IT Virtual Labs
Since the global pandemic and the remarkable shift to more remote working applications that have followed, IT virtual labs have become one of the most popular virtual learning environment solutions available on the market. But what exactly is an IT virtual lab, and why is its popularity suddenly soaring? The answer to these questions, of course, is complex and multifaceted.
Virtual labs have become an integral part of IT training practices due to the level of flexibility they can afford. With a virtual lab, organizations can help facilitate a robust IT workforce focused on professional development and systems optimization, they can simulate real and prototype network environments, and they can be invaluable training grounds for cybersecurity personnel – and much more.
For businesses, virtual IT labs can also provide numerous custom learning lab opportunities for employees and new hires. Virtual labs can operate within your organization’s hiring process by streamlining onboarding and new-hire training applications. Similarly, training labs can help organizations provide employees with career advancement and professional skills development opportunities. Many virtual labs may also offer certification or licensure for having completed the course.
Hands-on IT labs can empower professionals all over the globe to upgrade their skill sets or learn a whole new subject with the help of an instructor or in a self-led virtual lab. Additionally, these lab spaces give users the opportunity to test their mettle in a risk-free setting. Making mistakes is an important part of learning, and virtual IT labs allow users to make mistakes as they learn without having to worry about corrupting important data or exposing sensitive information. A small drawback to hands-on IT labs is that not everyone will be able to utilize the digital space as effectively as others – everyone learns differently, and some people may need additional time to learn to adjust to a virtual lab setting. Hybrid in-person training should be considered here, but it’s important to note that virtual IT labs can also support these classroom environments.
To better understand the capabilities of IT practice labs, free trials are often available online – and with a variety of subjects for different disciplines and industries. Free virtual IT labs can offer users a sense of the capabilities of these virtual environments. Additionally, many providers of virtual lab solutions may offer a free trial period which can be useful if your organization is searching for an appropriate virtual IT lab solution that suits your specific needs.
Virtual training applications can also offer a wide array of solutions for businesses and individuals alike. For companies large and small, virtual IT labs can provide an affordable solution for many areas of their business. Organizations can deploy virtual IT labs to ensure that new hires all receive the same training, for instance. This can be especially beneficial for businesses with remote or hybrid workers. No one has to come into the office or schedule a time to be at a certain location; employees can simply access the virtual training space from anywhere with a reliable Internet or network connection. Virtual IT labs can also help IT departments develop more robust cybersecurity initiatives, which is practically a necessity for organizations that deal with large volumes of private or sensitive data.
Virtual IT Labs Software
With so many options available from which to choose, it can be challenging to know what the best virtual IT labs software is for your specific needs. If your organization could benefit from the inclusion of more substantive proof of concept (POC) projects, or if your company is looking at integrating with learning management systems (LMSs) or vendor management systems, investing in a virtual lab solution could help streamline workflows and IT efficiency
Virtual training labs are transforming the way businesses do business – even for businesses that don’t rely much on digital enterprising. For a medium-sized company looking to grow and expand into a global enterprise, virtual training labs can help properly and quickly train personnel and new hires to ensure that everyone is on board and on the same page. Businesses with growth objectives can also utilize virtual training labs to provide career and skill advancement opportunities for their employees, and there are numerous benefits for businesses that decide to go this route.
An employee is generally much less likely to leave a job to pursue other opportunities if the employee feels that they are being fairly compensated and the employer provides advancement opportunities that allow the employee some measure of career advancement. More traditionally, businesses might cover expenses related to travel to an out-of-town networking event or conference to help provide employees with the opportunity to learn new skills or develop existing skills while networking. Now companies can provide very similar opportunities by way of virtual training labs which can save on travel and conference expenses.
If you are searching for “IT labs online” or “free IT labs”, know that many different kinds of virtual IT labs and cost can vary widely depending upon the provider, the kind of lab that’s being offered, as well as the complexity of the material. Additionally, some virtual labs may come as a part of a larger virtual learning network, and some are simply standalone virtual labs. One of the most common pricing models for virtual IT labs is the pay-as-you-go subscription model; users generally pay a fee based on the number of hours spent in labs. There are also monthly and yearly subscription services and providers that offer license pricing options as well.
Price may also fluctuate depending on whether or not you want to utilize instructor-led training courses. While many virtual IT labs can be completely self-directed with a go-at-your-own-pace philosophy, there are also many instances in which it helps to have a knowledgeable expert present to help facilitate learning and answer any questions that may arise. Instructor-led virtual training applications can still be completed remotely, too, as long as participants have a reliable Internet connection.
Software is improving practically on a daily basis – it seems that with every new news cycle, some company or developer unveils some shiny, new technology. As more developers continue to enter the workforce and as existing developers already within the workforce continue to develop their skills, software capabilities are only going to continue to improve. That’s why it can be incredibly beneficial to have a virtual IT lab already in place; your organization can be prepared to adapt to advancements in software and much more thanks to the capabilities of virtual learning applications.
Virtual Lab for Networking
Online networking labs can be great places to develop your skills as they provide the safety and security of a virtual lab simulation setting, but allow learners to practice real-world conditions and scenarios. Although some organizations may have the resources and adequate funding to construct their own virtual lab spaces, many smaller and medium-sized organizations may not have the resources or personnel expertise necessary for such an undertaking. Thankfully, however, there are affordable options available on the market as long as you know where to look.
A few areas in which virtual networking labs fall short are the ability to do performance testing and scale testing due to the hardware restrictions. Aside from this, however, virtual labs provide a great deal of flexibility for organizations as well as individuals. Virtual labs can be great places to assess and test the vulnerability of certain softwares; you can also try to write IDS signatures in the hopes of detecting malware or other nefarious interlopers. You can also mimic cybercriminal activities to review your system’s response. Essentially, virtual labs for networking are the ideal playgrounds. Skilled IT professionals can utilize virtual lab space to help improve their skills while potentially improving the cybersecurity capabilities of your organization and/or your software.
Virtual network simulations can provide numerous benefits and are especially useful when testing network design prototypes. Developers can liberally experiment with protocols, subnetting arrangements, test several different topologies, and even attempt multiple management approaches for the whole network. For these reasons and many others, virtual IT labs can be an ideal solution for organizations that have specific network needs but lack the funding or resources to construct a physical lab space.
There are hundreds (if not thousands) of network labs available on the internet. Finding a virtual lab for networking or a network lab simulator online can be difficult, but there are free and affordable options available. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of identifying an IT virtual lab that fulfills your organization’s specific needs. In order to gain a better sense of what kind of virtual learning solutions your company might utilize, you could survey employees to better understand the ways in which they would like to make use of virtual learning opportunities.
Many employees feel strongly loyal to companies that invest in their personal skills; indeed, employer-employee relationships can be symbiotic, and ought to be in healthy workplace environments. A company that takes care of its workforce can usually expect that workforce to take care of the company when a need arises. By investing in virtual IT lab solutions, you can show your employees that your organization is dedicated to helping employees develop additional skills as well as dedicated to improving your overall IT practices.
Read more about Skytap Virtual Labs or take a complimentary virtual labs maturity assessment.