The learning strategy is both more fun and more effective
Today’s cybersecurity industry is incredibly volatile. Every day we increase the number of interconnected smart devices, which creates more avenues for cyber attacks. Companies struggle to maintain best operating procedures and stay current in this age of digital transformation. On top of all this, the cyber industry is consistently lacking enough cyber defenders to protect it all and current training options in static classrooms are missing the mark. However, this industry is ripe with career opportunity, with studies predicting an abundance of 3.5 million cybersecurity job openings by 2021. Because attacks on enterprises and government institutions get more and more sophisticated, there is increased demand for new training methods that keep pace and can remain relevant to industry standards and company compliance requirements. Fortunately, gamified training has helped bridge the gap, allowing cyber professionals to learn in environments that are scalable, engaging, adaptable, and increase cognitive retention — outcomes that will change the landscape of in the industry for the better.
Gamified training responds to the fact that we all learn differently, and in a field like cybersecurity, we need diverse mindsets to stay ahead. So how can we standardize training in a field as diverse as cybersecurity and develop it for an extremely broad audience? Through gamification on cyber ranges. This new training approach facilitates developmental learning in an interactive medium that evolves based off of a learner’s interaction and a changing cyber landscape.
To understand why gamified training on cyber ranges is the best answer for today’s cyber security challenges, we need to understand why current training options fail in comparison. Lecture-based teaching of cybersecurity skills and concepts present minimal opportunities for learners to proactively solve problems, think critically, and analyze material — this limits information retention. In fact, learners of static, passive learning models forget …
- 40 percent of what they’ve learned after 20 minutes
- Between 50-80 percent of what they’ve learned after one day
- 77 percent of what they’ve learned after six days
- 90 percent of what they’ve learned after one month
Placing learners within an engaging and interactive environment helps mitigate the potential to only memorize concepts to pass a test. Instead learners are plunged into real-world scenarios and challenged to work directly with concepts rather than theorize about them. Lack of engagement and failure to recollect concepts results in cyber professionals who are unable to build the best cyber skills needed … or stay relevant. More can be done to ensure learners build the right skills in a holistic manner that is pertinent to their company’s cyber security needs.
The Power of Gamified Training
Gamified training is an active learning approach that educates learners based off of techniques popularized by video-games. Incentive-based learning informed by your playstyle helps to accentuate and drive learners towards their goals. Whether it be with competition and leaderboards, personal progression and XP, social badges, or engaging game mechanics. … This interactive and dynamic teaching approach helps today’s cyber professionals build the skills they need to be competitive in our cyber culture. Unlike traditional classroom exercises, gamified learning activities occur in virtual environments called cyber ranges. Cyber ranges essentially mimic networks at any scale, so anything from a small business to large city can be replicated within. Alongside realistic network traffic, cyber ranges create a sandbox for learners to experiment within an environment that is as realistic as possible, but also safe to make mistakes and reset with the flip of a switch. Used in government cyber training for years, cyber ranges have made their mark in the commercial enterprise sector too, engaging professionals in critical thinking and problem-solving actions that strengthen engagement and empower them to have both the conceptual and hands-on understanding of cyber strategies. In fact, gamified, active-learning has shown to improve retention rates to 75 percent, compared to 5 percent through traditional methods. This level of cognitive development ties directly to application of skill and is incredibly valuable for any size company looking to better train their cyber teams against today’s threats.
Gamified cyber training provides an environment that is:
- Adaptable to emulate industry-specific networks
- Accessible for entry and senior-level professionals alike
- Relevant to current cyber threats
- Economical for companies
What makes the gamified approach extra “game changing” to the industry is in its ability to scale with persistent training access for companies and teams. Since skill building occurs in the cloud on embedded cyber ranges, the cyber professional can train and hone abilities anywhere, anytime. When learners have access to the latest training materials and activities and can train at their own pace, the ability for companies to harden security posture becomes a welcoming reality.
Cloud-Based Cyber Ranges Elevate Gamification
Further, gamified cyber programs are able to align themselves more quickly to new and relevant attacks we see daily when learners train in cloud-based cyber ranges. When a learner is engaging in a cyber mission or battle room, they are able to understand why they are doing the training exercise and how it will advance their organization’s security posture. How? Cloud-based ranges can emulate company networks and learners can use their own tools to make training as authentic and relevant as possible—benefiting the defender and the enterprise as a whole.
One of the greatest benefits of gamified training is that it is economical. For CISOs and security leaders, it is a smarter way to use a security budget because every dollar spent goes back into learning. Not to mention it’s easier to track the ROI and understand how learners acquire skills best. Leaders are able to invest directly into the learning rather than paying for flights, hotels, and off-site courses that are lengthy and leave their cyber frontlines vulnerable during a trainee’s absence. Interestingly too, the economic benefit of gamified training has inspired many cyber competitions across the globe as a means to cultivate new cyber talent and keep existing staff engaged and retained. Wicked6 Cyber Games taking place in Las Vegas, August 2019 will be using Project Ares, a Circadence gamified cyber learning platform for their competitors.
The Future of Cyber Training Is Gamified
In a world where everything we do on or offline is vulnerable to attack, the more flexible, engaging, and applicable cyber training can be, the better professionals and companies can keep pace with malicious hackers.
It’s extremely logical for the industry to adapt teaching methods to better align with an interactive medium. Specifically for the next gen learner (born after 1980), who has never known a world without video games. Gamified training is collaborative and scalable for companies of any size. And if the industry wants to evolve as quickly as threats do, this is the next wave of frontier learning we should be paying attention to.
To learn more about cybersecurity gamified training, visit www.circadence.com.
Written by: Wes Knee, Vice President of Marketing and Creative, Circadence
Wes Knee’s decade-long professional background is best described as artistic. And that’s exactly what he brings to the leadership table at Circadence, seamlessly managing both marketing and creative departments to bring forth a compelling visual and written brand identity that sets the company apart. In this role, Mr. Knee enjoys distilling the complex world of cybersecurity into digestible messages apt for anyone to comprehend, helping audiences navigate the world of cyber with a greater degree of confidence.
Circadence Corporation is a market leader in next-generation cybersecurity readiness. Powered by a culture of innovation and the demands of an evolving cyber landscape, Circadence offers award-winning cyber range solutions and cybersecurity learning platforms, running on Microsoft Azure, that leverage artificial intelligence and custom content to address critical security challenges for enterprise, government and academic institutions. Circadence’s solutions deliver persistent, immersive and true-to-life experiences that match and adapt to contemporary threat environments. For more information, visit www.circadence.com.