When we announced the Hot Dogs & Hacking event currently taking place, we highlighted the value of feedback provided by our ever growing community. The wealth of good ideas allow us to constantly improve our Cyber Ranges while adding more to the mix like we recently did with LetSee. And as good as our Cyber Ranges are, we find that they can’t always solve the biggest challenge teams face - hosting an event that is educational, informative and ties back into the training, development, deployment and testing of the systems being built by teams.
To help get teams over the hosting hurdle, we’ve decided to open up some of the considerations used by our delivery team to help others get going. Since every organization is different, we use these more as guidelines than steadfast points, but believe they’ll help most leaders who are looking to improve security knowledge but may be unsure where to start.
Identify Goals and Takeaways: Simulated learning environments like Cyber Ranges are great, but only go so far if clear goals and takeaways aren’t defined. Among the points to consider are:
- What main education points should your team focus on?
- How will you encourage and enable learning of those points?
- What balance of education vs competition are you trying to achieve?
- After the event, how will you use the results to inform future training and events?
Determine Delivery Method: With the growing acceptance of simulation and gamification to enable training there are a variety of products available to help, and the delivery of those products is critical to their success. Make sure to understand:
- How are the products hosted and made available?
- Where does the responsibility for common IT tasks stand?
- What stress will the system have on your infrastructure?
- Will teams be local? Remote? Mixed locations?
- Who can you call for help?
Lock in Logistics: Well defined logistics are critical for a positive event. From the basics like dates and times, to the more advanced topics of individual expectations and participation levels, clearly defined logistics make for a good event.
- When and where will the event be held?
- What level of participation is expected from team members?
- Have team members received permission to attend training and delay day-to-day responsibilities?
- Who is going to host the event and ensure success?
- Who will support the event if technical glitches occur?
- What will attendees receive as a follow up to the event to ensure training sticks?
Train the Trainer: Without an informed and engaging trainer learning retention will be minimal.
- Does the trainer understand the system, content and teaching points?
- Is the trainer able to communicate across all skill levels in the session?
- Can the trainer deliver on the goals and expectations of the session?
- Will the trainer be able to support local and remote players equally well?
Follow Up: Maximizing the value of a live event requires effective follow up, both in terms of reiterating lessons learned and collecting feedback for future efforts.
- Who will own follow up after the event?
- Will they be able to provide individual guidance for current retention and future education?
- Provide surveys or feedback forms to help identify positive points as well as those needing improvement.
Remember: Fun events are engaging events!
In some cases we find organizations have a few people willing to take on the above challenges - they have passions for engineering, security and training that are infectious and can easily spread knowledge throughout their team. If that’s the case with your team, we encourage you to schedule an event similar to Hot Dogs & Hacking and share your experience with us! We have all the getting started videos you need, you just need to bring the team!
If your team is still looking for help with adopting more immersive security education, don’t worry - we have that too! Reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask how we can help you deliver an event, whether it’s during Hot Dogs and Hacking or at some other time for your team.