Everything You Need To Know About Cybersecurity in Florida

What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is a rapidly evolving field that covers a wide range of technologies. Also known as information security, is a set of strategies, tools and practices designed to protect networks, devices, and programs. Cybersecurity measures protect data from unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification, or disclosure. This includes protecting networks from malicious software or malware and ensuring the security of the systems used to access, store, or transfer data.

Why is Cybersecurity Important?

Cybersecurity is important because it protects the devices, networks, and systems that make up your digital life from virtual attacks. These attacks can come from malware, ransomware, phishing, and other cyber threats. Various measures to protect against these threats include installing and maintaining antivirus software, using strong passwords, and keeping software and systems up to date with the latest security patches. 

Individuals, businesses, and organizations of all sizes rely on cybersecurity. Without cybersecurity, you risk having your personal information compromised or stolen, which can lead to financial loss and damage to your reputation. In addition, cybersecurity is important for businesses, governments, and organizations to protect sensitive information and prevent data breaches, which can have serious consequences such as loss of customer trust and financial losses.

For Government

Cybersecurity is important for governments for several reasons. First, governments handle a large amount of sensitive information, including personal data, financial data, and classified information. If this information were to be compromised, it could have serious consequences for individuals, organizations, and national security. 

Second, governments rely heavily on technology and the internet for their operations, so a cybersecurity breach could disrupt essential services and undermine public trust. Finally, governments are responsible for protecting their citizens and infrastructure from cyber threats, and failure to do so could have serious consequences for public safety and national security.

For Business

All businesses need cybersecurity, but start-ups are particularly vulnerable as a breach could be particularly devastating to new companies lacking the tools to recover quickly. First and foremost, it helps protect the company’s sensitive information, such as financial data, intellectual property, and customer information, from unauthorized parties. This can help prevent data breaches and cyber attacks, which can be costly and damage the company’s reputation. 

Additionally, strong cybersecurity measures can help a start-up company comply with industry regulations and standards. Having a reputation for being secure and protecting customer data can help build trust with customers and partners, which is essential for the success of any business.

Many start-ups in South Florida are focused on cybersecurity. These companies often develop technologies and services to protect businesses and individuals from cyber threats like hacking, data breaches, and malware attacks.

There is a growing need for cybersecurity in South Florida, especially among start-ups. With the increasing number of cyber threats and attacks, start-ups need to prioritize cybersecurity and implement strong security measures to protect their businesses and customers. This includes using strong passwords, regularly updating software and systems, and using firewalls and other security technologies to secure their networks and data. 

It is also a good idea for start-ups in South Florida to educate their employees about cybersecurity best practices and to invest in training to ensure that they are aware of the latest threats and how to protect against them.

There are several reasons why Florida is often considered a good place for business:

  • Low tax burden: Florida has no state income tax, which can be a major advantage for businesses.
  • Pro-business environment: Florida has a reputation for being business-friendly, with a regulatory environment generally conducive to commerce.
  • Large and diverse population: Florida’s growing population can provide a ready market for goods and services. The state is also home to a diverse range of industries, which can provide opportunities for businesses to find niches and specialized markets.
  • Access to international markets: Florida is home to several major ports and airports, making it easy for businesses to access international markets.
  • Strong tourism industry: Florida is a major tourist destination, with a strong tourism industry that can provide opportunities for businesses in the hospitality, entertainment, and retail sectors.

Florida’s combination of low taxes, pro-business environment, diverse population, and access to international markets make it an attractive place for businesses. Cybersecurity is an essential tool to help businesses protect data and thrive.

Two people sitting at a desktop computer exploring cybersecurity career

Why Is Cybersecurity a Good Career in Florida?

Cybersecurity is a good career in Florida for several reasons. One reason is that Florida has a large and growing technology sector, with many businesses and organizations needing skilled cybersecurity professionals to protect their systems and data. The state is home to several major industries at high risk for cyber attacks, including healthcare, finance, and technology, creating a strong demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals.

Florida also has many universities and colleges that offer cybersecurity-related degree programs, which can help individuals gain the skills and knowledge they need to pursue a career in this field. Check out the UF OPWD Cybersecurity Bootcamp to gain the skills you need in under a year.

Finally, the state of Florida has many initiatives in place to encourage the growth of the cybersecurity industry. For example, the state government established the Florida Center for Cybersecurity to promote research and education in the field. This makes Florida an attractive place for cybersecurity professionals to work and build their careers.

Branches of Cybersecurity

Not all cybersecurity jobs will have you performing the same tasks. The type of training and certifications most relevant to your career growth will depend on the path you want to pursue. There are many specializations within the information security field:

Network Security

Network security protects the integrity and accessibility of networks, devices, and the information transmitted over them. It involves a variety of security measures that can be taken to protect against unauthorized access, attacks, and other threats to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of networks and devices. 

