Continuous On-Demand Training Is the Only Way Forward For Cybersecurity Readiness
Taavi MustTaavi Must

Continuous On-Demand Training Is the Only Way Forward For Cybersecurity Readiness

By Taavi Must, CEO and Co-Founder, RangeForce

The days of sending cybersecurity personnel away for five days once a year for product-focused training from security vendors or a SANS course are making way for continuous, on-demand upskilling using realistic cyberattack scenarios and emulated technology stacks.

When Dataport established a security operations center in 2018 using existing employees from other IT roles, it took a three-pronged approach to bolster its cybersecurity awareness and response posture. The mid-sized German IT service provider, which caters to the public sector, focused on internal mentoring, traditional in-person training and a cybersecurity-readiness platform to better detect and defend against attacks and protect its customers’ digital sovereignty.

Dataport turned to RangeForce’s cybersecurity upskilling solutions as that third pillar, and its cybersecurity readiness has improved immeasurably since the engagement started in 2020. Dataport has transformed a team without any experience in running a security operations center into one of the top-performing teams using those offerings. That progress affirms the value of continuous development and assessment of cybersecurity skills using real-world threat scenarios for organizations confronting a constantly changing security landscape in which humans are the weakest link. The 2022 ISG Provider Lens™ Cybersecurity — Solutions and Services report for Germany also documents the need for more training:  The war in Ukraine, disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the increasing digitization of enterprises have expanded attack surfaces and resulted in more cybersecurity breaches there.

Today, Dataport is able to tap innovative, interactive and on-demand training solutions that are available 24/7 for individual skills development and benefit from team threat exercises. RangeForce works with Dataport to identify skills gaps and target training. Expert-created modules cover a range of cybersecurity knowledge levels and are released weekly with content mapped to industry frameworks such as MITRE ATT&CK and MITRE D3FEND.

Team threat exercises, meanwhile, test Dataport’s coordination under pressure in realistic, but controlled, threat environments. Its teams use emulated networks with commercial and open-source solutions on RangeForce’s cloud infrastructure, where they can experience simulated threats, vulnerabilities and cyberattacks, and defend against them just as they would in the real world. Teams can choose from more than 15 prebuilt attack scenarios, from ransomware to data exfiltration to web defacement, based on team type and level of difficulty. After putting their skills and processes to the test, Dataport receives assessments of how well its teams should perform when dealing with actual attacks on their infrastructure or customers’ infrastructures, along with follow-up recommendations to improve their cyber readiness and benchmark it against peers.

Since its initial RangeForce implementation, Dataport’s platform adoption has grown three-fold with participation from security analysts and incident response and engineering operations teams. Dataport employees have completed thousands of hours of hands-on training that otherwise would be cost-prohibitive in terms of the required in-house expertise and effort to build out modules and simulated tech stack environments.

During team threat exercises, at least 90 percent of customer teams are unable to pinpoint attacks until they’re provided some information via email into the threat environments. In Dataport’s most recent threat exercise, however, both participating teams identified the attack and immediately started defending against it without that added intel.

A continual learning approach to cybersecurity readiness is paying dividends for Dataport and should be the way forward for all organizations. It’s the only way to keep up to date with current threats while developing new employee skills and honing existing ones to keep cybersecurity teams at the top of their games.

About the Author

Continuous On-Demand Training Is the Only Way Forward For Cybersecurity ReadinessTaavi Must is CEO and Co-Founder of RangeForce, a leading provider of scalable, cloud-based, cyber defense upskilling solutions. He has more than 20 years of experience in enterprise technology development and leadership for global companies including Dell Technologies and Oracle. He previously served as managing director for ByteLife Solutions.

Taavi can be reached online at https://www.linkedin.com/in/taavimust and at our company website https://www.rangeforce.com/.

June 18, 2023

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