Home on the Tech Data Cyber Range

I recently had the opportunity to visit an amazing new facility—the Cyber Range at Tech Data—and got to meet the truly exceptional people who make it happen. The facility has many purposes, stemming from the powerful sense of mission that drives the staff.

First, training. Black hat hackers are everywhere and hone their skills without regard to ethics or law. Ethical people, however, face a problem: learning to hack without breaking the law or cutting ethical corners. The answer? A cyber range, where good people can practice and learn skills but still sleep at night (and stay out of jail).

The skills shortage is particularly acute in the world of Federal cybersecurity. The topic arises in nearly every conference I attend in and around Washington, DC, and in numerous conversations with Federal cybersecurity professionals. The Tech Data Cyber Range addresses this problem head-on, providing a first-rate technical environment for the training and development of cybersecurity professionals.

The Range is a physically impressive facility, but you can learn skills and get the measure of the place without going there in person. The staff has cooked up a set of “capture the flag” (CTF) exercises that can be done remotely. Students can obtain and hone skills including incident response, vulnerability assessment, digital forensics, threat hunting, penetration testing, and ethical hacking.

Second, demonstrations. The Cyber Range lets cybersecurity companies demonstrate their software’s capabilities, but only the best products make it. Tech Data has hired some of the very best hackers in the world to put products through their paces, so you can count a demonstration of world-class products.

Third, engagement. The Range lets cybersecurity professionals engage with others in the field, through gamification (including physical lock-picking exercises -- at which I failed miserably!), tours, on-premise training, interactive learning and marketing events. They even have multi-colored stage lighting that can simulate an attack on IOT devices, and stimulate real thought on the significance of security, and whether they and their companies are truly prepared to respond to a serious attack.

Finally, security services. Partners and vendors can learn about and leverage Tech Data’s top-tier managed security services to improve their own security posture, or simply to expand their own capabilities.

The most impressive aspect of the Range, however, is the staff behind it. These people are truly driven by a sense of mission, a dedication to improving cybersecurity, tangibly and measurably. The Range is still relatively young, having been in operation only a few months. It is already a huge success, however, and it is clearly destined to accomplish more.

Don’t just take my word for it, check out all of Tech Data’s Cyber Range capabilities here.