A Year Later; Results of Boise State University’s Cyberdome Program in Partnership With Stellar Cyber

Last year, Boise State University announced a new initiative for students in Idaho — the Cyberdome program.

Its primary goal is to encourage more students to get a degree in cybersecurity by gaining essential skills backed up by real-life experience in the field.

Another objective of the initiative is to improve the local and remote rural cybersecurity in Idaho, which is underfunded and vulnerable to cyber exploits — including schools and critical infrastructures.

Fast forward to a year later, the Cyberdome program has been a success.

What have the students gained from this experience, and how did this collaboration benefit the local community?

The Cyberdome Program

Boise State formed the Cyberdome initiative to increase the number of cybersecurity graduates, address the shortage of cyber analysts, and strengthen cyber defenses for the local Idaho community.

The program gave students an opportunity that would otherwise be out of reach for the University.

“The Cyberdome has provided resources and information we have not been able to afford ourselves being a small college, “ said Marty Gang, Chief Technology Officer for Lewis-Clark State College, a Cyberdome client. “We have not been able to access a lot of expensive equipment and software, and Cyberdome has provided access to a large number of good resources. Being provided insight into activities on our network that we didn’t have visibility into before has been very useful.”

Results of the Program

The program helped the students to gain hands-on experience. With it, it complimented all the theory and knowledge they would gain upon enrolling in the cybersecurity programs and completing the degree in Idaho.

However, this initiative did more than help students gain invaluable skills and make them ready for future workplaces.

Its impact was felt regionally as it helped thousands of locals by providing them with expert-level cybersecurity for free.

In the period between January and July, students kept an eye on over 5,000 assets, inspected over 53,000 cyber attacks, and notified clients of 350 likely real-time attacks. Here, we’re talking about the school districts and Idaho communities that are vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

Stellar Cyber’s Open XDR platform played a key role.

The Role of Stellar Cyber’s Open XDR Platform

Stellar Cyber’s Open Extended Detection and Response (Open XDR) platform was developed to facilitate the jobs of cybersecurity analysts. The platform unites the capabilities of several previously incompatible and siloed security solutions.

The Open XDR platform was built to make sense of increasing security data, provide the teams with key insights, and respond to threats based on reliable information.

It gathers their insights and analyzes the data in real-time — offering new insights at all times, all from a single dashboard. This helps the experts to react promptly and dedicate their time to issues that truly are high-risk.

With this, it solves one of the major issues within cybersecurity — data overload. Security experts who do use Open XDR don’t have to spend hours on end to analyze the insights and uncover the signs of a possible attack.

For the mentors and students who participated in the Cyberdome program, having Stellar Cyber’s Open XDR solution at their disposal meant that they had an overview of multiple local organizations in a single dashboard.

They had accurate data they knew they could trust to alert compromised organizations in time.

Open XDR Certified Students

The students who participated in the program are now certified to use the Stellar Cyber Open XDR platform.

Edward Vasko, director of Boise State’s Institute for Pervasive Cybersecurity, highlights Stellar Cyber’s Open XDR platform as an invaluable resource.

“Through our relationship with Stellar Cyber, our team provides feedback about product enhancements, providing our students with first-hand knowledge of the technology provider market. Stellar Cyber enables our students like no other technology partner,” Vasko said.

“Our students take Stellar Cyber’s training and emerge fully certified on the platform. That’s something we don’t have with any other security solution, but it’s critical – not only for us but for any MSSP – because it enables employees to be much more productive security analysts.”

The Program Continues in Other Cities

Following the success of this cybersecurity program for students, institutions in other states have also announced that they will be participating in the Cyberdome program.

In small communities such as the one in Idaho, cybersecurity budgets are limited. Yet, strong security is a necessity for schools and districts that manage critical systems.

All in all, the Cyberdome program has been an ideal collaboration between the local community and the university. Both students and the local community have greatly benefited from the initiative.

Students who participated in this program have gained essential cybersecurity skills while gaining hands-on field experience.

Underfunded local schools and cities gained enterprise-level insights about the state of their security and, what’s better, avoided potential cyber incidents.

Febia Sharon

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