How to Build a Cyber Range

For students and professionals who are learning how to protect organizations and their crucial operating data from breaches and attacks, an effective learning platform needs to be created wherein theoretical concepts can be put to the test in the real world, wherein all of the necessary tools, processes and techniques which can combat challenges and attacks that happen over in the real world are able to be used effectively – this happens in a place called the Cyber Range. Wherever in the world you look, you will find the example of a Cyber threat happening across industries. These can come in a variety of forms like data breaches, system outages, vulnerabilities, hacks and so forth. These threaten the integrity of critical organizations and the data that they possess.

There has been an explosion in the growth of Cyber Ranges of late, and many organizations have been showing interest in building and operating cyber ranges as a form of training. The simple key here is the element of practice. We have learnt from a long time that in order to become perfect, one must practice, and keep practicing over a prolonged period of time. This same principle can be applied to cyber threats and attacks. The main thing required for a proper cyber range is for an organization to be willing to risk their infrastructure and data for the sole purpose of training professionals to be able to learn how to defend the said infrastructure and data.

Let us look at the definition of a Cyber Range, and then look at some practical ways in which one can approach the topic of how to build a cyber range. A Cyber Range is defined as being a “simulation platform whose sole focus is the training and development of students looking to learn and become experts in the practice of cybersecurity against real world threats to the data of organizations. A cyber range gives students the flexibility of testing out technologies and defensive procedures an environment that is true to real life. A cyber range consists of technological packages and hardware equipment that can aid these students in their pursuit of mastery of cyber defensive arts. The specialty of a cyber range is that multiple types of cyber threats can be accurately simulated in this environment, and the students are given the same toolsets that the professionals use in the defense of organizations on a production level.

Building a cyber range involves a lot of costs, and if your organization is ready to bear the costs of the initial installation, the continuousmaintenance overhead, constant updating to keep abreast of the latest threats and technologies, and to ensure that every student is getting value out of the cyber security course, and more importantly, that the organization gets the full value out of the investment, then it is advisable to go ahead with building a cyber range. Otherwise it just makes sense for an organization to hire out a cyber range, which works out to be much more cost efficient, whilst still offering most of the benefits.