IBM opens new Cambridge, MA security headquarters with massive cyber range

November 16, 2016

Ron Miller

It was a big day for IBM today as it opened its shiny new security headquarters in Kendall Square in Cambridge, MA, complete with what the company is calling the first commercial cyber range.

A cyber range is a network security testing environment, and is typically run by the military or military contractors. This one, dubbed X-Force Command, however, is much more than a couple of terminals in a lab. It is a massive setup with seats for 36 operators. It features audio, video and a simulated Fortune 500 company operation with the goal of giving the user a realistically simulated cyber crisis.

It includes nearly a petabyte of data running in a data center underneath the cyber range, and includes all the kinds of operations that you would have running in a typical enterprise, such as email servers, supply chain software, employees using the internet and so forth.

The idea behind the cyber range is to simulate an actual cyber event to show security personnel, C-suite executives or anyone just how prepared (or more likely unprepared) they are to deal with a massive breach.

“We are putting you into a simulator that is so realistic that your pulse will race, and you will be stressed, and you will learn how to make critical decisions in a crisis,” Caleb Barlow, vice president of security at IBM explained.

The cyber range is part of a broader security strategy by the company. Over the last couple of years, it has purchased at least seven security properties, including Resilient Systems earlier this year, which helps companies prepare for a cyber attack before they happen.

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