Palo Alto Networks, a leading global cybersecurity provider has opened a Cyber Range facility in Sydney.

If you don’t know what a Cyber Range is (Website here), think of it as a rifle range where cybercriminals are the targets, and you learn how to shoot them.

Why a Cyber Range in Sydney, Australia?

“By providing permanent Cyber Range capabilities in Australia we are working to build and improve effective local skills to meet cybersecurity challenges,” said Mark McLaughlin, vice chairman, Palo Alto Networks.

“Cybercriminals are becoming better funded, more sophisticated, automated, and more strategic in their attacks. The financial, reputational, and operational ramifications of a successful attack can be severe. There is only one way to protect against these threats. Not just to keep pace with the criminals but outrun them,” he said.

“You [Australia] need better skills and a deeper understanding of how to win the battle. These and other cyberskills in such short supply globally. So, Palo Alto Networks is working with the industry to give security professionals the capabilities and tools to prevent successful cyberattacks,” he added.

The global cybersecurity skills gap is widening. Australia has a real shortage of skills.

ABC News recently reported that the demand for skills in the sector had outstripped anyone’s ability to produce skilled candidates. A recent Government report estimated Australia would need another 11,000 cybersecurity specialists over the next decade.

More TAFEs and universities offer specialised course but it is not enough. It is up to the private sector to provide more on-the-job – guerrilla tactics style – training.

Palo Alto has taken a step towards closing the skills gap. The Cyber Range provides a unique opportunity for businesses to proactively evolve their employees’ cybersecurity skills. It also provides a testing ground for those who want to repurpose their talents for cyber roles.

Palo Alto Networks Cyber Ranges are dedicated training facilities where Asia-Pacific IT and security teams can practice their skills using network simulations and cyberattack exercises.

Cyber Range instructors simulate network functions and traffic to create a realistic network experience. This focused team-building experience gives participants timely training on the very latest threats and most advanced real-world malware, such as ransomware.

At the Cyber Range, participants are challenged to maintain the availability, scalability, security, and stability of the network and application infrastructure most often targeted and affected by cyberattacks.

By combining different teams and personalities, the Cyber Range experience provides different perspectives and ideas. These can help expand professionals’ understanding of cyber risks and ways to combat them using security best practices.