New real-world cybersecurity training range opens in South Florida

The next-gen cybersecurity training facility is aimed at filling the cybersecurity skill gaps that currently exist globally. …

A new cybersecurity training range with a software platform powered by Cyberoperations Enhanced Network and Training Simulators (CyberCents) has opened in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The next-gen training facility at the Alan B. Levan Center at Nova Southeastern University is aimed at filling the cybersecurity skill gaps that currently exist globally. It’s located at the NSU Broward Center of Innovation, an economic and education development engine in South Florida.

As the cyber threat environment grows more intense, industry and government groups tasked with cyber defense are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit and hire trained security professionals. Having a degree in cybersecurity does not guarantee the individual has the skills required for mitigating sophisticated attacks. Such skills require training in realistic breach scenarios.

Day-to-day work in cybersecurity offers few opportunities for such training on the job, so a “cyber range” offers an alternative. Modeled on the physical shooting ranges used by police and the military, a cyber range creates a training space that simulates a wide range of security incidents, allowing cybersecurity professionals to practice and learn how to respond effectively.

Training exercises on ‘military-grade’ platform

The Levan Center’s model includes a purpose-built, military-grade, non-networked cybersecurity range that serves the student population as well as industry and government partners. The CyberCents software and stress training provide users with a lifelike experience for cyber training exercises and experimentation. The infrastructure supports training, certifications, and research and development, with a focus on targeted industries and critical infrastructure.

In addition to serving as a launchpad for entrepreneurs, the Levan Center is also addressing the cyber skills talent gap by collaborating with industry and government partners to develop short-term training opportunities. The programs help support various roles within the cybersecurity industry, including intelligence, operations, security operations, and security services.

Unlike other innovation centers, incubators, or accelerators, the Levan Center includes an off-the-grid cybersecurity room that will be used to train the full spectrum of cybersecurity — including entry-, mid-, and advanced-level professionals. The initiative provides a space for industry and government entities to upskill their current teams, conduct tabletop exercises, and assess team members or potential candidates on their skills and areas of expertise. The program also includes cyber-related events, panel discussions, and networking opportunities.

The program features a cybersecurity facility that houses 12 training stations each equipped with three monitors per station, accommodating 12 to 24 participants, and ten observation seats. The facility also has its own data room separate from existing networks and includes a video wall with secured access, creating a war-room feel with dimmable lighting and dark walls. Program offerings will be available both on-premises and virtually.

The Levan Center is a public-private partnership between Broward County and Nova Southeastern University that opened in September of this year.

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