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Cybersecurity is a rapidly changing field, with new threats and vulnerabilities emerging daily. As such, it’s critical for individual practitioners and cybersecurity teams to stay abreast of the latest developments in the security space and keep up-to-date on the latest techniques and best practices for protecting against cyber attacks. This is where a cyber range can be an invaluable tool to cybersecurity organizations.

A cyber range is an interactive, simulated environment that provides hands-on training, testing, and demonstration of cyber defense and cybersecurity skills. It allows organizations to create a digital twin of their production environment and replicate real-world attack scenarios, so individuals and teams can practice and improve their cybersecurity response capabilities in a safe, controlled environment.

In this article, we’ll explore the components of a cyber range and the benefits of using one for cybersecurity training.

Components of a cyber range

Offerings vary, but in general, a cyber range will include a few key components, such as:

  • Virtualized environment - The basis of any cyber range is a virtual environment. This can be as simple as a single workstation or as advanced as a high-fidelity digital twin of an entire production network. Regardless of complexity, this simulation provides users with a virtual environment to practice identifying and mitigating cyber threats in a safe, controlled space.
  • Attack simulations - Cyber ranges are populated with realistic, simulated cyber attacks, often generated from current threat intelligence. This ensures that scenarios encountered in the range are up-to-date and relevant, allowing individuals and organizations to prepare for the latest threats. The most sophisticated cyber ranges will include a variety of attacks, such as advanced persistent threats (APTs), insider threats, zero-day, and nation-state level attacks
  • Tools and resources - A cyber range will typically include common cybersecurity tools, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and security information and event management (SIEM) systems. The better the range, the more users can customize these tools to match their real-world tools. Some cyber ranges even go as far as allowing users to connect their real-world tools and physical infrastructure to create a high-fidelity digital twin of their production environment.

Basic cyber ranges may feature some of these components. However, to capitalize on the full potential of a range, organizations will want to look for a solution that provides full customization so they can tailor it to align with their strategic requirements.

Use cases for a cyber range

Cyber ranges are the ultimate tool for organizations to test their cybersecurity capabilities and drive continuous security improvement. How a range is used will change based on the organization, but in most cases, ranges are used to:

  • Improve cyber defense skills - The main reason for using a cyber range is to help individuals and teams train and improve their cybersecurity skills. Security teams can practice identifying and defending against real-world threats, vulnerabilities, and attack scenarios - all in a safe, controlled environment. This type of hands-on training is essential for improving cyber defense skills, as it allows individuals to apply what they have learned in real-world scenarios and see the results of their actions.
  • Enhance team collaboration - Cyber ranges move cybersecurity training past the classroom and put hands on keyboards. This kind of real-world, simulated training encourages collaboration and communication between team members, which in turn can improve overall response time and accuracy. By working together in various ways, cybersecurity teams can identify areas for improvement and develop better communication strategies to respond to future threats.
  • Reduce the risk of a real cyber attack - Practicing in a high-fidelity cyber range that mimics a production environment can help organizations identify and resolve potential weaknesses before they are exploited in a real-world attack. This proactive approach to cyber defense helps to reduce the risk of a successful attack and improves overall cybersecurity posture.
  • Validate security stack and tools - Cyber ranges can help strengthen existing security stacks by making it easy to add and test new tools inside the simulation. Security teams can use a high-fidelity digital twin of their existing production environment to see how a new tool will integrate with their current stack or determine if an existing tool can be removed, all without affecting day-to-day operations. Using a cyber range for this style of optimization is an effective way to reduce cyber operational costs.

Who can benefit from a cyber range?

In the face of ever-growing cyber attacks and increasing geopolitical unrest, cyber ranges are fast becoming an essential tool for a variety of organizations, including:

  • Cybersecurity teams - Cybersecurity professionals get bogged down in the details of day-to-day operations and have minimal opportunity to practice defending against incidents that impact business operations. Furthermore, few teams face sophisticated attacks, meaning they simply aren’t getting any practical experience defending against them. Practicing in a high-fidelity simulation provided by a cyber range is one of the best, if not only, ways for a team to train together and improve their individual and collective cyber skills so they’re ready to defend their organization, should the time come.
  • Government agencies - Government departments, including military and national intelligence agencies, are a common target for cyber attacks from nation-state-sponsored malicious actors. To defend against this myriad of threats, government entities, such as the Persistent Cyber Training Environment (PCTE), are increasingly using cyber ranges to provide environments to train at the individual, team, and force levels. Government agencies can reduce the risk of a successful attack and improve their overall cybersecurity posture by using a range.
  • Companies in regulated industries - With new government regulations cropping up on a seemingly regular basis, regulated industries, such as financial services, insurance, and healthcare, are under more scrutiny than ever. With a cyber range, these organizations can enable their personnel to engage in realistic cyber readiness assessments and map performance to critical compliance mandates. Using the most sophisticated ranges, companies can generate reports that map to common standards, including MITRE, NIST, CMMC, FFIEC, PCI-DSS, SOC2, SOX, and HITRUST, and many more industry-specific regulations.
  • Education institutions - Educational institutions are also adopting the use of cyber ranges, as they provide an excellent opportunity for students to get hands-on experience in a simulated environment. This type of training is essential for preparing students for cybersecurity careers, and helps bridge the gap between the classroom and the real world.

From cybersecurity teams to government agencies, anyone who has a hand in defending against cyber attacks can benefit from using a cyber range, making it an essential tool for the modern world.


Cyber ranges are essential for organizations looking to enhance their cybersecurity posture. Now, more than ever, with cyber attacks reaching an all-time high, it is critical for companies and government agencies to prepare for any number of threats. And the best way for organizations to strengthen their defenses is in a high-fidelity simulation of their environment, where they can practice realistic scenarios and receive hands-on training, all in a safe, controlled environment.

Blog byShelby Verciglio
Shelby Verciglio
Shelby Verciglio
Shelby Verciglio is a Digital Marketing Manager at SimSpace Corporation where she creates and contributes to a variety of digital marketing collateral. Before SimSpace she worked as a marketing manager at several B2B companies. Shelby holds a bachelor’s degree from Auburn University.