Unleashing Cybersecurity ...
26 June 23

Unleashing Cybersecurity Expertise: Harnessing the Benefits of Practical Labs

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To combat the relentless onslaught of cyber threats,  theoretical knowledge alone is not enough. Hands-on experience in the form of realistic practical labs has become an invaluable asset for aspiring cybersecurity professionals to excel in the field. 

Practical labs are essential for developing competent and well-rounded cybersecurity experts. At INE, we develop and integrate realistic practical labs into our courses, learning paths and certifications to help our learners retain information and confidently transfer it to the real world. Want to learn more about the benefits of practical lab-based cybersecurity training? Learn more from INE instructor and cybersecurity expert, Alexis Ahmed, in this blog! 

Cybersecurity Lab-Based Training

Before exploring how INE integrates practical labs into its Cybersecurity learning paths and certifications, let’s dig into the empirical importance of lab-based augmented learning and how it is used to enhance the cybersecurity training experience.

Cybersecurity practical labs, also known as cyber labs or virtual labs, are interactive learning environments designed to provide hands-on experience and training in various aspects of cybersecurity. These labs are designed to simulate real-world environments and allow learners to actively engage with cybersecurity tools, technologies, and techniques. 

Practical labs play a crucial role in cybersecurity training by offering numerous advantages, like:

  • Practical Learning

  • Practical Skill Development

  • Real-World Simulations

  • Risk-Free Environments

  • Personalized Learning and Flexibility

  • Keep Pace with Rapid Technological Advancements

By harnessing these advantages, aspiring cybersecurity professionals can acquire the practical expertise and competencies needed to thrive in the rapidly evolving landscape of cybersecurity.

Benefits of Lab-Based Training

Practical Learning

Practical labs provide an active learning environment that encourages student engagement and participation. Unlike traditional online classes and lectures, which primarily focus on theoretical concepts, practical labs enable learners to: 

  • Apply their knowledge in a controlled setting

  • Assess their current skill gaps 

  • Improve their current skill set 

This empowers learners to keep themselves up to date with the latest cybersecurity threats, tools, techniques and technologies.

Theoretical knowledge is undoubtedly important in cybersecurity training, however, it is only through consistent practical application of knowledge and skills learned that students can truly bridge the gap between theory and practice. Practical labs complement traditional learning by allowing students to implement the concepts they have learned, reinforce their understanding and develop practical skills in a real-world environment. This integration of theory and practice ensures that cybersecurity professionals possess the necessary skills to effectively protect systems and networks.

By actively solving problems, using and configuring security tools, and analyzing results in real-time, students can improve their grasp on the practical aspects of cybersecurity and develop critical thinking skills allowing them to operate efficiently in a particular job role.

INE integrates practical labs into every learning path and certificates to ensure students are able to apply, test, and validate what they have learned and get a grasp of how the skills learned are applied in real world environments.

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In the spirit of assessing abilities, INE’s practical labs are also paired with corresponding challenges that are used to realistically assess the students ability to operate in a real world environment.

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Practical Skill Development

Cybersecurity is a field that demands up-to-date practical skills augmented by theoretical knowledge. Practical labs provide a platform for learners to acquire and refine essential skills, such as:

  • Penetration testing

  • Incident response

  • Security monitoring 

By practicing these skills in a controlled environment, individuals gain confidence, proficiency, and critical thinking abilities crucial for real-world cybersecurity challenges.

Real-World Simulations

One of the primary benefits of hands-on practical labs is the ability to simulate real-world attacks and threats. By leveraging specially designed attack simulations, aspiring students and professionals can gain firsthand experience in detecting and defending against various types of attacks, such as malware infections, network breaches, and social engineering attempts. 

INE leverages attack simulation in Blue Team labs to simulate adversarial TTPs (Tactics, Techniques and Procedures) and assess student and defenders abilities to detect and defend against real world threats and Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs).

Attack simulation labs are an effective tool for training defenders in cybersecurity. By simulating real-world cyber attacks, defenders can gain valuable experience and develop the skills necessary to detect, analyze, and respond to threats. 

Risk-Free Environments

In an online practical lab environment, learners can experiment and make mistakes without the fear of real-world consequences and damage to their operating system. Cybersecurity training labs offer a safe environment where students can test their skills, explore different techniques, and learn from their failure. This hands-on experience allows individuals to develop a deeper understanding of the consequences of their actions and empowers them to make informed decisions when faced with actual cybersecurity challenges.

INE takes the concept of “Risk-Free Environments” to the next level by alleviating the need for students to use their own virtual machines. This is achieved through the use of practical hands-on labs accessible to students via their browser without the need of a VPN connection.

For example, in the case of offensive/Red Team labs, every lab comes paired with a pre-configured Kali Linux system accessible via RDP directly from your browser! This reduces the technical barrier to entry typically faced by students with computers that may be technically inadequate to facilitate virtualization of operating systems and offers students the ability to continue their learning on any device that can run a browser.

Now, you may be wondering, what’s the catch? 

  • Are the labs fast enough?  Labs can be accessed in-browser with a basic 3G connection and provide students with the ability to natively scale the resolution of the lab system(s) to that of their monitor without compromising the overall experience.

  • Do labs take a long time to start?  Labs on the INE platform take an average of 30-45 seconds to start and can be initiated in a region closest to you to ensure the best latency.

  • What if i mess something up in the lab?  INE provides you with the ability to reset the lab if you make a mistake or would like to start afresh.

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Personalized Learning and Flexibility

Practical online labs can be tailored to meet the specific needs and skill levels of learners. They can be designed to address individual weaknesses, reinforce key concepts, or explore advanced topics. 

INE’s learner centric approach to practical labs offers flexibility to students in terms of time and access. Learners can engage in hands-on exercises at their own pace, at any time, wherever they are, allowing them to balance their cybersecurity training with other commitments.

Keeping Pace with Rapid Technological Advancements

Practical labs play a vital role in helping cybersecurity professionals keep pace with rapid technological advancements by:

  • Proving hands-on experience with emerging technologies - Practical labs provide an opportunity to work directly with emerging technologies, tools, and platforms. As new cybersecurity solutions and techniques emerge, practical labs allow professionals to gain hands-on experience and explore their capabilities. This direct engagement enables them to understand the practical implications and limitations of these technologies, preparing them to adopt and integrate them effectively into their cybersecurity practices.

  • Testing and Validating new security measures - Practical labs serve as a testing ground for validating the effectiveness of new security measures and technologies. Cybersecurity professionals can experiment with different configurations, settings, and implementations in a controlled environment. By conducting hands-on tests and simulations, they can assess the strengths, weaknesses, and potential risks associated with emerging security solutions. This knowledge helps them make informed decisions about adopting and deploying these technologies in real-world scenarios.

  • Addressing new vulnerabilities and attack vectors - Rapid technological advancements often give rise to new attack vectors and vulnerabilities. Practical labs provide a platform to explore and understand these emerging threats. Cybersecurity professionals can simulate and analyze attacks targeting newly discovered vulnerabilities, allowing them to develop effective mitigation strategies. By actively engaging in practical labs, professionals stay current with the latest attack techniques and can proactively adapt their defenses to counter these evolving threats.

    • INE is able to meet the increasing demands for training on new vulnerabilities and attack vectors by offering students access to a constantly updated collection of CVE labs designed to provide learners with hands-on experience in exploiting and defending against the latest threats and vulnerabilities.

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To learn more about INE’s immersive, hands-on labs and why you should become a subscriber, visit us at

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