How AI-Powered Cyber Range Elevates Teamworking Success

QA's Director of Cyber Security, Richard Beck, takes a look at the benefits of utilising AI in Cyber Ranges, including collaboration and teamwork.

A cyber range is designed to mimic real-world scenarios that can be used to detect and react to simulated ‘live fire’ cyberattacks, and to enable players to test and experience technologies to enhance their cybersecurity knowledge and ultimately their organisational resilience posture. A cyber range is not a collection of virtual labs, which are great for individual development, but miss out on providing collaboration and power skills, as described by Forbes, crucial for security professionals. 

Your cyber range should have content and capabilities to create the realistic conditions that prepare a security team for response. Hands-on practice during training sessions directly translates into proficiency in a live event. Collaboration with teams is essential, in a cyber range - on the same wire, not in isolated individual contained labs. Active learning is entails team collaboration and the practical application of concepts to real-world exercises and scenarios, with proven results increasing retention rates to 75%, a significant improvement over the mere 5% retention achieved by traditional learning methods. 

The convergence of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) within the realm of cyber range simulations offers immense promise according to research by Oakridge National Laboratory. These cutting-edge technologies have the capacity to elevate the authenticity and complexity of simulated attacks, empowering organisations to bolster their readiness against advanced threats.  

Notwithstanding the need to be cautious when depending on these models to enhance the cyber range learning experience. Large Language Models (LLMs) are recognised for occasionally generating 'hallucinations,' as explained by Machine Learning Mastery, meaning they can produce information that is either inaccurate or inconsistent with real-world facts, included bias. 

Uninterrupted testing and automation utilising a cyber range is not just for the future, facilitating cyber security teams in the more frequent and streamlined delivery of real-time gamified simulations is available now. By leveraging AI and ML algorithms, for predicative analysis within a cyber range, it becomes possible to glean insights from responder’s attack patterns and flexibly adapt your operational simulation scenarios, to specifically adapt to your purple team threat weakness. Poor communication can slow down your teams response, as reported in the Harvard Business Review. For instance, in cases where two team members are experiencing poor communication, predictive analytics can recognise such issues and offer suggestions on how to resolve them. This proactive approach gets ahead of the breakdown causing misunderstandings and miscommunications, resulting in a more united team focused on common goals and shared acknowledged objectives.  

Focusing in on the benefits of power skills like communicating, collaboration and teamworking, not just the technical, and the results are as equally impressive and importantly. A constant reminder that cyber security is a team game! 

1. Enhanced Awareness: Collaboration and teamworking fosters a culture of awareness about cyber threats. When team members communicate and share their knowledge, everyone becomes more informed about potential risks and security best practices. 

2. Faster Incident Response: In the event of a security incident, effective communication and team collaboration can lead to quicker response times. Red, Blue (Purple) teams can work together to identify, contain, and mitigate the threat more efficiently. 

3. Diverse Expertise: Different team members bring varied skills and perspectives to the table. Collaborating as a whole team allows for a broader range of expertise to be applied to security challenges, increasing the chances of finding innovative solutions. 

4. Knowledge Sharing: Sharing knowledge and experiences can lead to continuous learning and improvement. Security team members can learn from each other's successes and mistakes, strengthening the overall cyber security posture. 

5. Resource Optimisation: Collaborative efforts can help in optimising scarce resources. By pooling team resources, expertise and skills, organisations can effectively allocate their resources, and in turn reduce burn-out issues. 

6. Proactive Threat Detection: Communication and teamworking can enable a proactive approach to threat detection and mitigation. When team members work together, they can identify emerging threats and vulnerabilities earlier and take preventive measures. 

7. Team Morale: Working together fosters a sense of shared responsibility and accomplishment. It boosts team morale and encourages individuals to take cyber security seriously, creating a more security-conscious culture within the organisation. 

8. Improved Incident Recovery: After a security breach, effective collaboration is crucial for recovery and damage control. Simulation of incident containment and recovery support a team effort approach. Coordinated efforts can help in understanding the extent of the breach and planning for a more effective recovery strategy. 

In summary, security leaders should recognise that cyber security teams benefit from fostering communication, teamworking and collaboration skills, practiced and developed in a safe cyber learning environment, as a team, together on a cyber range. Cultivating a nurturing work environment that prioritises the sense of value in each team member not only enhances overall productivity but also plays a vital role in the realisation of long-term cybersecurity objectives. Organisations can improve their overall security posture, respond more effectively to threats, and create a culture of shared responsibility among their entire security team.