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Tech Data Cuts Ribbon on “Cyber Range” Training and Demo Facility

The new resource is designed to help partners and end users hone cybersecurity skills and test cybersecurity solutions in an immersive, interactive environment stocked with state-of-the-art hardware and software. By Rich Freeman

Tech Data has officially opened its Cyber Range, a hands-on cybersecurity education and demonstration facility for its partners and their customers.

Located in Tempe, Ariz., the facility’s debut coincided with the opening day of the distributor’s Security Enforce conference in Chandler, Ariz., as well the blockbuster announcement this morning that Tech Data has agreed to be acquired by private equity investor Apollo Global Management for roughly $5.4 billion.

The Cyber Range is the first resource of its kind in distribution, according to Francisco Criado, Tech Data’s senior vice president for global security solutions.

“It’s going to arm our partners and their end customers with the skills they need to develop the best and optimal security posture and depth in defense against these bad actors,” he says.

The 4,500 square foot facility will fulfill that mission by enabling both in-person and remote visitors to experience and defend against simulated security attacks in an immersive, interactive environment stocked with state-of-the-art hardware and software, according to Alex Ryals, Tech Data’s vice president of security solutions for the Americas. Ryals first disclosed the forthcoming arrival of the new site in May and showcased it for attendees of the company’s Partner Summit in Chicago three months later.

“This is a place where you can literally feel and touch cybersecurity,” he says. “All those things you can’t do in your own corporate network and you don’t have the resources to do in your house, you can log in and do here.”

Training programs available through the Cyber Range include pre-recorded courses from open source educator Cybrary, as well as instructor-led classes from both Tech Data learning partner Cloud Range and Tech Data itself. Jason Norred, senior director of security at Solutions II, a Tech Data partner headquartered in Littleton, Colo., is eager to begin utilizing those offerings.

“Not only is it going to be an interesting value prop for us to provide through Tech Data to our end users and clients, but I’m most excited about the onboarding and training capabilities it’s going to give us [internally] as a solutions provider,” he says.

Those capabilities differ from what’s available elsewhere, Norred continues, because they allow partners to train on products from multiple suppliers at once. Many vendors provide in-person instruction, he notes, “but they’re all very focused on their niche and their product, where the Cyber Range is multivendor [and] multiplatform.”

Fortinet, a sponsoring vendor of the Cyber Range, plans to educate its current and aspiring MSSP partners at the facility. Though most of the security operations personnel at such companies have classroom experience with cyber assaults, few have ever experienced one, according to Stephan Tallent, Fortinet’s senior director of MSSP service enablement.

“For the most part, you’re dealing with a workforce that has a great deal of responsibility but that has never gone through responding to an actual attack,” he says. “You don’t want to be learning on the job.”

Resellers and end users aren’t the only people Tech Data plans to educate at the Cyber Range, however. Inspiring high school and college students to pursue careers in cybersecurity is a key mission for the facility as well. 

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