N.E. Tech launches cybersecurity range to train for cyberattacks

Updated at 2:05 p.m.

THE NEW ENGLAND INSTITUTE of Technology has launched a cybersecurity training range that helps prepare students to understand and address cyberattacks. / COURTESY NEW ENGLAND INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
THE NEW ENGLAND INSTITUTE of Technology has launched a cybersecurity training range that helps prepare students to understand and address cyberattacks. / COURTESY NEW ENGLAND INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

EAST GREENWICH – The New England Institute of Technology has launched a new training range to help students understand and be ready for when a cyberattack strikes a certain business or industry.

The new range New England Tech has developed, which Israel-based software company Cyberbit is partnering with, is a state-of-the-art virtual simulation training platform for students and information technology professionals. It offers various exercises that mimic high-pressure situations brought on by a cyberattack that the students could face out in the real world and how they need to respond to them.

According to New England Tech, the White House recently declared that there is a national skills gap within cybersecurity. According to Cyberbit, employer surveys indicate that 95% of cybersecurity professionals feel graduates lack experiential skills and experience to be productive when entering the workforce. As a result, employees would need several months of skill building, the company said.

Timothy Henry, New England Tech’s Cybersecurity Center director, told Providence Business News Friday that the new range will help shrink the existing skills gap. He said New England Tech has understood the problem for a while given that the technical college launched the state’s first bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity a decade ago.

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But, Henry said New England Tech needs to expand its capacity with the cybersecurity program it offers, and the new cybersecurity range will allow the college to do that.

In a statement, New England Tech Vice President of Community Relations Amy Gryzbowski said the new cybersecurity range will also support the college’s relationships with local industries to minimize the skills gaps they are currently facing.

“Employers are in dire need of workforce-ready cyber talent. By integrating this cyber range into our program, NEIT will provide the industry with better qualified cybersecurity graduates who are ready to contribute from day-one of employment.”

The range will help students be trained in addressing cyberattacks for a wide range of industries, not just the technology sector, Henry said. He also said the training range can provide a “rich library” of opportunities for digital forensics, which is part of the investigation process to aid local law enforcement. A lot of crime nowadays involves digital evidence, Henry said.

“This is allowing us to vastly expand our library of digital forensics exercises for our students,” he said. “We can work with local law enforcement agents and give them the opportunity to learn in certain scenarios if they’re interested in it too.”

Henry said it has an $800,000 investment with Cyberbit for New England Tech to launch the cybersecurity training range. He also said 120 students are currently enrolled in the program, and the college is looking to double that enrollment within the next three years. He also hopes additional students, including some graduate students, will be attracted to the program.

“We’re trying to get more advanced lab projects so students can do incident response for larger enterprises,” Henry said.

(UPDATED to include cost of launching the program and its enrollment)

James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at Bessette@PBN.com. You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette.

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