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Tech Data: Helping Close the Cybersecurity Skills Gap with New World-Class Cyber Range

Posted by Alex Ryals on Nov 13, 2019 7:00:00 AM

The stats(*) are alarming:  1)  On average, a cyberattack occurs every 39 seconds; 2)  With hundreds of thousands of malware variants introduce everyday, ransomware is on the rise; 3)  Last year ¾(**) of the healthcare industry was infected with malware; 4)  43 percent of all attacks in 2018 were against small-to-medium businesses(***); 5)  60 percent of SMBs that suffer a cyberattack are out of business with six months; 6)  There is a cybersecurity shortage – there are currently 300,000 unfilled cybersecurity positions in U.S. alone, estimated at 3 million globally.

Tech Data Cyber Range

Introducing the Tech Data Cyber Range

On Nov. 13, 2019, Tech Data debuted its new Cyber Range, the first-of-its-kind owned and operated by an IT Distributor (click above photo for more). 

As a global leader in technology distribution and solutions aggregation, Tech Data works with the world’s leading technology companies, uniquely positioning us with the knowledge and resources to develop a sophisticated training ground for solving the critical cybersecurity skills shortage. Enter the Tech Data Cyber Range.

The new Cyber Range helps our partners, vendors and end-user customers upskill their existing cybersecurity teams, as well as develop new solutions and cybersecurity service models. The new facility also will serve community partners to educate up-and-coming cybersecurity professionals—all to combat the ongoing fight against cyber warfare.

There are two types of companies: those that have been hacked and those who don’t know they have been hacked”

John T. Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems (1995–2015)

Learn how to protect your business and download the Tech Data e-book, Addressing the Cybersecurity Skills Gap (see button at the end of this story).

What is a Cyber Range?

What makes cybersecurity so vexing is the nature of the threat landscape.  It’s a constantly evolving menace with tentacles everywhere, constantly reinventing itself by introducing new threats and modifying existing ones – all while intensifying the potential for damage to IT estates. Networks and endpoint devices are constantly under threat, being forced to fend off a barrage of attack attempts.

A cyber range is a virtual environment designed to simulate real-world cybersecurity happenings – from small threats to massive attacks – and it’s used for staff training and cybertechnology development and testing. It provides tools that help strengthen the stability, security and performance of cyberinfrastructures and IT systems in place today across a variety of industries from public sector to commercial enterprises and huge global corporations to small-to-medium sized business and points in between.  

Cyber ranges were initially developed by government entities looking to better train their workforce with new skills and techniques to enhance cybersecurity against cyber warfare and attacks. More recently, Cyber ranges have become prevalent with cities, states, universities and commercial enterprises, which are creating these training environments.  It’s called a “range” because it functions like shooting or kinetic ranges, which facilitate training in tools, operations and tactics.

Cyber range “students” are developing IT professionals, as well as experienced, currently employed experts who must train, develop and test technologies and approaches to ensure business continuity and readiness for real-world deployment.

Tech Data’s Cyber Range – An Immersive Environment for Safe Learning

Tech Data’s Cyber Range is a place for serious learning…a place where Security Operations Center (SOC) analysts and front-line technicians to students can learn how to work through cybersecurity incidents – from denial of service to malware attacks.  All hands-on, all real-world, all supported and facilitated by industry-leading cybersecurity experts.

Tech Data’s Cyber Range features the latest technology, world-class expert staff and hundreds of hackable-ready virtual machines across learning levels from Beginners to Jedi.  Cyber Range participants can face off on Red and Blue teams, pushing each side to learn in a way that creates an understanding of “Purple” – helping both sides fight and both sides to sharpen their cybersecurity skills.  Nothing gets harmed.  It’s purpose-built for safe cybersecurity learning.

Our Cybersecurity Mission:  Train, Demonstrate and Engage

The Tech Data Cyber Range is an interactive and immersive environment where channel partners and end users can train, demonstrate and engage talent using the best technologies, processes and most advanced techniques in cybersecurity.


For those new to cybersecurity to those who seek to advance their skills in the field, Tech Data offers an extensive catalog of free and discounted training services. From online, cloud-delivered remote training to classroom instruction at the Cyber Range in Tempe, you’ll find the training needed to sharpen your IT security skills and meet your business and personal education goals.


To help simplify the complex, partners can use the Tech Data Cyber Range as a solution center to showcase the many offerings from our trusted vendor community including the latest technology, proven processes, and the most advanced techniques.  As a leading global solutions aggregator, Tech Data provides our partner community with access to the leading cybersecurity technology available through our partnerships with world-class vendors. Technology demonstrations include Firewalls, Intrusion Detection, Identity and Access Management, Endpoint Security, Cloud Security, Mobile Security and IoT Security — all to better understand the latest solutions and find the right-fit approaches for a variety of enterprises. 


Visit the Cyber Range to “get up close and personal” with cybersecurity. Test your skills and compete with others through a variety of cyber challenges, or attend workshops, seminars, certification study groups, hosted events or other activities and learn how crucial it is for companies to invest in their cyber defense.  Tech Data’s Cyber Range provides an environment for technical individuals to learn, test, fail and access cyber threats in a safe environment.

Driving Next-Gen Cybersecurity Solutions

Tech Data is committed to pushing the boundaries of next-generation cybersecurity solutions and enabling our partners to provide better secure environments for their customer organizations — from the smallest SMB to the largest global enterprise. The first-ever Cyber Range in distribution is just one example of how we’re helping partners and their customers to fight the good fight.

Click on the button below to download Tech Data's e-book, Addressing the Cybersecurity Skills Gap


About the Author

Alex Ryals is VP of Security Solutions at Tech Data.  He started his career as a Systems Administrator and led R&D teams focused on web-based applications.  He has served as Solutions Architect with HP Software and later was CTO at a Solutions and Software VAR, which was acquired by Avnet.  In the newly formed Avnet Solution organization, Alex set technology solutions strategies and led teams across Cloud Computing, IoT, Data Analytics, Mobility and Security. In his current role leading Tech Data’s Security Solutions business, he ignited and oversaw the effort  design, build, staff and operate the Tech Data Cyber Range, the first-ever in IT Distribution.  


(*)    Statistics cited from Why Managed Security Presents a Golden Opportunity for MSPs White Paper by Channel Futures™ & Tech Data®, Fall 2019.
(**)   Statistic from 2019 Verizon Data Breach Report
(***) CyberInt

Tags: Cybersecurity, IT Security, Cyber Range