Unique partnership puts Michigan at forefront
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder announced Friday the opening of the Michigan Cyber Range, a state-of-the-art facility that prepares cybersecurity professionals in the detection and prevention of cyber attacks.
It is a partnership between the state of Michigan, Merit Network, federal and local governments, colleges and universities, and the private sector. The initiative pairs cybersecurity resources with hands-on training opportunities to enhance Michigan’s protection of computer systems and sensitive data.
“Every day, breaches to computer systems threaten the security of data – data that may include personal information about Michigan’s citizens,” Snyder said. “This partnership to establish the Michigan Cyber Range benefits all levels of government as well as educational systems, private businesses and industry.”
Hosted by Merit Network, the Michigan Cyber Range enables individuals and organizations to develop detection and reaction skills through simulations and exercises. The program offers students and Internet technology professionals a full curriculum of meetings and workshops as well as critical cybersecurity training and awareness tools.
The new cyber range serves as a central resource hub and a partner in innovation and collaboration. Critical areas that will benefit from the creation of the Michigan Cyber Range include:
• Infrastructure defense
• Homeland security
• Criminal justice and law enforcement
• Academic and educational programs and curricula related to information and communications technology
• Entrepreneurial, small and medium businesses in the private sector
“The cyber threat is certainly one of the – if not the – largest threat that we face today,” said Don Welch, Merit Network president and CEO. “In a cyber attack, we must rely on trained professionals, and the new cyber range provides a unique training experience that cannot be replicated in other settings. It’s important to arm cyber professionals with training and the most current resources available, and that’s exactly what we are doing with this effort.”
Students using the cyber range can perform laboratory exercises and out-of-class work that uses the cyber range’s virtual environment and text, video chat and Web conferencing capabilities.
“The Michigan Cyber Range will provide a capability not found anywhere else in the world,” said John Nixon, director of the state’s Department of Technology, Management and Budget. “In Michigan, we have a governor who understands the importance of safeguarding our resources. His commitment will ensure that a broad range of cybersecurity professionals have access to current methods and resources.”
Initially, the cyber range’s physical assets will be housed at Eastern Michigan University. Additional sites are planned for Ferris State University and the 110th Airlift Wing in Battle Creek. With additional funding, expansion plans could involve as many as 10 sites. More information on the Michigan Cyber Range is at http://www.merit.edu/cyberrange/.
The Michigan Cyber Range is part of Snyder’s cyber initiative launched last fall to improve cybersecurity efforts to protect families, communities, businesses and government. Information at www.michigan.gov/cybersecurity includes a safeguarding toolkit and practical steps for improving cybersecurity in our everyday lives.
Michigan Cyber Range partners include Merit Network, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Energy, National Institute of Standards and Technology, DTE Energy, Consumers Energy, Plante and Moran PLLC, Juniper Networks, Eastern Michigan University, Michigan State Police, Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.
Merit Network, a nonprofit corporation governed by Michigan’s public universities, owns and operates America’s longest running regional research and education network and supports the high-performance networking needs of Michigan’s universities, colleges, K-12 schools, libraries, state government, health care and other nonprofit organizations.
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