BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — The state’s newest cybersecurity resource was unveiled during a Tuesday morning ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Michigan Air National Guard base in Battle Creek.
The new 110th Airlift Wing Michigan Cyber Range Hub at the W.K. Kellogg Airport will have cybersecurity training available to the public and will also provide classes to Michigan Air National Guard.
The recent security breaches at major retailers like Target, Neiman Marcus and Michael’s show just how important cybersecurity is. Target says it estimates it lost $5.3 million in its quarterly earnings, which it attributes to the breach.
“The statistic is that 85% of this nation’s critical infrastructure is protected by civilians,” Joe Adams of Merit Education, which runs the cyber range, said.
Adams said Merit has been teaching cyber security methods for years, but the opening of the Battle Creek Cyber Range will allow West Michigan businesses to have a local base of operations to take classes or use the services online.
“Companies can come and take advantage of us,” Adams said. “The Guard, the state government — just about anybody.”
Three service lines will be created through the Cyber Range. The first is classes: 14 certifications like disaster recovery, security expertise and incident management will be available via in-person or online courses.
The Cyber Range will also provide secure virtual infrastructure for other institutions to teach their classes. Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University and Grand Rapids Community College are already using the curriculum for its students.
Third, the Cyber Range will have exercises for students to practice the skills they’ve learned using real-life examples, raising the level of understanding out in the real world.
“The difference is the attacker is going to have the advantage of being able to focus and pinpoint an attack, which is why we want to train across the industry so that more people can be aware,” Adams said.
Adams said cybersecurity training could also be helpful on a resume — it may set you apart from other candidates because it is essential moving forward.
The Cyber Range started in 2012 as Gov. Rick Snyder pushed to improve cybersecurity to protect families, businesses and government.
“Let’s not be on the defensive,” Snyder said at Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting. “Let’s have the defense in place when it’s needed.”
The 110th Communications Flight in Battle Creek is one of five cyber mission flights across the nation.