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Thursday, August 28, 2014

WCC Helps Pilot Cyber Range Program

WCC has partnered with Ann Arbor-based Merit Network to launch the first pilot program of the new Michigan Cyber Range. WCC network security students now use the new online environment as a seamless extension of their classroom.

Students enrolled in CSS 200: Computer Security II and CSS 205: Computer Security III used to practice detecting, preventing, and thwarting cyber attacks on a makeshift system of PCs that they had fabricated. It was helpful, but it had limitations.

“We played with virtual machines and built our own small ‘cloud’ network, but it was pricey and resources were limited,” said Doug Cox, who teaches the College’s cyber security courses. “Merit has a much larger capacity, which allows us to eliminate a lot of the bottlenecks we struggled with."

The Michigan Cyber Range operates as a highly secure system over Merit's extensive Internet backbone. It allows WCC students to perform complex simulations without affecting everyday network activity. Cox explained that it’s important to create an environment where students can try things without causing any real damage.

WCC faculty and students can access the Range for coursework from any lab or workstation on campus. Partnerships like this give WCC students an edge with companies seeking to fill the IT skills gaps so prevalent today.

“We’ve had quite a few students who have transferred to EMU and gone on to jobs in (Washington) D.C. with the government,” said Cox. “One of my former students stops by class to recruit for his employer. And companies like Barracuda Networks and Nuspire Networks are either sending their employees to us or they are recruiting new ones from our classes.”

WCC offers a certificate, an advanced certificate, and an associate degree in computer security. More information about WCC’s computer security classes is available online.

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