Virginia Cyber Range to grow under new agreement

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Virginia’s new cybersecurity training platform is set to grow statewide thanks to a partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The Virginia Cyber Range is a hands-on laboratory for cybersecurity students in the commonwealth. Currently in its beta-testing phase, the range already is serving about 250 cybersecurity students enrolled in three courses at Virginia Tech and James Madison University. The cyber range provides students access to hands-on lab exercises through their web browsers.

The partnership with AWS will help the cyber range expand for use by students at universities and colleges across Virginia, as well as to high school students by fall 2017.

“The benefit of that is that the school doesn’t have to host [the technology] themselves,” says David Raymond, director of the Virginia Cyber Range. “Normally to do this sort of thing you would purchase a bunch of servers, you’d install a bunch of software, you’d have system administrators that you pay to keep this environment up and running. With the Virginia Cyber Range, we can provide this resource across the commonwealth.”

That will especially be helpful to cybersecurity classes being offered to high school students, where the expense required to create these types of hands-on training is prohibitive. The range is planning to expand to high school students through teacher trainings and cybersecurity camps offered this summer.

Courses and labs are created by faculty and are available to other educators using the site, says Raymond. It also gives students easy web access to training, whereas they previously might need high-powered laptops or computers in a lab.

The Virginia Cyber Range is supported with $2 million in Virginia’s current two-year budget and is designed to grow Virginia’s cybersecurity workforce.

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