IBM Canada, uOttawa offer university-based cybersecurity training for business, governments

uOttawa IBM CyberRange cybersecurity

A training facility to help businesses and governments respond to real-world cyberthreats was announced Thursday by the University of Ottawa and IBM Canada.

The uOttawa-IBM Cyber Range, IBM’s first such partnership on a Canadian university campus, will offer realistic cyber-response training exercises to help businesses and government organizations better prepare for and strengthen their defences against real-world cyberthreats.

The training will be integrated into undergraduate and graduate courses and new microprograms and micro-credentials will be offered to private- and public-sector professionals, including industry certifications. 

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“Globally, cyberattacks are on the rise. The new uOttawa-IBM Cyber Range will help the university enrich its curriculum and train cybersecurity experts with the skills and knowledge to debunk serious security breaches,” said Jacques Frémont, president and vice-chancellor at the university. 

Located within the uOttawa Cyber Hub at the university’s STEM Complex, the facility is designed to help build a strong security culture by guiding all participants, from legal and risk to the C-suite and security operations centre leaders, through a real-world cyber incident. 

For example, a “Cyber War Game” tests an organization’s incident response process, communication and problem-solving by positioning technical and business teams in the middle of a realistic cybersecurity incident. The “Business Response Challenge” gives participants the opportunity to address a realistic data breach simulation across technical, legal and public relations dimensions. 

An “Inside the Mind of a Hacker” exercise is designed to help participants understand the viewpoint of an attacker by providing a demonstration of the types of tools adversaries are using and a look into the scope of current attacks. 

According to IBM’s 2023 Cost of a Data Breach Report, Canadian companies are paying nearly $7 million on average in data breach costs, the third highest in the world. The report said that, globally, organizations saved $1.49 million on average in breach costs when they had a trained team and regularly tested plans.

“The uOttawa-IBM Cyber Range will deliver an extraordinary level of training and experience for Canadian business and government leaders as they face increasingly sophisticated security threats posed by cybercriminals,” said Dave McCann, president of IBM Canada. 

The uOttawa-IBM Cyber Range is the result of a multi-year partnership announced in 2021 with the goal of developing a more resilient cyber landscape for Canada. IBM pledged more than $21 million in-kind contributions to the university over five years, while uOttawa committed to invest nearly $7 million over the same period. 

This is the third IBM Cyber Range in the world, with two others located in Cambridge, Mass. and Bangalore, India.

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