Florida starts cybersecurity training through university, cyber range partnerships

Technology leaders say they're hopeful that this type of collaboration can be replicated in other state governments.

State IT personnel in Florida began initial cybersecurity training on Tuesday with the University of West Florida’s Center for Cybersecurity.

Propelled on the state side by Florida’s Agency for State Technology (AST), state agency information security managers and other information technology personnel will be utilizing UWF’s Center for Cybersecurity to practice cybersecurity fundamentals and awareness. 

Overall, the partnership is intended to fortify the state’s cybersecurity posture and support the government workforce with the latest learning resources and information.

Additional topics will include cybersecurity incident management, network defense, operating system hardening, risk management, cloud security and other emerging topics according to a statement released Tuesday, with more training days expected in the next two weeks.


Training will consist of “a combination” of the Florida Cyber Range and UWF’s Cybersecurity for All program. The Florida Cyber Range is collaboration between the Center for Cybersecurity and cyber simulations company Metova CyberCents, and was designed to be open to academic, industry and government entities. UWF’s Cybersecurity for All program adheres to the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) framework, which serves as a national blueprint and organizational tool for different occupational areas within the field of cybersecurity. 

AST Executive Director and State Chief Information Officer Eric Larson is hopeful that the partnership can serve as a model for other states in both cybersecurity education and in developing lifelong learning pathways. Cyber ranges similar to the Florida Cyber Range are popping up across the country through a variety of public-private partnerships, with many looking to enroll government agencies in their classes.

For its part, UWF is already a leader in the field of cybersecurity education, serving as the NSA/DHS National Center of Academic Excellence Regional Resource Center for the Southeast U.S., one of ten such regional locations across the country.

“[The partnership] is something we launched with the AST to come together and work towards how to advance Florida as a leader in cybersecurity and how to enhance resiliency in workforce development for the state, and more broadly, on a national level,” said Dr. Eman El-Sheikh, UWF Center for Cybersecurity director.

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