Four Reasons Your Security Team Should Be Training on a Cyber Range

It seems that every other week another mega-breach is making headlines. Cyber teams barely have time to bolster their cyber defenses before a new attack vector is revealed. It is nearly impossible for teams to train in such a rapidly evolving threat landscape through traditional lecture-based methods. Today’s threats demand an immediate shift in approach.

The next generation of cybersecurity training involves active learning through realistic, immersive training missions performed in high-fidelity cyber ranges. These virtual environments, which replicate actual enterprise environments, allow cyber warriors to practice with real-world tools defending against simulated threats.

Here are four reasons why you should consider modernizing your cybersecurity training program by implementing a cyber range-based approach:

1) Authenticity – The most critical aspect of any cybersecurity training program is that it provides an authentic experience to the trainee. The cyber threat landscape changes rapidly so your training must be agile and responsive. Face-to-face simulation exercises attempt to replicate this experience and certainly go beyond what is offered in a classroom. However, they must be updated frequently to be truly impactful, which isn’t realistic.

Additionally, these table-top drills address an incident in theory. Cyber ranges allow a team to practice identifying and mitigating threats in a replicated environment using real-world tools. True-to-life representations of network, host traffic, and user activity more effectively challenge professionals to consistently hone their skills. This authentic experience ensures a cyber team is ready to act quickly and effectively when the time comes.

2) Repetition – Studies show that information loss following lecture-based learning is rapid—as much as 90 percent within the first week, according to Learning Solutions Magazine. However, when applying the principles of active learning through doing and repetition, long-term information retention increases to 75 percent (National Training Laboratories Institute). This means security professionals who are actively training in cyber ranges are more likely to retain—and be able to act upon—the skills they acquire. Therefore, they are better prepared for attacks and able to respond more quickly to mitigate threats, ultimately saving their organizations money in the long run.

3) Scale – Even a top-notch course is limited in value if it cannot scale to train all personnel. Week-long trainings out of the office offer point-in-time content and take critical resources away that can leave your organization vulnerable. A cyber range enables security leaders to train teams of any size—from individual skill-building exercises to full-scale missions involving both red and blue teams. Additionally, instruction can happen on demand—weekly or even daily—without taking cyber defenders away from the front lines.

4) Gamification – Much has been said in the last five to ten years about gamification and its role in motivating teams. Cybersecurity professionals, perhaps more so than any other type of team, crave the agility, technical prowess and competition that comes with their roles. If they are not engaged in the cyber fight, they want to train in a way that is meaningful and have a record of progress and growth. Cyber ranges give teams a platform to engage as teams in gamified training. Red teams and blue teams can train head-to-head in real-world scenarios. Also, range-based platforms like Circadence® Project Ares® provide security leaders and team members with full visibility into skills progression.

As the technology landscape grows in complexity, enterprises, more than ever, are relying on people as their first line of defense. This approach demands a shift in our approach to training cyber professionals. It’s no longer enough for cybersecurity professionals to attend yearly or quarterly trainings. Professionals need realistic, immersive and responsive training achieved through cyber ranges.

Malicious hackers are persistent; our training must be as well. By utilizing cyber ranges, we can begin modernizing our approach. Contact the team at Circadence for more information on range-based cybersecurity training with Project Ares.

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