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For Immediate Release

Governor Snyder cuts ribbon on innovative cyber training center

November 9, 2012


ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Governor Rick Snyder cut the ribbon today on the Michigan Cyber Range, a resource that prepares cybersecurity professionals in the detection and prevention of cyber attacks in a real-world setting. The new initiative pairs cybersecurity resources with hands-on training opportunities to enhance Michigan's protection of computer systems and sensitive data.

"Every day, breaches to computer systems threaten the security of data - data that may include personal information about Michigan's citizens," said Governor Rick Snyder. "This partnership to establish the Michigan Cyber Range benefits all levels of government as well as educational systems, private businesses and industry."

Hosted by Merit Network, the Michigan Cyber Range enables individuals and organizations to develop detection and reaction skills through simulations and exercises. The program offers students and IT professionals a full curriculum of meetings and workshops as well as critical cybersecurity training and awareness tools.

The new cyber range serves as a central resource hub and a partner in innovation and collaboration. Critical areas that will benefit from the creation of the Michigan Cyber Range include:
  • Infrastructure defense
  • Homeland security
  • Criminal justice and law enforcement
  • Academic and educational programs and curricula related to information and communications technology (ICT)
  • Entrepreneurial, small and medium businesses in the private sector
"The cyber threat is certainly one of the - if not the - largest threat that we face today," said Don Welch, President and CEO of Merit Network. "In a cyber attack, we must rely on trained professionals, and the new cyber range provides a unique training experience that cannot be replicated in other settings. It's important to arm cyber professionals with training and the most current resources available, and that's exactly what we are doing with this effort."

Students using the cyber range will be able to perform laboratory exercises and out-of-class work that uses the cyber range’s virtual environment and text, video chat and web conferencing capabilities.

"The Michigan Cyber Range will provide a capability not found anywhere else in the world," said John Nixon, director of the state's Department of Technology, Management and Budget. "In Michigan, we have a governor who understands the importance of safeguarding our resources. His commitment will ensure that a broad range of cybersecurity professionals have access to current methods and resources."

Initially, the cyber range's physical assets will be housed at Eastern Michigan University with additional sites planned for Ferris State University and the 110th Airlift Wing in Battle Creek. With additional funding, expansion plans could involve as many as 10 sites. More information on the Michigan Cyber Range can be found at www.merit.edu/cyberrange/.

The Michigan Cyber Range is part of Governor Snyder's cyber initiative launched last fall to improve cybersecurity efforts to protect families, communities, businesses and government. More information found at www.michigan.gov/cybersecurity provides a safeguarding toolkit and practical steps for improving cybersecurity in our everyday lives.

Michigan Cyber Range partners include Merit Network, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Energy, National Institute of Standards and Technology, DTE Energy, Consumers Energy, Plante and Moran PLLC, Juniper Networks, Eastern Michigan University, Michigan State Police, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and the Department of Technology, Management and Budget. Merit Network, a nonprofit corporation governed by Michigan's public universities, owns and operates America's longest running regional research and education network and supports the high-performance networking needs of Michigan's universities, colleges, K-12 schools, libraries, state government, health care and other nonprofit organizations.

About Merit Network

Merit Network Inc., a nonprofit corporation owned and governed by Michigan's public universities, owns and operates America's longest-running regional research and education network. In 1966, Michigan's public universities created Merit as a shared resource to help meet their common need for networking assistance. Since its formation, Merit Network has remained on the forefront of research and education networking expertise and services. Merit provides high-performance networking solutions to Michigan's public universities, colleges, K-12 organizations, libraries, state government, healthcare, and other nonprofit organizations. For more information: www.merit.edu



For press/media contact:

Elwood Downing
Merit Network, Inc.
Phone: (734)527-5702
Email:

Kurt Weiss
Department of Technology Management & Budget (DTMB)
Phone: (517)335-0050
Email:




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