Contemporary private businesses and government agencies alike are increasingly under threat of cybercrime and other digital mischiefs. In addition to securing the safety of brick-and-mortar facilities, stored goods, and other tangible physical assets, companies must now invest time and resources into protecting intangible digital assets as well. Because of this, many companies develop their own cybersecurity lab – a secure environment used to help develop and test defense systems like firewalls against cybercriminal activity.
Cybersecurity labs are places where information technology (IT) teams can train to spot, thwart, and manage potential threats to your organization’s cybersecurity. From phishing scams to malware and even distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, there are numerous threats to private and government organizations’ digital assets. Even a modest precautionary approach to cybersecurity is better than no measures whatsoever.
Although every instance is unique, cybercriminals are generally after sensitive information, whether that comes in the form of private corporate data, financial information, or even personal data from customer databases or government agencies. Motives for cybercriminal activity vary widely – hackers can operate as thieves, disruptors, activists, or some amalgamation thereof. They target private citizens as well as some of the largest corporations in the world, but they also target entities they know may have weaker cybersecurity measures – small businesses, medium-sized businesses, and start-up enterprises.
There are several ways hackers can gain access to a network or website, and more are being developed all the time. Some common cyber attacks may include phishing and spear phishing efforts which may target your employees through their emails – phishing scams are often disguised to look like they come from a trusted source. Properly training employees to avoid and report phishing scams is an invaluable investment for any company’s cybersecurity.
Other cyberattacks utilize malware which is disruptive, malicious software that, when activated, can provide hackers complete control over a computer – sometimes without you being alerted to it. A particularly popular malware method is ransomware, which has become a billion-dollar industry in recent years. Ransomware infects a system and denies access to files until “ransom” is paid – however, sometimes, even after payment is made, hackers refuse to unblock access to files or permanently delete the stolen information. There are also, unfortunately, very few avenues for recourse in such situations, which further underlines the importance of preventative over reactive cybersecurity measures.
While there are many types of cyber security solutions, most cybersecurity institutions or facilities will have their own cyber security hardware tools. Hardware solutions like proxy servers and firewalls provide formidable protection against cybercriminal activity. A cybersecurity lab can provide teams with the space and practice to identify and foil attempted data breaches or other nefarious digital activity. Investing in cybersecurity is not only important from a logistical standpoint; it’s also beneficial for improving brand perception and customer satisfaction.
To develop your own cyber security lab equipment list, it may be beneficial to look up a cyber security tools PDF or a similar, accessible document to determine industry standards as well as specifics that may be helpful for your organization’s particular needs.
Cybersecurity Labs for Students
As demand for cybersecurity has increased, training and educational resources have increased as well. As hackers develop more advanced tools, so too must cyber security professionals adapt to discover stronger defenses – hence the increase in labs and hiring interest in cyber security experts. Organizations hoping to grow and survive in such a competitive atmosphere cannot afford to overlook the importance of cyber security investments.
Some of the best cyber security labs are available for free online. Others are more like paid services, but some online lab programs may offer certification as well. Many cyber security labs are accessible to novices and provide stimulating challenges similar to real-world cyber security threats and situations. In some cases, virtual cybersecurity labs have instructors who are able to provide rapid, in-depth feedback.
Cyber security labs for students enable young minds to prepare for the types of cybercrime they may be handling in the future. Cyber security lab exercises provide opportunities for apprentice technologists to practice for threats and genuine cybercrimes they may encounter in the future. They can also help bolster a resume and provide experience that may be required for some positions. The cybersecurity industry is competitive and ever-evolving; having access to training cybersecurity labs can help ensure that individuals have the necessary skills to perform on the job.
But what all goes into a successful cyber security lab setup? Cybersecurity virtual labs, for instance, provide students with access to the lab from anywhere with a steady internet connection. All you need is a device and a browser. But for larger organizations, a lab setup may mean investing in dedicated hardware for cybersecurity personnel for defense applications, monitoring, and regular training.
