“We’re trying to be a part of the solution to the skills gap that we’re seeing in the industry,” Criado says.
Nearly two thirds of organizations worldwide have unfilled security positions at present due to a shortage of experienced candidates, according to research published last week by cybersecurity non-profit (ISC)². The deficit of skilled professionals in the U.S. alone, that study found, stands at nearly half a million people.
Channel pros can use the Cyber Range for demonstration as well as education purposes. With assistance from Tech Data, partners can subject complete cybersecurity solution stacks to live malware in a safely isolated environment, either onsite or over the web. Ryals encourages partners to use the Cyber Range as a venue for lead-generation activities as well.
“This is a great place for vendors and partners to spend MDF dollars and have an event, because it’s fun and it’s interactive,” he says. Sara Boddy, director of the F5 Labs application threat intelligence facility at Tech Data partner F5 Networks, agrees.
“It’s a much more immersive environment than a boring hotel room somewhere,” she says.
Tech Data’s security services organization, which provides outsourced assistance with tasks like vulnerability assessments and penetration testing, will utilize the Cyber Range as well to deliver offerings not previously available.
“Being able to hire the talent it takes to run a place like this is giving me access to additional incredible resources that we can use for all sorts of things,” Ryals says.
Recently added security services, which partners can resell to their customers, include “attacker’s insight” engagements in which Tech Data experts help end users identify weaknesses in their current defensive posture, full-scale attack simulations, and “incident response experiences” that let partners and customers hone their post-breach remediation and communication skills.
“It’s a build your own adventure type of activity,” Ryals says.
Any Tech Data reseller, or customer served by a Tech Data reseller, is eligible to book resources at the Cyber Range using a public calendar showing available timeslots. Tech Data account reps can visit the site without an appointment as well.
“Our sales team can bring by our partners any time they’d like,” Ryals says.
Planning and constructing the Cyber Range was a year-long endeavor, Ryals says. Equipment in the facility was donated by Cisco, Cyber Power, Dell, HP, Intel, and Lenovo, among other vendors. Tech Data won’t disclose what the entire project cost except to say that it was a seven-figure amount.
Global security spending will total $106.6 billion this year and reach $151.2 billion by 2023, according to IDC. Tech Data’s Cyber Range is part of a larger, strategic campaign to capitalize on that trend. Other elements of that effort include assigning global security oversight duties to Americas President Joe Quaglia, appointing Criado to his current position, adding eight new account reps to the security sales team, and signing new security vendors, such as SOC-as-a-service vendor StratoZen early this year and endpoint security vendor Carbon Black last month.
Being acquired by Apollo will enable Tech Data to pour even more money into cybersecurity products, services, and resources in the future, according to Kevin Kennedy, the company’s senior vice president of advanced solutions.
“We believe this is going to be an excellent opportunity for us to accelerate our investments in things like the Cyber Range,” he says.