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To be most effective, computer security specialists not only must know the technical side of their jobs, but also must understand the principles behind information security. No two situations that security professionals review are identical, and there are no recipes or cookbooks on universal security measures. Because each situation calls for a distinct judgment to address the specific risks inherent in information systems, principles-based decision making is imperative. An old saying goes, “If you only have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” This approach simply does not serve today’s businesses, which are always striving to balance risk and reward of access to electronic records. The goal is to help you create a toolkit and develop the skills to use these tools like a master craftsman. Learn these principles and take them to heart, and you’ll start out much further along than your peers who won’t take the time to bother learning them!

As you explore the rest of the Common Body of Knowledge (CBK) domains, try to relate the practices you find to one or more of these. For example, Chapter 8, “Physical Security Control,” covers physical security, which addresses how to limit access to physical spaces and hardware to authorized personnel. This helps prevent breaches in confidentiality, integrity, and availability, and implements the principle of defense in depth. As you will find, these principles are mixed and matched to describe why certain security functions and operations exist in the real world of IT.

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