to take the Security+ exam, you might be interested in the SY0-401 differences in Network Security. CompTIA has changed the weighting of this domain reducing it from 21% in the SY0-301 to 20% in the SY0-401 exam. However, this is still significant. You can expect as many as 20 questions on network security.
This post is a part of a series showing all the SYO-401 differences compared to the SY0-301 exam. Here are links to all the pages in the series:
- SY0-401 Differences in Domains
- SY0-401 Differences in Network Security
- SY0-401 Differences in Compliance and Operational Security
- SY0-401 Differences in Threats and Vulnerabilities
- SY0-401 Differences in Application, Data and Host Security
- SY0-401 Differences in Access Control and Identity Management
- SY0-401 Differences in Cryptography
- SY0-401 Differences in Acronyms
SY0-301 Available Until December 31, 2014
Remember, you can still take the SY0-301 exam up until December 31, 2014.
Hiring managers rarely care what version of Security+ you have. They only want to know you are Security+ certified. Unless you want to be on the bleeding edge of this certification, you don’t need to pursue the 401 version.
At this writing, there is a limited amount of material available for the 401 version. However, there is plenty of study material available for the 301 version. Many people tell me they take and pass the Security+ exam within 30 days after getting this book: CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-301 Study Guide. Even if it takes you a little longer, you’ll still have plenty of time to get the certification before December 31, 2014.
Most of the objectives in the 401 exam match up to objectives in the 301 exam though they are worded slightly differently. Additionally, you’ll see that some new items have been added such as:
- Unified Threat Management (UTM)
- Additional cloud computing concepts such as private, public, hybrid, and community
- Layered security and defense in depth
- Additional protocols such as iSCSI, Fibre Channel, FCoE
- The addition of the OSI model in relation to protocols and services
- Additional wireless topics such as captive portals, antenna types, site surveys, and VPN (over open wireless)
SY0-401 Differences in Network Devices
First, this objective is listed different as shown in the following table:
|Explain the security function and purpose of network devices and technologies||Implement security configuration parameters on network devices and other technologies.|
In the 301 objective, you only needed to “explain.” However, this is changed to “implement” in the 401 exam, and it requires you to understand some of the “security configuration parameters.” Even though most of the items in the list are the same between the 301 and 401 exam, the objective changes the focus of these items. Some of the differences in this list are relatively minor. For example:
- NIDS and NIPS still includes behavior based, signature based, anomaly based, and heuristic, but they are reformatted as separate bullets.
- Sniffers is missing. However, a sniffer is just a nickname for a protocol analyzer so the concept of sniffers remains.
Two other differences indicate a change in focus.
- UTM security appliances replaces all-in-one security appliances. It includes the following sub-bullets, which were not directly associated with all-in-one security appliances in the 301 objectives:
- URL filter
- Content inspection
- Malware inspection
Note: UTM is short for unified threat management. You can think of a UTM security appliance as an all-in-one security appliance.
- Application aware devices is a new item and it includes the following bullets
SY0-401 Differences in Network Administration Principles
Even though this objective is worded slightly different, it doesn’t change what you need to know. However, it might result in more “scenario” based questions.
|Apply and implement secure network administration principles||Given a scenario, use secure network administration principles|
The two items that are different are:
- “Network separation” replaces “prevent network bridging by network separation”
- Unified Threat Management is a new topic
SY0-401 Differences in Network Design
The wording of this objective is relatively minor and does not affect what you need to know for this topic.
|Distinguish and differentiate network design elements and compounds||Explain network design elements and components.|
However, CompTIA did add some new topics in the Cloud Computing section. Specifically, they added these topics within Cloud Computing:
Another new topic in this section is “Layered security / Defense in depth” though that really isn’t a new concept. Even though these words weren’t specifically used in the 301 objectives, the concepts were included. This edition just makes it a little clearer that this knowledge is needed.
SY0-401 Differences in Common Protocols and Services
This 401 objective combined two objectives in the 301 exam. It includes three sections, Protocols, Ports, and OSI Relevance.
Implement and use common protocols
|Given a scenario, implement common protocols and services.|
The protocols section added the following protocols:
- Fibre Channel
The addition of OSI Relevance in this section is interesting. It indicates that you’ll likely be tested on which layer the protocols in this section operate on. For those that learned and remember the OSI model from their Network+ studies, this isn’t much of an addition. However, you’ll still need to brush up on it.
SY0-401 Differences in Wireless Networks
The wireless objective shifts the focus from implementation to troubleshooting security issues. It still includes many of the same topics though.
|Implement wireless network in a secure manner||Given a scenario, troubleshoot security issues related to wireless networking.|
One change is “SSID broadcast” to “Disable SSID broadcast.” Additionally, the following topics are new:
- Captive portals
- Antenna types
- Site surveys
- VPN (over open wireless)
SY0-401 Differences in Network Security Summary
Overall, the differences in this section are relatively minor. There are some additions and the objectives have been reworded. However, overall, the objectives have not changed much.