IBM, RIT Team on Cyber-Security Training

IBM extended its ongoing relationship with the Rochester Institute of Technology by partnering on a program to advance cyber-security education.

IBM cybersecurity training

IBM and the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) recently announced a partnership to improve computer security education by providing software that simulates the experience of battling real-world cyber-security threats.

The collaboration will enhance an existing laboratory at RIT to enable students studying computing security to use IBM software for security intelligence and advanced threat protection. The lab will underscore an on-going collaboration between IBM and RIT. The software will be used in coursework. And IBM will host seminars at RIT where students and faculty will help to shape IBM's security products with feedback.

"The shortage of skilled cyber-security professionals is one of the biggest issues facing the security industry today, and it’s only expected to grow," said Bob Kalka, vice president of IBM's Security Business Unit and RIT computer science alumnus, in a statement. "By equipping students with the tools and insight needed to defend against the next generation of security threats, we’ll be better preparing these students for careers in the world of cyber-security. With this collaboration, we also hope to create co-op experiences for RIT students and to identify future employees interested in protecting IBM's customers from cyber threats."

As the computing security industry evolves and faces increasingly sophisticated attacks, companies are struggling to find enough professionals qualified to address the new threat landscape. According to a 2015 Global Information Security Workforce Study conducted by Frost and Sullivan, analysts predict a shortfall of 1.5 million trained cyber-security professionals in the workforce by 2020.

IBM said under the new relationship with RIT, students gain access to IBM's security solutions, such as its QRadar Security Intelligence platform, including a unified architecture for integrating security information and event management, flow analytics, log management, incident forensics and vulnerability management. Students will also have access to IBM tools for web access security, network security and application vulnerability testing.

Moreover, the lab is set up as a controlled environment for students to experiment with real-world security scenarios. Students will use the security analytics software in a variety courses, including network security and forensics, penetration testing and systems security. RIT will also have access to IBM’s threat-sharing platform, IBM X-Force Exchange, giving students the chance to learn from real-life threat data coming from IBM and other companies across the globe.

"We want to put the best tools in front of our students and with this partnership our students will be learning with systems that companies actually use in industry every day," said Bill Stackpole, an RIT professor of computing security, in a statement. "IBM does a great job with security intelligence, creating databases where you can rank vulnerabilities and maps so you can see where attacks are coming from."

With this lab, RIT students will be able to explore a variety of issues related to the collection and analysis of security-related events. Students will also learn to effectively identify, communicate and react to real security incidents.

In April, IBM announced it was bringing its cyber threat analytics technology to the cloud.

Big Blue is moving its IBM QRadar security intelligence technology to the cloud to help enterprises quickly prioritize threats. The services are available to customers through a cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) model, with optional IBM Security Managed Services to provide deeper expertise and flexibility for security professionals.

"Organizations are facing a security data tsunami that can overwhelm even the most sophisticated enterprise’s security program," said Jason Corbin, vice president of product management and strategy for IBM Security, in a statement. "Security leaders are telling us they want increased visibility through the cloud and control throughout their hybrid IT environments. The option of doing predictive analytics via the cloud gives security teams the flexibility to bring in skills, innovation and information on demand across all of their security environments.”