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Q&A with the Authors of "AAA Identity Management Security"

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Meet the authors of Cisco Press’s new release, AAA Identity Management Security, the first complete, authoritative, single-source guide to implementing, configuring, and managing Authentication, Authorization and Accounting (AAA) identity management with CiscoSecure Access Control Server (ACS) 4 and 5. Authors Vivek Santuka, Premdeep Banga, and Brandon Carroll discuss the book’s practical application not only as a general AAA resource for IT professionals but also for those preparing for security-related certification exams.
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Please introduce yourself and tell us what you do professionally.

Vivek Santuka: I am a Technical Lead with Cisco TAC. I have been working with AAA TAC team for over 5 years, supporting ACS 3.x/4.x/5.x and AAA solutions cases.

Premdeep Banga: I am a Technical Solutions Leader with Cisco Systems Technical Assistance Center. Currently I am working for Cisco IPS Signature Development team. I have more than 5 years of experience in security, with an expertise in AAA technologies. Additionally, I train IT professionals on security technologies.

Brandon Carroll: I am a Senior Technical Instructor with a Cisco Learning Partner named Ascolta. I’ve been instructing and consulting in security for over 10 years, and I lead our business development team as well.

Tell us about your new release. Who is it for and what is it about?

Vivek: AAA Identity Management Security is designed to be a one stop resource for Cisco AAA solutions and CiscoSecure ACS. It covers all AAA solution across various Cisco devices.

Brandon: This new release is a long overdue overhaul to my first book on AAA, released in 2004. This new book is completely different, focusing less on ACS configuration, like a configuration guide would do, and more on practical implementation.

Prem: This book focuses on two aspects: ACS and its practical application. It walks you through ACS and its features, with a comparative view based on Cisco Secure ACS 4.x and 5.x, along with features practical implementation. This was done so that not only you get knowledge of what ACS/AAA can do for you, but also to let reader know how they can achieve it. The book also covers the basics of AAA technologies.

Brandon: This book is for anyone that’s working in the security field and manages an AAA environment, as well as for those who are preparing for the CCNA Security, CCNP Security, and CCIE Security.

Why did you decide to write a book on this topic?

Vivek: AAA solutions are not very well documented, and we wanted to create a one-stop resource for it. We wanted to cover this vast topic in as much detail as possible, and show how these solutions can strengthen network security with little work.

Brandon: Really, it was the opportunity to provide fresh and up-to-date material to the community. Helping others to learn complex technologies is a passion of mine and this was a means to do that. It also was greatly influenced by the ability to work with Prem and Vivek. These guys were great to work with and are true experts in the AAA area.

What makes your book unique?

Brandon: There is no other book on the market today that wraps all the elements of AAA on Cisco Devices, includes both ACS 4.x and 5.x, and is designed for practical use.

What is the most beneficial thing people should know about your book/product?

Prem: For those IT professionals who are new to AAA technology, the book explains everything with real, practical examples, beginning with basic concepts. It provides a perfect mix of learn and apply.

Vivek: And, this book is not focused on a single product such as CiscoSecure ACS; rather, it covers all AAA solutions and how they tie up with various security solutions such as VPN and Cisco ASA/PIX.

Brandon: The book covers two major versions of the ACS platform, 4.x and 5.x so nobody has to feel left out.

Prem: If there is a feature in 4.x, similar or exact feature is being covered in the same section, this makes it very smooth for readers who are new to AAA/Cisco ACS or the ones who are migrating from ACS 4.x to ACS 5.x.

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