Cyber Gulf Coast: ‘Live Coastal, Work Cyber’

Last Friday, FloridaWest, University of West Florida and area cybersecurity educators and professionals unveiled the Cybersecurity Strategic Plan for Pensacola at the UWF Commons Conference Center.

The plan consists of short-term and long-term goals and strategies for building a thriving cybersecurity workforce, strengthening partnerships to enhance innovation and economic development, enhance technology infrastructure and market the Pensacola region as “Live Coastal. Work Cyber.”

UWF President Martha Saunders welcomed the audience. She said, “We are taking the common belief in the power of economic clusters and taking it to the moon.”

FloridaWest CEO Scott Luth talked about the ten-month process in developing the strategic plan with the help of Innovation Strategies. The plan builds on over 15 local studies and reports, Prager Schneider Site Selection Perspective Assessment and more than 30 interviews with cybersecurity experts.

Dr. Eman El-Sheikh spoke at the unveiling. She said that her mission since talking over UWF Center for Cybersecurity has been to “transform Northwest Florida into the Cyber Coast” and to develop our area into a national leader in cybersecurity workforce development. The Cybersecurity Strategic Plan is another step in that direction.

The cyber strategic plan cited UWF as a cybersecurity research leader in Florida and credited its students and faculty members for being engaged in a diverse array of cybersecurity projects. One of those projects is the Florida Cyber Range that debuted Tuesday at the ITEN WIRED Summit. The UWF Center for Cybersecurity partnered with Metova CyberCENTS to create the simulator to provide advanced training and testing solutions through cybersecurity exercises, competitions, conferences, operations and research.

Metova CyberCENTS President Bill Dunn, who serves on the cybersecurity advisory committee, said worldwide spending on cybersecurity is expected to surpass $1 trillion and cybercrime damages are expected to total $6 trillion by 2021.

“Folks, to me, that sounds like an opportunity,” Dunn said.


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