The phrase “practice makes perfect” is misleading. There is no perfect. However, good practice makes you better and allows you to both hone and check your skills – and one of the best ways to practice is on a scale. If you want to improve your golf skills, you go to the driving range. If you want to improve your marksmanship, you go to a shooting range.
You may not think of cybersecurity the same way, but the same principle applies. Businesses today must defend a complex and expanding attack surface against sophisticated adversaries and a formidable threat landscape. You certainly don’t want to wait until you’re in the middle of an active cyberattack to learn the hard way that you’re not as prepared as necessary. An environment that allows you to develop and validate your cybersecurity skills is invaluable.
You need a cyber range.
the real thing
There’s a common saying that you can’t learn to ride a bike by reading a book about it. Likewise, you won’t get any strength or fitness values from watching a YouTube video on proper form for pushups. Some things must be done to fully understand them or derive value from them. You can study theories and follow the movements, but nothing beats reality.
What makes a range valuable is that it allows you to work on tactics and techniques in an environment that is relatively close – or at least very similar – to the real-life scenario in which you will put those skills to good use. Hitting a real golf ball with a real golf club or shooting a real gun at a target develops muscle memory and gives you first-hand experience that is invaluable when you need to put those skills to use in the real world.
Ranges also allow you to rate and evaluate equipment. You can try out different golf clubs or golf balls to see how they work or test out different guns or ammunition to see which ones work best or which ones you prefer.
Similarly, a cyber range should also emulate a real computing environment as much as possible. It should provide realistic network traffic and accurately emulate the behavior of the network, users, and malicious actors. Ideally, it should be an open, expandable, high-fidelity platform that provides the flexibility to train in a variety of scenarios.
A cyber range is multifaceted and allows a variety of training or validation scenarios. Red teams can practice hacking skills. Blue Teams can train against live cyber attack scenarios. Organizations can assess security controls and configurations to validate security posture.
It is important that the cyber range environment and traffic is as realistic as possible. It should mirror real-world scenarios as closely as possible to enable security professionals to develop critical skills and empower you to perform product and team assessments that drive continuous improvement in your security posture. .
Are your cybersecurity tools and controls adequate to defend against the overwhelming volume of sophisticated threats? Does your IT security team have the knowledge and experience to detect and respond to targeted cyber threats? How do you know?
If you wait until you need a skill or tool, it’s already too late. You need to research, learn the techniques, and work from the start to be ready when needed. A cyber range can play a vital role in optimizing your security readiness and ensuring you are prepared.