Palo Alto opens European Cyber RangeSecurity vendor Palo Alto Networks has launched its new Cyber Range initiative. It has opened its first European Cyber Range in Amsterdam. This is the fourth Cyber Range the company owns. It already has two facilities in the USA at Reston, VA and Santa Clara, California. It also has a Cyber Range in Sydney, Australia. The company plans to open facilities in a number of additional locations around the world.

According to Mark McLaughlin, chairman and chief executive officer, Palo Alto Networks: “Addressing cyber threats is only possible by combining innovative technology, skilled security professionals, and effective security best practices. Palo Alto Networks Cyber Range tests all three, helping security professionals stay ready to defend against increasingly complex and skilled adversaries.

“With cyber skills in short supply globally, Palo Alto Networks is working with its customers to give security professionals the capabilities, as well as the tools, to prevent successful cyberattacks.”

What is a Cyber Range?

Mark McLaughlin, chairman and chief executive officer, Palo Alto Networks
Mark McLaughlin, chairman and chief executive officer, Palo Alto Networks

A Cyber Range is a dedicated training facility that allows cybersecurity teams to practice their skills. They take part in a simulations which involve a number of different scenarios over several hours. They might find themselves defending a malware outbreak on a network or dealing with a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack.

Attendees can also find themselves in scenarios where they face multiple simultaneous attacks. This tests the ability of a team to identify and prioritise different attacks. Organisations can also ask for specific types of scenarios or even have a session based on previous attacks they have faced.

Palo Alto is doing something different from many of the other Cyber Range vendors in the market. It is opening up its range so that multiple individuals from different companies can take part in the same exercise. This is important as it allows attendees to learn from their peers in the market.

During the scenarios the attendees might find themselves playing the part of defender or attacker. This is important. Good cybersecurity teams need to understand how both sides think. This will enable them to think like an attacker when they are dealing with an attack on their network.

What does this mean?

Most of the large cybersecurity vendors now have, or have announced plans for, Cyber Range facilities. Cybersecurity requires constant education to keep skills up to date. Classroom training has its place but practical work that relates to real-world situation is more effective.

Several of the Cyber Range owners are expanding their services to accommodate management teams as well. This allows organisations to practice their entire incident response process from attack through to media training. For management teams who need to understand that an incident is not just about stopping an attack, these sessions can be daunting.

This is a good move by Palo Alto. Making it accessible to individuals rather than just companies will also help individuals improve their cybersecurity skills.

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