As technology becomes ever more advanced, demand for cybersecurity expertise is going to increase as well. Employers are looking for cybersecurity consultants, engineers, analysts, network engineers, vulnerability analysts, software developers, and more. Since an organization’s IT department is usually the primary measure of defense against cybercriminal activity, organizations are looking for the best, highest-qualified cybersecurity personnel available.
Virtual labs can be an excellent tool for students interested in cybersecurity training. Even when labs don’t provide certification or accreditation, they still enable students to experience hands-on training to help them learn how to respond to real-world threats. Virtual labs can provide users with accessible and expansive cybersecurity training materials. There are dozens of websites and other resources available online catering to a wide array of cybersecurity pursuits.
Protecting an organization like a private company or a government agency from cybersecurity threats is an ongoing investment and operation. Best practices evolve alongside the capabilities of the technology, so it’s especially important for security purposes to continually devote resources to defending against cybercrime. Virtually every time a user interacts with an internet-connected device, they are vulnerable to cybercriminal activity. It’s become an inevitable feature of the digital landscape; lacking serious investment in cybersecurity isn’t cost savings – it’s costly and ineffective.There’s undoubtedly quite a bit more to it than downloading a cyber security lab manual PDF, for example, but those types of documents can provide valuable insight into other companies’ cybersecurity measures.
Cybersecurity Lab Setup
Regarding cybersecurity lab setup, cyber labs can adopt a variety of different approaches.
Cyber security lab requirements may include things like system requirements – having sufficient hardware capable of handling high-stress environments. Policies may also require compliance related to open web server requirements, registrar requirements, external DNS record requirements, and active directory requirements, among others. It’s important to understand the purpose of all the pieces involved – making an equipment list can help ensure that requirements are met, and all of the necessary tools are accounted for.
Cybersecurity labs online may have an alternative approach to their cybersecurity setup. As alluded to earlier, virtual cybersecurity labs are widely accessible from anywhere with a reliable internet connection. Since they are based within the cloud, all related operating systems, software, servers, and applications are maintained from a central location. This allows for more flexibility than traditional, physical training applications since users can log in to the virtual lab from any compatible web browser.
Virtual labs also provide the added benefit of being able to prepare learners for real-world scenarios. By simulating cybercriminal activity in a controlled environment, users can better develop the skills necessary for maintaining optimum network security. These types of virtual labs operate within trade schools, universities, and businesses to help prepare the IT professionals of tomorrow and, in some cases, enable current IT professionals to maintain and continue to refine their skills. The cybersecurity industry is continually changing and evolving, so cybersecurity professionals must embrace lifelong learning philosophies in order to stay on top of industry trends and the latest threats and countermeasures.
Some organizations offer free cyber security practice labs, which can be virtual spaces for ethical hacking and other cyber security training exercises. Virtual cybersecurity labs enable students and other young professionals an opportunity to experience ethical hacking within a simulated real-world approximation, so there are no risks to actual assets. Some of these labs and scenarios are invaluable experiences that provide a fairly accurate portrait of the genuine dangers posed by real cybercriminals.
Virtual cybersecurity labs also allow students to have quicker access to updates and new programs. It’s much simpler to adapt a virtual cybersecurity platform than it is to implement those changes in the physical world – in this regard, virtual cybersecurity labs provide additional security as soon as advancements are made or upgrades on previous programs are made available. With technology advancing as rapidly as it does nowadays, virtual labs will be able to continue providing students and other cybersecurity professionals with new training modules and updated scenarios.
Building your own cybersecurity lab is another endeavor entirely. If you represent a small or medium-sized business looking to strengthen your company’s cybersecurity, putting a lab together will require investments in hardware, software, and professionals who can maintain both. Lab environments can provide cybersecurity professionals with vital information about what to expect and prepare for in real-world applications.
Learn more about how Syktap can support virtual IT labs.