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The Need for Military-Grade Cyber Ranges in the US Energy Sector

Globally, hundreds of billions of dollars have been invested in both cybersecurity technology and personnel, yet successful attacks continue to increase each year. In part, this security breakdown is likely due to the technological fortifications in place. Many cybersecurity solutions with similar claims and overlapping offerings are currently available. However, their marketing assertions are made without a great deal of clarity in terms of actual security tool performance. Their spec sheets look great, but how do they perform on real networks with the attacks and settings not under the security vendor’s control? Furthermore, current cybersecurity product evaluations are very labor-intensive, time-consuming, and consequently cost-prohibitive because it is difficult to create representative lab environments that contain realistic traffic, customized attacks, and proven scoring metrics. Because cybersecurity is constantly changing and evolving, the relevance and usefulness of these expensive product tests rapidly fade over time.

Another gap in the cyber frontline is the realization that technology alone cannot fully counter a determined adversary; there are too many attack variants and exposed attack surfaces to keep pace with the enemy. Cybersecurity tools alone will help stop yesterday’s attacks, but without trained operators and tested processes, you cannot hope to fend off the more elusive cyber attacks. To make matters worse, regrettably, traditional IT security training is largely ineffective because it relies on sterile, mostly theoretical training. As a remedy, what is critically needed but generally unavailable or underutilized is practicedbased education that includes a certification process that asserts the hands-on practical application of defensive concepts. Consequently, there is a global shortage of proficient and qualified cybersecurity operators that can effectively operate cybersecurity tools and understand the workflows and procedures, particularly within the context of your enterprise.

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