Campus Life

UWF Center for Cybersecurity partners with the Florida Agency for State Technology to enhance Florida’s cybersecurity resiliency

The University of West Florida (UWF) Center for Cybersecurity is partnering with the Florida Agency for State Technology (AST) to provide cutting-edge cybersecurity education and training for state agency personnel and position Florida as a leader in cybersecurity resiliency and workforce development.

The program will integrate unique and innovative features and provide hands-on training and educational courses using face-to-face, online, and remote delivery to prepare state personnel to detect and protect against emerging cyber threats and attacks. The program will provide competency-based certifications to prepare state personnel for core cybersecurity work roles.

“As the threats evolve, we must continue to train our information security and technology resources. We hope our partnership with UWF will serve as a model for other states to not only provide advanced cyber training, but to offer on-going educational opportunities for state employees,” said AST Executive Director and State Chief Information Officer Eric Larson.

The initial training will commence today at the Florida Department of Revenue in Tallahassee and focus on cybersecurity awareness and fundamentals for AST personnel, state agency information security managers, and other information technology personnel. Additional topics will include cybersecurity incident management, network defense, operating system hardening, risk management, cloud security and other emerging topics.

“When we started the UWF Center for Cybersecurity, this is the type of partnership we envisioned,” said UWF President Martha D. Saunders. “Together, we will enhance the ability of state personnel to detect and defend against cyberattacks and fulfill our commitment to be a leader in cybersecurity education and training.”

The Florida Cyber Range and UWF Cybersecurity for All program will be used to provide training. The Florida Cyber Range is a state-of-the-art platform created through a partnership between the UWF Center for Cybersecurity and Metova CyberCENTS to provide advanced training and testing solutions for academic, government, military and industry use. Metova CyberCENTS is a leader in cyber simulators, ranges and training environments. The high-fidelity training environment can emulate the internet, replicate websites, integrate social media and support dynamic interjection of vulnerabilities.

The UWF Cybersecurity for All program provides innovative education and training on emerging topics via an online learning environment, customizable modules and hands-on activities using the Range. The program aligns with the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education Cybersecurity Workforce Framework and academic pathways. The program will significantly expand the cybersecurity workforce across the state and nation and increase the number of qualified cybersecurity professionals.

UWF will leverage its leadership role as the National Security Agency/Department of Homeland Security National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education and the NSA/DHS Cybersecurity Regional Resource Center for the Southeast U.S. to enhance cybersecurity workforce development for the state and region.

“We proudly support AST in its mission to protect Floridians’ information and access to government services,” said Dr. Eman El-Sheikh, UWF Center for Cybersecurity director. “This program will position Florida as a leader in cybersecurity resiliency and innovation, enhance higher education and research, and serve as a best practice model for cybersecurity workforce development.”

For more information on Florida Agency for State Technology, visit

For more information on the UWF Center for Cybersecurity, visit

For more information on the Florida Cyber Range, visit