The technological revolution has allowed businesses to improve their operations’ efficiency and productivity. However, this has also meant numerous digital security challenges to cope with. Hence, it’s critical for your organization and its employees to stay one step ahead and continually hone their cyber skills to prevent cyber threats.
That being said, many traditional security training programs fall short regarding hands-on learning experiences. They seldom offer the kind of real-world practicality that your employees need to excel at their jobs, stay current with industry best practices, and protect you from cybercriminals.
Hence, hands-on cyber security labs are a highly effective way for employees to master the skills they need to protect your business from sophisticated hackers and cyber attacks. The following part lists critical information on how hands-on cybersecurity training benefits your organization.
What is hands-on lab cybersecurity?
Hands-on lab cybersecurity is a special workspace where employees can test their skills and experiment with real-world scenarios similar to what they would encounter at work. They have the opportunity to interact with virtual machines (VMs) to mimic real-world operating systems and applications.
Besides, they are an excellent way to familiarize your employees with tools like crime data API, allowing them to evaluate raw crime data, statistics, and safety quality indexes (SQI).
They can also use mockup devices, such as security cameras to simulate the experience of working with real equipment and conducting various tests. Depending on your company’s needs and budget, a hands-on lab can be either physical or virtual.
How does a hands-on lab work?
A hands-on lab is custom-built to support the learning objectives of a specific cyber security training program. With a hands-on lab, you can organize courses to suit your particular needs and employee skill levels.
One course can cover the basics of network security, while another can focus on specific types of attacks, such as phishing and social engineering. In the process, your employees will gain the knowledge and skills they need to identify cyber-related risks and tackle these challenges head-on.
Here are some benefits of hands-on cybersecurity training.
Teach the basics of cybersecurity
A hands-on lab is a great way to teach employees about the basics of cybersecurity. You can start with a network simulation course, where employees configure virtual network devices, such as routers and switches, to create a simulated network.
Many courses also offer the option to run simulations. In these simulations, your employees will play the role of an attacker looking to infiltrate a network. This hands-on experience will help them understand how attackers gain access to networks and their techniques.
Learn about the risks of insecure behaviors
Another benefit of using a hands-on lab is it allows employees to learn the risks of insecure behaviors. In one simulation, for example, employees can simulate a real-life situation in which a customer is trying to access sensitive data. Employees can then use the mockup security cameras to review their actions and see how vulnerable they are.
In another simulation, they can play the role of a malicious attacker trying to hack into the network. The hands-on experience will help them identify their risky behaviors and make the necessary changes to secure their networks.
Help identify a skill gap in your team
A hands-on lab is also a great way to identify any skill gaps in your team. You can create a lab scenario in which your team members are tasked with completing a specific challenge. After they’ve finished, you can review their results and compare them to industry best practices.
If they’re falling short of the mark, you can use the lab to identify the areas where they need improvement. You can also create targeted training programs to help them develop the skills they need to excel at their jobs.
Help employees develop a strong defense instinct
Hands-on cybersecurity training is also a great way to help employees develop a strong defense instinct. In one simulation, for example, you can have your employees act as an administrator tasked with configuring a new piece of equipment.
In another simulation, they can play the role of a malicious employee trying to create a denial-of-service attack. In both cases, they will be given a limited amount of time to complete their tasks and instructed to ignore any alarms that go off.
In this way, they’ll experience the pressure of responding to an actual cyber attack and get a feel for how quickly they need to act to stop the attack and minimize its impact.
Let employees experience behaviors that may indicate a breach
When a breach or virus happens, it’s usually too late to prevent it from spreading. However, hands-on training can help employees experience the signs of a breach. Let’s say, for instance, that you are creating a fake environment in your lab where you can simulate one of the most common cyber threats, i.e., ransomware.
With this lab scenario, employees can practice how to identify and shut down a breach before it becomes a significant issue. This way, they can experience and learn what to expect in real-life situations. With more hands-on training, employees will be more prepared to react to cybercrime.
As one can determine, hands-on cyber security labs are a highly effective way to enhance your employees’ knowledge and skills. They allow you to create challenging and realistic scenarios to help employees identify and eliminate vulnerabilities, understand the threats out there, and know how to keep their networks and data secure. Such strategies will keep you prepared for any security threat.