Introduction

The CompTIA Network+ certification can help bring your career to the next level and is a strong professional asset to have on your side. To earn this certification, you have to pass the Network+ certification exam. This exam is comprised of five different domains of knowledge that certification candidates will need to master.

This article will detail Domain 3.0, Network Operations, complete with its different objectives and what you will need to cover. This article should not serve as your sole means of preparing for the Network+ certification exam, but rather as a general review or an outline foundation.

Network Operations Outline

The following subtopics can be expected to be tested in the Network Operations section of the Network+ exam:

  1. Use of appropriate diagrams and documentation to manage the network
  2. Compare and contrast disaster recovery and business continuity concepts
  3. Common scanning, patching and monitoring processes and expected outputs
  4. Use of scenario-specific remote access methods
  5. Policies and best practices

Use of Appropriate Diagrams and Documentation to Manage the Network

The most important thing to remember about this subtopic is that as important as having physical diagrams of your network is, properly documenting network specifics (such as wiring and other physical details) is even more important.

Diagram Symbols

There are several different symbols you will need to know – in both scratch and finish forms. These symbols are used to convey to others information about the network. You will need to know symbols for hubs, switches, routers, wireless access points and firewalls to name just a few.

Standard Operating Procedures

Candidates will need to be familiar with the concepts of standard operating procedure, or SOP. SOP documentation will define different actions, who is responsible for what action in a given situation and what the individual should do in the situation, such as what standard a drive should be wiped to.

Performance Baseline

A performance baseline is vital for network operations. You need a baseline so you can see what is normal for your network environment, to compare to what happens in the future and know what is normal.

Other Considerations

The other major considerations of this objective are:

  • Logical versus physical diagrams
  • Rack diagrams
  • Wiring and port locations
  • Change management documentation
  • IDF/MDF documentation
  • Network configuration
  • Labeling
  • Inventory management

Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity

Availability Concepts

Availability of concepts covers an array of topics, including:

  • Fault tolerance
  • High availability
  • NIC teaming
  • Load-balancing
  • Clustering
  • Port aggregation

Power Management

Power management covers the full gamut of network power management concepts, which are:

  • UPS/battery backups
  • Power generators
  • Redundant circuits
  • Dual power supplies

Disaster Recovery

Recovery can be separated into two general areas: recovery sites and backups.

Sites

  • Hot sites
  • Warm sites
  • Cold sites

Backups

  • Full
  • Differential
  • Incremental

Other concepts covered:

  • Snapshots
  • MTBF
  • MTTR
  • SLA requirements

Scanning, Patching and Monitoring Processes and Expected Outputs

This objective covers four main subtopics: Processes, Event Management, SNMP monitors and Metrics.

Processes

  • Log reviewing
  • Vulnerability scanning
  • Port scanning
  • Patch management (including rollback)
  • Traffic/packet analysis
  • Reviewing baselines

Event Management

  • Alerts
  • Notifications
  • SIEM

SNMP Monitors

  • MIB

Metrics

  • Utilization
  • Error rate
  • Packet drops
  • Bandwidth/throughput

Use of Scenario-Specific Remote Access Methods

Different remote access methods are used in different scenarios. This domain contains comprehensive coverage of these methods.

VPN

  • IPSec
  • Site-to-site
  • SSL/TLS/DTLS
  • Client-to-site

Remote File Access

  • FTPS/FTP
  • SFTP
  • TFTP

Out-of-Band Management

  • Console router
  • Modem

Other Remote Access Methods covered:

  • RDP
  • SSH
  • VNC
  • Telnet

Policies and Best Practices

Policies and best practices are soft controls, that administers can use alongside hard controls, to control the network environment and the users within.

Privileged User Agreement

This is referring to the agreement between the company and a user who has been given elevated permissions. With a privileged user agreement, the user agrees that these permissions are only to be used to perform assigned duties and tasks.

Password Policy

There is more to password policy than simply requiring a password change every 90 days. An organization’s password policy should be drafted between its IT and HR departments. The policy should include the following expectations:

  • Passwords shall never be shared amongst employees
  • Passwords shall never be disclosed to other employees, even IT employees
  • Passwords shall never be written down
  • Passwords shall not be guessable, including the use of the date of password change

Onboarding/Offboarding

Onboarding

  • First login
  • Password policy discussion
  • BYOD (if applicable)
  • Email

Offboarding

  • Termination process must be prompt
  • Removal of permissions
  • Disable user account

System Life Cycle

  • Asset disposal
  • Updating inventory

Other subtopics include:

  • Licensing restrictions
  • Data loss prevention
  • International export controls
  • Remote access policies
  • Incident response policies
  • AUP
  • BYOD
  • NDA
  • Safety policies and procedures

Conclusion

The CompTIA Network+ exam covers five domains of knowledge, and among these domains is network operations. This domain is interesting in that it covers a lot of the moving parts associated with a network environment as well as much of the conceptual, soft-control end of effective network administration.

The above article will serve as a guideline for you to build your notes around. Network+ can be a difficult exam for some – follow this guide and study carefully, and you will have a better chance at passing this exam.

 

Sources

CompTIA Network+ Certification Exam Objectives, CompTIA

Buhagler, Jon. CompTIA Network+ Review Guide: Exam N10-007, Sybex, 2018

Meyers, Mike and Weissman, Jonathan. Mike Meyers’ CompTIA Network+ Certification Passport, Sixth Edition (Exam N10-007) (Mike Meyers’ Certification Passport), McGraw-Hill Education, 2018

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Greg
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Greg
Belding

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