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Florida Center for Cybersecurity Hosts Annual Conference

The Florida Center for Cybersecurity at the University of South Florida holds its 2017 Annual Cybersecurity Conference at the Tampa Convention Center.

Hundreds of people from around the country attended the 2017 conference.

Cybersecurity experts from across the country offered the latest trends and hottest topics in the cyber world at the fourth annual Florida Center for Cybersecurity Conference, held Oct. 26 at the Tampa Convention Center.

The conference featured speakers, breakout sessions, networking opportunities and cybersecurity inspired games and competitions – all aimed at examining the current state of cybersecurity, how it got here, and what the industry’s forecast needs to look like in-order-to grow and evolve.

Nathan Fisk, PhD, assistant professor at USF, leads a breakout session during the 4th annual conference. 

The Florida Center for Cybersecurity’s mission is to serve as a facilitator for cybersecurity education. Hosted at the University of South Florida, the center supports all 12 institutions in the State University System of Florida.

“Academic institutions like the University of South Florida, in partnership with stakeholders in government, industry and other sectors, need to pool their collective resources, develop the academic programs needed to create a talented workforce, and work collaboratively to deal with the world’s growing cybersecurity threats,” said Judy Genshaft, system president of the University of South Florida.

Keynote speaker, Ted Schlein, discusses the future of cybersecurity. 

Keynote Speaker, Ted Schlein, managing partner of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and a preeminent expert on cybersecurity and enterprise software, discussed what the industry could expect in the upcoming years, highlighted areas cybersecurity professionals should be focusing on and explained the key pieces of an effective security team.

“We face a big, big issue in industry today. They do not have the resources, the time or the knowledge to protect themselves,” said Schlein. “We’re going to have to innovate to deal with this issue.” 

Throughout the day-long event, the conference hosted a variety of industry leading experts, discussing the latest trends and hottest topics in the cyber world, including two panel discussions, “Is It Time for a U.S. Department of Cybersecurity?” and “How to Win the Cyber Talent Wars… Perspectives from Employers and Prospective Candidates.”

“Is It Time for a U.S. Department of Cybersecurity?” was led by Senior Executive Advisor at Booz Allen Hamilton and the former Director of National Security, Vice Admiral Mike McConnell (USN, Ret.) and looked at the annual $1 trillion global economic impact of cyber economic espionage and cybercrime. Currently overseen by agencies such as the FBI and NSA, the panel discussed whether it is time to create a specialized agency to centralize cybersecurity.

Featured Panelists:

“How to Win the Cyber Talent Wars… Perspectives from Employers and Prospective Candidates,” was moderated by USF’s very own Ronald Sanders, PhD, director and clinical professor of the School of Public Affairs. The panel discussed what it takes to be a “stand out” cyber candidate, and examined the innovative strategies for developing, assessing, recruiting and retaining top cyber talent, especially amongst women and minorities.

Ronald Sanders, PhD, moderates a panel discussion focused on improving the cybersecurity workforce.

Featured Panelists:

“Building a strong cyber workforce starts from K through 12,” said Sanders. “It is going to take inspiring, competent teachers to get students excited about the industry.”

A capture-the-flag competition, hosted by USF’s student-run Whitehatters Computer Security Club, gave attendees the opportunity to test their skills and compete for a Chromebook in a Jeopardy style game concentrated on a variety of cybersecurity areas.

 (Left to right)  Farooq Shaikh, vice president, and Brad Daniels, president, Whitehatters Computer Security Club

Conference exhibitors were also on hand, offering the opportunity to network and explore the industry’s newest technologies.  

Story by Ryan Noone, Photos by Eric Younghans, University Communications & Marketing


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