Science & Technology

UWF Center for Cybersecurity hosts grand opening in downtown Studer Community Institute Building

Operating out of a state-of-the-art facility in the downtown Studer Community Institute Building, the University of West Florida Center for Cybersecurity celebrated the grand opening of its new home on Monday, April 15. The event took place as part of the University’s Founders Week festivities.

UWF Center for Cybersecurity located in the Studer Community Institute Building in downtown Pensacola

The downtown location positions the Center to conduct innovative teaching, research and training for students, professionals and state agency personnel. The cutting-edge site supports full-spectrum cyber operations including detection, incident response, protection, recovery and investigation using hands-on, scenario-based training. The Center invests in innovative training to combat the evolving cyber threat landscape. Cybercriminals will steal an estimated 146 billion records and cost businesses about $8 trillion over the next five years, according to a 2018 study by Juniper Research, a company that specializes in forecasting and consultancy for digital technology markets.

“Innovation defines how the UWF Center for Cybersecurity operates,” said UWF President Martha D. Saunders. “The Studer Community Institute is a state-of-the-art facility that complements the caliber of UWF’s nationally recognized program. This new venue is the ideal counterpart as we continue working to establish Florida’s Cyber Coast.”

The Center operates on the second floor of the SCI Building. The new location includes a cyber operations and security training lab, educational security operations center, cyberinfrastructure security lab and cyber innovation area. The SCI Building also houses the Florida Cyber Range, a virtual environment created in partnership with Metova CyberCENTS that provides advanced hands-on training and testing solutions through customizable modules.

Organizations utilize the Center’s Cybersecurity for All Program to provide training for businesses, government and defense organizations. The new facility allows the program to continue these services and expand community outreach. Expansion includes K12 programs, cybersecurity events, competitions, tours and public addresses. Outside of programming, the Center provides a venue where new technologies and best practices are showcased.

The move benefits both UWF and the Studer Community Institute in their mission to improve the community’s quality of life.

“Pensacola is making great progress on so many fronts,” said Quint Studer, owner of the Studer Community Institute Building. “A large reason for the area’s improved quality of life is the phenomenal work of the University of West Florida. UWF is positioned to be a world leader on cybersecurity. When we purchased and renovated the Garden Street Building it was with the intention of attracting and supporting world class talent and work. UWF Center for Cybersecurity is that and more. We are grateful to be a small part of this phenomenal center.”

The freedom of a vast creative space provides internship and collaborative research project opportunities with businesses, government agencies and fellow academic institutions. UWF offers multidimensional academic programs including the only bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity in the state of Florida with designation as a National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security.

“This puts us in an ideal location to expand the Cyber Coast through collaboration with community and industry partners,” said Dr. Eman El Sheikh, director of the Center for Cybersecurity and professor of computer science at UWF. “The Center supports community and economic development in downtown Pensacola and shares its vision that cybersecurity is everyone’s business. The new location increases UWF’s presence downtown and demonstrates that the University is committed to cybersecurity resiliency beyond the main campus.”

For more information about the UWF Center for Cybersecurity, visit uwf.edu/cyber.