Oct. 21, 2022—Tampa, Fla– The Florida Center for Cybersecurity (Cyber Florida) at the University of South Florida and Florida Digital Service are working together to launch the state’s first statewide assessment of both public and private critical infrastructure cybersecurity pursuant to House Bill 5001, Appropriation 2944B. The appropriation provides $7 million in funding to Cyber Florida to “conduct a comprehensive risk assessment of the state’s critical infrastructure and provide recommendations to support actionable solutions for improvement of the state’s preparedness and resilience to significant cybersecurity incidents.”

The assessment is part of a significant investment by the Florida Legislature to enhance the state’s cyber resiliency, dubbed “CyberSecureFlorida.” The initiative also includes a $30-million statewide cybersecurity awareness and upskilling training program for public sector employees and establishing a cyber range to help public cybersecurity and information technology professionals learn to detect, prevent, and mitigate cyberattacks. Law enforcement personnel will also be able to use the cyber range to learn digital forensics and evidence-gathering techniques.

“Florida lawmakers have made an unprecedented investment in the state’s cyber resiliency,” said General (Ret.) Frank McKenzie, Executive Director of Cyber Florida. He continued, “This risk assessment will enable Cyber Florida to start building a statewide community of cybersecurity leaders and practitioners centered on Florida’s collective cyber resiliency.”

The assessment consists of an online survey of roughly 150 questions using the Cyber Security Evaluation Tool (CSET) created by the Idaho National Laboratory and the Department of Homeland Security. Cyber Florida is leveraging Idaho National Laboratory’s critical infrastructure cybersecurity expertise through a Strategic Partnership Project (SPP). Florida is the first state in the nation to conduct a statewide survey using CSET.

The CSET link will open on Oct. 20, 2022, at cybersecureflorida.org. Participation is voluntary, and Cyber Florida is encouraging all critical infrastructure organizations in the state, both public and private, to participate. Participants will receive a custom risk assessment report for their organization, which they can use to apply for potential grant funding. All data will be kept confidential and housed on secure servers at Cyber Florida’s host institution, the University of South Florida.

The data will be compiled and reviewed by researchers at MITRE working with Cyber Florida to create a report for the Florida Legislature and Governor DeSantis. The report will outline the aggregate, anonymized findings and recommend potential legislation and funding initiatives to enhance and fortify the state’s critical infrastructure cybersecurity posture.

ABOUT CYBER FLORIDA

The Florida Center for Cybersecurity, also known as Cyber Florida, was established by the Florida Legislature in 2014 to help position Florida as a national leader in cybersecurity through education, research, and outreach. Hosted by the University of South Florida, Cyber Florida leads an array of initiatives to inspire and educate future and current professionals, support industry-advancing research, and help people and organizations better understand cyber threats and what they can do to stay safer in cyberspace.

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