Cybersecurity is no longer the exclusive domain of IT. Instead, it’s the responsibility of everyone in the company, from customer service reps to the CEO.
Cybercriminals can penetrate 93% of company networks, with 71% of these infiltrations made possible by compromising employee credentials. In addition, phishing and social engineering can target anyone, meaning everyone needs cybersecurity training. Plus, weak passwords can be brute-forced with simple dictionary lists without communicating with an employee.
Yet, how many times have employees already been told not to click strange links in emails or to ‘make strong passwords’ without understanding why? Traditional cybersecurity training is dull, plain and simple. Reading over policies and best practices doesn’t impart the real-world impact behind a data breach, ransomware attacks (up 435%), or clicking on that strange link.
Understanding the importance of cybersecurity is why many companies embrace cloud-based cyber range solutions to train everyone, from SOC engineers to accountants. Additionally, virtualized cyber ranges give cybersecurity professionals a training ground to hone their skills in an active environment that doesn’t interact with the live network.
It’s time to examine why cloud-based cyber ranges are a powerful training tool for everyone in the company. First, we’ll discuss how they work and then dive into the meaningful benefits that cloud-based cyber range solutions offer to organizations.
A cloud-based cyber range is a virtualized environment composed of simulated machines and networking equipment. The cyber test range aims to imitate the company’s current live network or test a design for a network upgrade. The faux network can then be attacked and defended to test its resilience or give employees a safe place to see the real-world impacts of cyberattacks.
Think about how a shooting range allows marksmen to test their skills in a controlled environment. Every military in the world has shooting ranges to help impart and refine essential skills. Cyber ranges embrace this same idea – test and hone skills when there’s no threat to worry about.
Cyber range training allows IT professionals and employees to explore cybersecurity concepts in a simulated environment that won’t impact anything that matters. For example, malware can run in a cloud-based cyber range and wreak havoc on the network without touching the live infrastructure that powers the company. Once the training is complete, the simulation can simply be reset, and another scenario can be explored.
There are many good reasons why so many companies are moving to cloud-based cyber security labs to train employees and cybersecurity professionals alike. Let’s discuss some of the meaningful benefits of using cloud-based cyber ranges.
It’s hard to understand the reasoning behind cybersecurity policies for non-technical staff. For example, you can tell everyone to create a strong password and set password policies, but many employees will think it’s annoying and pointless. The same thing goes for training employees about phishing and social engineering attacks – they’ll think, ‘does this even matter?’
Using a cloud-based training environment gives employees a simulated desktop, and they can see what happens if they click on a suspicious link. They can directly experience a ransomware attack and see how easy it is for one wrong move to jeopardize the entire company.
You can run all types of cyber attacks that involve the employee as the point of failure, but instead of telling them not to do something, tell them to do it and see what happens. This hands-on, real-world experience makes a much more significant impact than reading a PDF of best practices.
Cyber ranges aren’t new; they’re a time-honored testing ground for cybersecurity professionals. A cyber range creates a network that isn’t connected to the company’s live network and allows cybersecurity engineers to test and improve their security.
However, legacy cyber ranges use the in-house infrastructure, meaning physical machines and networking hardware need to be set up. It can take days or weeks to create a test network, plus everything needs to be reset to test new scenarios.
Conversely, a cloud-based environment can be spun up within a few minutes. After a scenario or training session finishes, it can be spun down, and a new environment can be created. These new cyber ranges have the same utility as legacy ranges without draining time and money.
Hands-on learning means engaged learning, which is essential to creating a cybersecurity-focused company culture. Whether you’re teaching non-technical staff or providing advanced training to IT professionals, you can’t beat direct experience.
A cloud-based cyber range allows everyone to play with a system that mimics a live system. We talked about employees clicking on strange links, but cybersecurity professionals can test new technologies, strategies, and policies to see how they work in a “real” environment. Cloud-based cyber ranges give your IT staff a place to test new defenses.
Cloud-based ranges create an opportunity to gamify cybersecurity training. For example, you can run AI-powered attacks and test the skills of your IT department to prevent them. If they fail, there’s no harm done, and they’ll be more prepared for the following scenario.
This benefit is focused on cybersecurity professionals but can also apply to non-technical employees. Have employees go through an email inbox and identify phishing and social engineering attempts. It’s okay if they’re wrong and trigger a ransomware attack; now, they’re more prepared for the real world.
A running theme is that nothing that happens on a cloud-based cyber range matters throughout all of the above benefits. It’s a contained network that doesn’t interact with the live infrastructure.
Virtualized networks allow IT professionals to test any new strategies or security software to see it in action without modifying a live network. For example, IT professionals can intentionally install malware on the cloud-based range and test ways to stop and remove it without any chance of harming the live system.
Ready to reap all of the benefits we talked about above? You’ll need a trusted cyber range partner that provides easy-to-use cloud-based environments.
CloudShare’s cloud-based cyber range creates a simple way to create virtual environments that can be reused with every new scenario. We provide a simplified and safe environment for IT professionals to test their incident responses, train non-technical staff on cybersecurity policies, or let you spin up demos of your cybersecurity solution to showcase to potential clients.
Ready to see how CloudShare can revolutionize your cybersecurity training programs? Book a demo today to discover how we can transform the way you deliver cybersecurity training.