Hands-on experience is critical to cybersecurity education and workforce development. Teaming with the Office of Information Technology Services (ITS), we have developed a unique Cybersecurity Research Environment (CRE) — an infrastructure that provides the flexibility, performance and resiliency needed for effective cybersecurity education and research while preserving the security model for enterprise network and services. It is deployed outside the enterprise perimeter boundary, but at the same time allows secure use of existing network switching infrastructure to carry cybersecurity research traffic in a way that ensures the integrity and confidentiality of enterprise data and services. Students can access CRE from the cybersecurity laboratories at the Visual Art Building.

The current lab space is heavily utilized for teaching and research. There is pressing need for expanding the space to keep up with the rapid growth of cybersecurity degree programs and research initiatives. To this end, the ODU Cyber Innovation Park is being developed, offering about 10,000 ft2 space in Monarch Hall, as the future home of the School of Cybersecurity. Coastal Virginia Center for Cyber Innovation (CoVA CCI) will also be housed in the Cyber Innovation Park. CoVA CCI is a regional unit of the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI). Funding for the Cyber Innovation Park was provided by the university and CCI. The expanded space will become a hub where cybersecurity faculty, researchers, students, and industrial practitioners from various disciplines to work together, interact, and brainstorm new ideas. It will house multiple specialized cybersecurity labs and a state-of-the-art server room to support undergraduate and graduate teaching, as well as cutting-edge research, innovation and commercialization efforts. It will include the cybersecurity commons, collaboration space, meeting rooms and office space to support seminars, competitions, research collaboration, advising, student association activities, open house for prospective students and their families, K-12 school visits, cybersecurity summer camps, and various cybersecurity events, workshops and conferences. The development of the Cyber Innovation Park will be completed by April, 2021. It will be a critical piece of the puzzle to realize a leading cybersecurity program in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the nation.