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MoD recruits Immersive Labs to bolster cyber resilience

UK’s Ministry of Defence will run cyber drills and address its security talent gap with Immersive Labs’ CyberPro, Cyber Crisis Simulator and Application Security products

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is to deploy a package of solutions from “people-centric” security specialist Immersive Labs to upskill existing individuals and teams to confront threats, prove their cyber readiness and identify up-and-coming talent to fill open roles.

The integration is in support of an existing MoD skills delivery programme, Digital Skills for Defence, and follows a successful pilot by the Army.

The MoD will use Immersive’s CyberPro platform for defensive security and workforce resilience, its Cyber Crisis Simulator for conducting cyber wargames, and its Application Security platform to secure its software development lifecycle (SDLC).

“Throughout the world, cyber security threats are increasing, and national security depends on teams and individuals with the right capabilities to effectively and dynamically respond to cyber attacks of all kinds,” said Christine Maxwell, director of cyber defence and risk at the MoD.

“We have chosen Immersive Labs to help our teams build vital skills to confront emerging threats and demonstrate their cyber resilience. As teams complete labs, we will be able to identify personnel within our organisation who demonstrate skills needed to fill cyber security gaps.”

The partnership supports the MoD’s intent to ensure its teams have suitably qualified experienced person (SQEP) capabilities through Immersive’s suite of 1,800 NIST/NICE Framework-aligned labs and simulations – which are being made available to all personnel across the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, Stratcom, the MoD itself, and all MoD civil servants.

It also hopes to use the services to help identify people who may be qualified to move into cyber security roles, whether in management, operations or maintenance.

“We applaud the Ministry of Defence for its proactive efforts to support national security with a people-centric approach to cyber security,” said Matt Knutsen, chief revenue officer at Immersive Labs.

“We look forward to helping the MoD build and demonstrate their cyber readiness in support of their innovative Digital Skills for Defence programme.”

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A recent National Audit Office (NAO) report on the MoD’s overall digital strategy noted that the department was demonstrating good practice in accommodating new challenges around the rapidly digitising nature of warfare, which are affecting its own work, and how the UK’s armed forces operate on kinetic battlefields.

“The NAO has rightly highlighted our focus on remaining at the forefront of digital capability, which is crucial as the shape of the modern battlefield continues to change at unprecedented speed,” said Alex Chalk, minister for defence procurement and MP for Cheltenham.

“Utilising the best technology and brightest minds in industry will only serve to bolster the rank of cyber experts focused on protecting the UK.”

The implementation is the latest in a number of IT projects under way at the government department. In September, it announced it had moved nearly 50 applications from a legacy, private cloud environment to its in-house MODCloud – an initiative designed to provide the defence community with certified, assured public and private cloud services from the major providers, which is also helping the MoD to rationalise its datacentre estate.

It worked with IT and business consultancy Netcompany on this project, which it hopes will help improve the MoD’s overall data security posture.

The MoD believes it can store its official workloads and data more securely in the public cloud than it can on-premise because it can deploy vital patches more quickly, deploy advanced cyber security controls at scale in moments, and authorise access and implement zero-trust controls more easily.

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