Dr. Guy-Vincent Jourdan
Co-Director, uOttawa IBM Cyber Range & Professor, Faculty of Engineering, uOttawa
Dr. Iosif-Viorel (Vio) Onut
Co-Director, uOttawa IBM Cyber Range & Senior Manager, IBM
The University of Ottawa and IBM have partnered up to launch a Cyber Range.
There’s a major cybersecurity skills gap in Canada. The data varies, but reports show roughly three to four million unfilled jobs in that field. Trained cybersecurity professionals are desperately needed to fill the void.
The forthcoming Cyber Range, located within the University of Ottawa’s Cyber Hub on the 5th floor of the STEM Complex, is a multi-year partnership between the University of Ottawa (uOttawa) and IBM Canada and is a giant step in the right direction. The Cyber Range will provide a full sensory-immersive and interactive training setting for visitors to experience true-to-life cyber response scenarios, in a full-scale security operations center (SOC) based on a fusion team model. The Cyber Range will further enable state-of-the-art research and training in cybersecurity and cybersafety while facilitating collaboration between government, industry, and academia.
A unique collaboration
The uOttawa-IBM Cyber Range will be the first of its kind in Canada and is being built with a $27 million investment by uOttawa and IBM. This latest partnership comes after years of fruitful collaboration between uOttawa and IBM
“We have a long history with IBM,” says Dr. Guy-Vincent Jourdan, Co-Director of the uOttawa-IBM Cyber Range and a Professor in uOttawa’s Faculty of Engineering. “IBM has been working with several of us at uOttawa, my team in particular, for the past 13 years.”
Dr. Jourdan’s work with IBM is research focused, highlighting uOttawa’s position among the top 10 research universities in Canada. The University has long promoted dynamic research collaborations and it has leveraged Ottawa’s government laboratories, industry, and policymakers. Its latest partnership with IBM will continue to facilitate these connections.
“It felt natural for us to partner with uOttawa to bring the Cyber Range training to the university landscape,” says Dr. Vio Onut, Co-Director of the uOttawa-IBM Cyber Range and a Senior Manager at IBM. “We wish to accomplish two things: to start training students on cybersecurity and to enhance the scenarios that we have, because whenever you have a joint effort between two complementary partners from industry and academia, you always come up with better results.”
We wish to accomplish two things: to start training students on cybersecurity and to enhance the scenarios that we have, because whenever you have a joint eff ort between two complementary partners from industry and academia, you always come up with better results.
From training to professional development
The new Cyber Range will be a fully immersive and experiential-based facility that will enable state-of-the-art research and training in cybersecurity and cybersafety. Students, working professionals from government or industry, and other partners and clients will have the opportunity to use the Cyber Range on campus to learn, train, and upskill techniques, methods, and approaches in a world-class environment. The Cyber Range activities and operations are supported by simulation rooms, a broadcast room, a command room, and multi-purpose space for hosting visitors.
The relationship between government, industry, and academia is essential. “Without this intersection, we’re basically spinning our wheels,” says Dr. Jourdan. “For us, it’s critical to be connected to industry and government so that our research can be oriented toward real problems that they experience.”
The Cyber Range will also create immense opportunities for interdisciplinary activities in training and research, bringing together numerous faculties and disciplines across uOttawa. “An enterprise-wide cybersecurity attack is not only handled by the technical team. Of course, there’s an incident response team that has an IT focus, but there are other important functions of the business that are also involved, including public relations, communications, human resources, legal, privacy, line of business, and more,” says Dr. Onut. All of these teams must work together as a fusion team to ensure a quick and efficient business response to preserve customer loyalty and trust, protect critical data, and maintain business operations.
The Cyber Range will help fill the training and skills gap in cybersecurity in Canada, and will offer training in both official languages. It will be operated collaboratively by uOttawa and IBM.