I have had my ccnp, but have relatively limited exposure to network security sofar, but my new job would require strong skills in security.
Would anyone be able to recommend a book or two for me to read? I don't mind self-study to start with.
I recently completed my CCSP, I checked on Cisco site to see what was covered in each exam. Didn't get the book for SND or SNRS as I've got nearly 10 years experience with routers and switches, but did get the Cisco press ceritification guides for IPS, Firewall and VPN exams, worth getting if you're not too familiar with the kit.
In work I have some spare routers, 3550's and a pix 515 which are normally used for testing new configs/exam prep etc. If any spares are kept on site use them as hands on is essential.
One way of getting the experience if kit is not available is via Cisco's partner learning site
Their are labs available here using pix, asa's, concentrators etc - a login is required but working for a gold partner (Telstra) you might be able to get appropriate access.
Another learning aid is called dynamips
Very good for practicing on routers- all features and not just CCSP practice- without doing any damage (you also look busier than if sitting around with a book).
If using spares or dynamips use an up to date version of IOS, out of date knowledge and experience will not help very much.
Hope this helps but if you don't pass the exams on the first attempt (I didn't) try again in a week or two after some extra revision and practice.