Security's new training center, a first of its kind

Tech partners join together to offer a new training solution to the skills gap problem

Air Force Research Lab drone testing
Todd Jenkins, the Small Unmanned Systems Exploitation (SUSEX) Program Manager and a member of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Sensors Directorate, points out the center point of the circular flight path of Bat 04, an unmanned aerial vehicle, while keeping an eye on its video feed during Autonomy for Adaptive Collaborative Sensing (AACS) Program’s testing and evaluation exercise on Sept. 24, 2015, at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Butlerville, Ind. Credit: Brad Staggs/DOD

Baltimore announced some exciting news yesterday. Electronic Technology Associates (ETA) and Cyberbit have partnered together in a new adventure, launching the first stand alone hands-on cybersecurity training center in the U.S.

The new ETA Cyber Range aims to address the continued need for skilled talent. Additionally, the training center will instruct cybersecurity professionals in protecting national assets and infrastructure against cyberattacks with the goal of creating the opportunity for up to 100 new jobs.

Using a simulation and training environment, the platform enables security teams to train in realistic settings so that practitioners can respond faster and more effectively to complex and advanced attacks. 

While response time is critical, there are other skills that security professionals need in order to ward off threats like ransomware. One oft overlooked yet crucial skill is the ability to work together as a team. And it took a team of passionate technology professionals and partners to bring this center to fruition.

There are lots of actors who aided in the center's development. ETA will own and operate the center, and Cyberbit's Cyber Range platform will be used to run the simulated testing, but they recognize the important role investors play in turning ideas into the tangible. One of the center's key investors is the Maryland/Israel Development Center, a non-profit organization which works to create jobs in both Maryland and Israel.

Why Maryland? It's partly about geography, but it's also home to ETA's founder and CEO Bruce Spector. Baltimore has seen an increase in cybersecurity innovators moving into town, as is to be expected with a cybersecurity center located so close to the nation's capital. In many ways, the center is about strengthening cybersecurity at home.

It's not only private enterprises that need to protect and defend sensitive information, but there's something about the public sector organizations that make managing their infrastructure all the more critical.

Unfortunately, though, many of these organizations lack the resources necessary to hire the staff they need to in order to quickly identify and respond to an attack before data is stolen. Cyberbit’s CEO Adi Dar: “By training and simulating the response process in advance, security staff can dramatically improve their performance. I am looking forward to helping Baltimore’s industry create top-notch security experts by means of the Range platform.”

A lot about this center appeals to me because it seems to have the little guy in mind. A woman owned organization funded by the Maryland Department of Commerce, Israel's Ministry of Economy, and The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore for the benefit of public organizations. Even more, they want to create jobs. 

They want to bring those jobs to Baltimore to provide opportunities to the people at home. "Baltimore is taking a giant leap forward in creating a workforce to address the cybersecurity skills gap and make sure that those teams are prepared for whatever hackers think up next," said Stephen Thomas, vice president of sales at Cyberbit

Organizations can't afford to have cybersecurity practitioners learning on the job. "One of the most effective approaches to building skilled talent to combat these cyberthreats is through rigorous simulation training," said Thomas.

"The new ETA Cyber Range in Baltimore will focus on simulation training for individuals and the teams they operate with" said Thomas, which will hopefully work to better defend and protect the home front. 

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