In response to the booming demand for cybersecurity professionals, colleges and universities across the country are bolstering cybersecurity tracks within computer science curricula and even opening dedicated cybersecurity degree programs. Young people hoping to gain a fast track entrance into this exciting field are seeking out educational programs that will launch their careers. Many institutions of higher education are opening on-campus cyber ranges to give students the hands-on experience that will make them highly sought after when they graduate. A Cyber Range is a simulation platform used to train and assess cybersecurity students and experienced cybersecurity professionals in a true-to-life IT environment that realistically simulates multiple cyberattack scenarios. The benefits of a campus cyber range are numerous and compelling, so while most every college or university with a cybersecurity focus will have a cyber range within the next few years, the critical question remains – to buy a commercial cyber range solution or try to build your own?
Cyberbit has recently published a new white paper specifically to help institutions of higher education weigh the pros and cons of building versus buying an off-the-shelf cyber range.
Watch: Regent University Launches World-Class Cyber Range
Campus Cyber Range Requirements Checklist
Before making the decision whether to build or buy, you must carefully consider all the use cases of your cyber range and then develop a list of essential components and capabilities. Below is a list of components and capabilities that your cyber range needs to have:
|Virtualized Networks||Provide a realistic environment mirroring an |
|Training Scenarios||Execute a wide range of repeatable training |
sessions simulating multiple attack scenarios
for multiple roles.
|Attack Machine||Design new training scenarios in a straightforward |
manner and execute them in the
|Traffic Generator||Generate benign traffic in the simulated |
network to optimize the training experience.
|Training Setup Tools||Easily and rapidly set up a new training |
|Debriefing Tools||Provide effective post-training debriefing.|
|LMS Integration||Share qualification data between Learning |
Management Systems and the Cyber Range,
allowing students to independently go
through LMS-based training and participate
in related hands-on Range-based training.
|Assessment Tools||Assess individual and team performance.|
Benefits of DIY Campus Cyber Range
The main benefits of building your campus cyber range yourself are the ability to completely customize it to the exact needs of your students, faculty, and curricula. Much like building your own ‘dream home’ from the ground up, you will be able to build your cyber range exactly as you imagine it in your mind’s eye and to completely and perfectly meet everyone’s needs.
Disadvantages of DIY Campus Cyber Range
Everyone dreams of building their ‘dream home’, but experience teaches us that more often than not people end up feeling like they bit off more than they can chew. The amount of work involved can quickly become overwhelming, especially if you are not an expert architect or builder. The fact is, cyber range training, just like architecture, is a complex profession and expert training and experience are essential to planning and executing the project according to expectations and planned budget. The complexities and hidden costs of BYO are the main disadvantages of BYO. Unless you happen to have the in-house expertise and track record building customer cyber simulation ranges, you may decide this is best left to the experts.
Try Before You Buy
Perhaps the main advantage of buying a commercial cyber range is the ability to test it out before you make a decision. Range vendors can let you fully experience every aspect of the cyber range training experience before you buy. There is no better way to be absolutely sure that the solution will meet the needs and expectations of your college or university than taking it for a ‘test drive’.