IBM Canada, University of Ottawa to Establish State-Of-The-Art Cyber Range to Train for Cybersecurity Threats

Expansion of 13-Year Partnership to Address Cybersecurity Talent Gap in Canada

IBM and the University of Ottawa today announce a multi-year partnership to build and operate a Cyber Range: a fully immersive, interactive, and experiential learning facility that will enable state-of-the-art research and training in cybersecurity and cyber safety. As part of the agreement, IBM is also making a more than $21 million in-kind contribution to the University over five years to support business development and security training, while uOttawa will invest nearly $7 million over the same period.

Located within the uOttawa Cyber Hub, the Cyber Range will deliver critical security innovation, training, and expertise in both official languages to help grow Canada’s skilled cybersecurity workforce across government, industry and academia. Working collaboratively with the global IBM Security Cyber Range Team in planning, designing and commitment to content delivery, the Cyber Range will allow users to run a suite of cyberattack and cyber threat simulations using the most sophisticated technology and software tools, replicating real-life cyber event scenarios that aim to empower their response readiness. The Cyber Range will train participants on how to properly plan, respond, manage, contain, and remediate a cyber incident, ultimately helping them gain an understanding of the skills and preparation necessary to anticipate and defend against current and future threats.

“The establishment of a world-class Cyber Range at the University of Ottawa provides access to IBM technology and expertise to build greater understanding of security best practices and tactics, the importance of developing cyber preparedness, and the leadership skills required to effectively respond to and manage a major security issue,” said Steven Astorino, Vice President of Data & AI Development, and Canada Lab Director. “IBM Canada’s expanding partnership with uOttawa will create immense opportunities for interdisciplinary activities, as well as industry and public sector cybersecurity training — all while upskilling today’s students to better protect Canadians against cyberthreats.”

“We are thrilled to partner with IBM to establish a state-of-the-art Cyber Range at the University of Ottawa, the first of its kind in Canada,” said Sylvain Charbonneau, Vice-President, Research and Innovation at uOttawa. “This fully immersive and interactive Cyber Range will create exceptional opportunities for innovative interdisciplinary research, experiential training programs and professional skills development. Our partnership with IBM is perfectly aligned with the University’s goals for Transformation 2030 of being more agile, connected, impactful and sustainable.”

Using IBM Security technology, the Cyber Range will consist of an interactive simulation room, observation rooms and a control room for monitoring simulations in the range. The range will be located within the uOttawa Cyber Hub on the 5th floor of the University’s STEM Complex, with completion in 2022. Near-term examples of interdisciplinary research initiatives leveraging the Cyber Range include the development of tailored cybersecurity scenarios for educational and professional development purposes, the study of cyber-attack management and organizational response, as well as the implementation of novel cybersecurity and cyber safety methods, policies, tools, and systems.

The Cyber Range builds upon the foundation of 13 years of successful collaboration between IBM and the University of Ottawa related to software security testing, advanced forensics, cybercrime prevention, counter-cybercrime, and scam prevention. It marks the next transformative step in their partnership, bringing both organizations to work even more closely together, along with a multitude of partners. No less than seven faculties will use the Cyber Range including Engineering, Law (Common Law and Civil Law sections), Telfer School of Management, Social Sciences, Science, and Medicine.

Following the first five years of the agreement, the parties will have the option of extending the agreement by up to five additional years. The Cyber Range will be run in partnership by Co-Directors Iosif Viorel Onut, Ph.D., from the IBM Canada Centre for Advanced Studies, and Professor Guy-Vincent Jourdan, Faculty of Engineering at the University of Ottawa.

IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report 2021 found the average cost of a data breach in Canada was $6.75 million. Canadian companies surveyed reported a mean time of 164 days to identify they had a breach and 60 days to contain it. Find the full report here.

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