Goldman Sachs and Immersive Labs today announced the commencement of a new programme for improving the cyber skills of the bank’s employees around the globe. Goldman Sachs will initially use Immersive Labs’ browser-based platform to provide cyber security teams with purpose-built scenarios and gamified lab environments which facilitate best practice by addressing attacker psychology, digital countermeasures and breach response. Goldman Sachs intends to subsequently deploy the virtual learning platform amongst its 8,000+ developers and potentially other types of workers across the firm as part of its strong commitment to cyber resiliency.
Immersive Labs is a highly accoladed UK cyber security company that helps companies identify and develop talent through a unique cloud-based cyber training and assessment platform and is on a mission to solve the cyber skills gap that affects industries and organisations world wide. Founded by ex-GCHQ cyber skills trainer James Hadley and chaired by ex-GCHQ director general, Robert Hannigan, Immersive Labs’ gamified platform is now being used in some of the world’s top companies, including Deloitte, Grant Thornton, BAE Systems and now Goldman Sachs, to identify, upskill and retain cyber security staff.
“There is a critical shortage of cyber professionals across the globe which makes it difficult for organisations to find talented individuals and puts added pressures on existing cyber professionals to keep their skills sharp. Immersive Labs provides an innovative solution for training and identifying new cyber professionals and honing the skills of existing ones,” said Andy Ozment, Chief Information Security Officer and Head of Tech Risk at Goldman Sachs.
The Immersive Labs approach provides customers with a kinesthetic platform that addresses the skills shortage in a dynamic, hands-on and engaging way without expensive and outdated classroom-based learning.
“The best of the best cyber talent likes to learn; however, they don’t like to be taught,” explained James Hadley, CEO and founder of Immersive Labs. “The cyber skills shortage is one of the largest problems facing the technology sector today, and as a result attackers are winning. We realised that if we wanted to fix this at scale, it was not something that could be done in a classroom as it just doesn’t appeal to the people we are trying to reach. It needs to be fun, engaging and ongoing, so we took a disruptive approach to the market.”
The platform can run in any internet browser and the online labs allow cyber security teams at organisations of all sizes to compete against one another in games which develop crucial cyber skills such as malware analysis, digital forensics, ethical hacking and more. It also provides CISOs and CIOs with actionable data on how security teams are performing across the board, allowing for better insight into their capabilities while helping them to discover previously hidden talent.
“Immersive Labs is a unique product in the marketplace that has a great track record in their academies for encouraging diversity and career progression in cyber security. This matches the values and objectives of Goldman Sachs,” added Jo Hannaford, Head of Technology for EMEA at Goldman Sachs.
Hadley also noted that the culture of competition had encouraged high levels of participation by technical staff at ImmersiveLabs’ other corporate clients. “A lot of our heavy users use the platform on Friday and Saturday night because they want to be at the top of the leader board come Monday morning,” he said.
“To be working with companies with the credibility of Goldman Sachs is a significant point of validation for the team and reinforces our gamified approach to actively increasing interest in cyber security as a career path and keeping current cyber professionals at the top of their games,” Hadley continued.
Robert Hannigan, Chairman of the Immersive Labs Advisory Board, said: “The partnership between Immersive Labs and Goldman Sachs is a great example of an innovative approach to cyber skills in action. Major institutions cannot wait for the cyber skills education pipeline to right itself. The key is to identify and develop talent and aptitude among existing staff, using techniques that are appropriate to a new generation.”
Opening offices in Washington and New York this week, Immersive Labs also works on a number of altruistic activities aimed at addressing the cyber skills shortage across the board, increasing diversity and providing free access for students and military veterans so they can begin or progress their cyber security career journeys.