Information security accreditation and certification body CREST has announced two new partnerships aimed at developing the cybersecurity skills of its members. The first is a partnership with cyber workforce optimization platform Immersive Labs to support the development of defensive and offensive security skills. The second is a collaboration with cybersecurity training and upskilling platform Hack The Box to assist the development of offensive security capabilities. Both will help CREST members prepare for CREST examinations, the company said. The partnerships come as cybersecurity skills and resources challenges continue to impact organizations across the globe.CREST-Immersive Labs partnership to provide threat simulations, mitigation techniquesCREST\u2019s partnership with Immersive Labs will see the latter provide access to hands-on simulations of threats and mitigation techniques, allowing those preparing for CREST examinations to exercise and improve capabilities in line with the certification framework, the firm stated in a press release. CREST will work with Immersive Labs to put a particular focus on incident response, mapping its online, on-demand content to the exam syllabus and delivering several bespoke learning pathways, it added.\u201cWe are delighted to be working with Immersive Labs to offer members a powerful, real-time alternative for ongoing skills development,\u201d said Rowland Johnson, president of CREST. \u201cImmersive Labs will be providing labs that are aligned to our examination framework and CREST accredited organizations will have free access to entry level labs. They will then have the option to gain access to a wider set of labs, at a reduced cost which will be aligned to our registered and certified level exams. This new partnership is not only providing our members with better access to training for CREST exams, but we also hope it will build a greater sense of community.\u201dCREST-Hack The Box partnership to deliver innovative, interactive approach to skills developmentCREST\u2019s partnership with Hack The Box will provide test labs tailored toward individuals who are planning to take CREST penetration testing and red-teaming examinations, the firm stated. CREST is currently working with Hack The Box to map its current content against the CREST exams to create fully bespoke labs that will cover the following exams:CREST Practitioner Security Analyst (CPSA)CREST Registered Security Analyst (CRSA)CREST Registered Penetration Tester (CRT)CREST Certified Tester (CCT \u2013 Web and Infrastructure)CREST Certified Simulated Attack Specialist (CCSAS)CREST Certified Simulated Attack Manager (CCSAM)Johnson said that the labs will cover all levels \u2013 from entry to advanced \u2013 and will be made available to both the CREST and Hack The Box communities. \u201cCREST accredited organizations will have free access to entry level labs, with the option to gain access to a wider set of labs, at a reduced cost, as a result of this new partner relationship,\u201d he added.Commenting, Hack The Box\u2019s Director of Operations Nikos Fountas said that the gamified labs will help to indicate if someone is at the right level to take and pass certain CREST exams.Skills shortages behind many cybersecurity challengesThe skills development partnerships have been announced a month after a report from cybersecurity vendor Fortinet discovered that many of the challenges organizations face in combating cybercrime are directly related to a lack of qualified cybersecurity professionals. In the 2022 Cybersecurity Skills Gap report, 60% of more than 1,200 IT and cybersecurity decision-makers said they struggle to recruit cybersecurity talent, with 52% struggling to retain qualified people once they have them. What\u2019s more, 67% of those surveyed agreed that the shortage of qualified cybersecurity candidates creates additional risks for their organizations.