This book is not designed with the Windows end user, advanced or not, in mind. It is meant for the server administrator, network administrator, security administrator, IT manager, technology specialist, or other individual who must design, implement, troubleshoot, or configure the security of Windows Server 2003 or the networks it is used on.
Although it does provide the details that may help anyone studying for an exam, it is not a resource for those whose only interest is passing an exam. There are no study questions and way too much information on topics that may not be on an exam but that are vital to the understanding and operation of server and network security.
This book does provide important information and the details of securing Windows Server 2003; however, it is not a step-by-step guide on how to harden the server. Instead, it is a technical resource, and it provides much of the rationale behind hardening steps.
If you do not use Windows and don't believe it has a place in your network, why are you reading this? I do believe that if you read this book, you may find that Windows Server 2003 does have a place in your network. However, I must warn you—you need to consider the next statement.
If you have no experience or knowledge of Windows, you will need a companion book that concentrates on the technology, a server you can explore on your own, or a willingness to research basic Windows and basic Windows networking on your own. Before you begin studying the more advanced topics, such as securing Active Directory or utilizing Windows Server 2003 resources to provide network security, you will need some understanding of Active Directory. This book assumes that you are not new to Active Directory.
If you are an expert on Windows Server 2003 security, you may learn something new here.
If you are, like most technical Windows users, solidly savvy in some security areas but lacking information in others, I believe you'll be able to find the information you need to become well rounded within these pages.
If you are a programmer, this book can do much to help you understand how Windows server security works and how its security technologies are used on a network. It should not, however, be your source for the intimate details you need if you must program security or program securely. The technical details you need are primarily provided in the Software Development Kit (SDK) available from Microsoft. The sound security knowledge and necessary programming skill are functions of training and experience. I would especially caution you that the algorithms provided within this book to help readers understand how technology works do not provide enough information for you to produce code that can correctly implement the technology. Programming security technologies is especially difficult to get right and is not a subject addressed by this book.