Port San Antonio-based DC Industries and RedCell — who, along with Red Knight, are part of the nonprofit San Antonio Multidiscipline Security Operations Center (SAMSOC) — have partnered with local startup Ractive to create a first-of-its-kind, customized virtual reality (VR) training course for cybersecurity applications.
A product of local collaborative co-working space Geekdom, Ractive develops cinematics and VR experiences for game studios, government agencies and businesses. Many of its exercises involve simulated high-stress scenarios to improve decision-making and performance under pressure.
“I was looking for other companies that had really interesting things they were teaching,” says Ractive CEO Jonathan Perry. “DC Industries reached out and was really excited about integrating VR into their courses.”
Ractive is lending its expertise to DC Industries and RedCell — who specialize in training, certification, workforce development and placement for veterans transitioning into IT/cybersecurity careers — to create a unique and focused VR training experiences for students.
By integrating VR into courses that feature technical hands-on exercises, DC Industries and RedCell can provide pupils with an education of real-world scenarios in a safe and controlled environment. Participants experience network attacks, intrusions and insider threats and learn how to properly respond to these incidents.
“The efficiency of our education is increased whenever we enhance traditional education through classroom lectures and books by adding hands-on demonstrations,” says DC Industries course developer and RedCell Executive Director Rob Dodson. “Virtual reality will afford us the opportunity to do and learn complex things at a moment’s notice.”
The collaborative’s first VR courses were designed by Dodson to meet workforce demand for employees who can properly target threat actors and respond to cyber incidents.
“This is going to change how training is done,” says Cindy McClister, Director of DC Industries. “Students won’t be looking at Power Points anymore. Their attention is going to be much better; it’s designed for everybody.”
“Ractive is excited to work with DC Industries to take their cybersecurity training to the next level,” adds Perry. “Virtual reality is the perfect medium for visualizing complex global networks and allowing users to hunt and neutralize threats in simulated environments. Multiplayer functionality will allow users to participate in a variety of cooperative and competitive scenarios, whether located in the same room or across the globe.”
“Anybody who has a business needs to be aware if there are cyber threats,” continues McClister.
"The collaboration between these locally-based technology firms exemplifies the partnerships that are the cornerstone of our vision to continue growing our campus as a technology port: a place that connects innovators from different disciplines in our community to develop new technologies that are transforming the world," says Port President and CEO Jim Perschbach. "What is particularly important about this effort is the way in which the partners are rethinking the classroom—ensuring that today’s and upcoming generations of cyber and other tech professionals keep their skills sharp as their respective industries continue to evolve at an accelerated pace."