Network security measures may include firewalls, antivirus software, intrusion detection and prevention systems, encryption, and other technologies designed to protect against cyber threats. Technical skills for network security include vulnerability testing, firewall configuration, and encryption solutions.

Cloud Security

Cloud security aims to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data and resources stored in the cloud. These policies, technologies, and controls are designed to protect data, applications, and cloud computing infrastructure. It is intended to secure data and resources from hacking, breaches, and malware attacks. It is a crucial consideration for businesses and organizations that use cloud services, as they need to ensure that their sensitive data is protected while it is being stored and processed in the cloud.

Skills required for cloud security include experience with Windows and Linux operating systems, programming languages such as Python, knowledge of DevOps tools, and familiarity with cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Endpoint Security

Endpoint security is a type of cybersecurity that focuses on protecting the devices connected to a network, such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets. These devices, also known as “endpoints,” can be used to access sensitive data and are vulnerable to cyber attacks if not properly secured. 

Endpoint security aims to protect these devices from malware, unauthorized access, and other cyber threats by implementing various security measures such as antivirus software, firewalls, and encryption. It is an important aspect of overall network security and is essential for organizations of all sizes to protect against cyber attacks. Knowledge of network security concepts and Windows and Linux operating systems is key to protecting endpoints and securing files. 

Mobile Security

Mobile security refers to the measures taken to protect mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops, from threats like hacking, malware, and physical damage. This can include installing security software, keeping the operating system and other software up to date, and using strong passwords. It can also involve being cautious about the websites and networks you connect to and the messages and links you open on your mobile device. 

Additionally, physically protecting your mobile device, such as by using a case or locking it with a passcode, can also help to ensure its security. The ability to read and write code (i.e., Java for Android and Swift for iOS) and a basic understanding of how mobile devices operate are skills needed to secure mobile devices.

IoT Security

IoT (Internet of Things) security refers to the measures taken to protect internet-connected devices, such as smart appliances, security cameras, and wearable technology, from unauthorized access and exploitation. IoT devices often have limited processing power and storage, making them vulnerable to attacks. They may also lack strong security measures, making it easy for attackers to access networks and data. 

Ensuring the security of these devices is important to prevent data breaches and other security incidents. Some common measures that can be taken to improve IoT security include implementing strong passwords, regularly updating device firmware, and using encrypted communication channels. Knowledge of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and programming languages such as Python and JavaScript is essential for IoT security. 

Application Security

Application security is the practice of protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of applications and their data. It involves measures to prevent unauthorized access to, use of, or tampering with an application and its data while ensuring the availability of the application and its data to authorized users. 

Application security involves technical and non-technical measures, including implementing secure coding practices, testing for vulnerabilities, and enforcing strong access controls. It is an important aspect of overall information security, as applications are often a primary target for cyber attacks. Exposure to penetration testing, understanding the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), knowledge of web application security, and programming skills are all required in application security.

Cybersecurity Career Roadmap

According to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the number of cybersecurity jobs in Florida is expected to increase by 32% between 2019 to 2029, which is higher than the projected growth rate for all occupations in the state. The increasing reliance on technology in the public and private sectors has led to a greater demand for professionals with cybersecurity expertise. As the threat of cyber attacks grows, the need for cybersecurity professionals in Florida will continue to rise in the coming years.

While there is no one-size-fits-all path to becoming a cyber professional, there are specific steps that many cybersecurity professionals follow in their careers:

Earn a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as computer science, information technology, or cybersecurity.

  • Accelerate learning with a cybersecurity bootcamp to enter the job field in less than a year. 
  • Gain some experience in the area, either through internships or entry-level positions.
  • Obtain industry certifications, such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) or Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH).
  • Advance to more senior roles, such as security analyst, security manager, or chief information security officer (CISO).
  • Continue learning and staying up-to-date with the latest developments in cybersecurity. This might involve earning additional certifications or attending conferences and training sessions.

Remote work is becoming increasingly common in cybersecurity, and many organizations are set up to support remote work for their cybersecurity teams. With the widespread use of the internet and cloud-based technologies, cybersecurity professionals can access and work on systems remotely with a secure and reliable connection. This may involve using virtual private networks (VPNs) and other security measures to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of the data being accessed and transmitted.

An information security analyst holding a clipboard

Entry-Level Cybersecurity Jobs

  • IT Support/Help Desk
    An IT Help Desk Technician interacts with customers to resolve computer problems related to software and hardware issues. Providing technical support and assistance generally requires patience, problem-solving skills, and a strong understanding of operating systems, software, and devices.
    The average salary for IT Support is $63,000*
  • Analyst
    A cybersecurity analyst ensures the safety of an organization’s IT security by monitoring computer networks, installing security software, and testing systems for potential vulnerabilities. Critical thinking and knowledge of IT security and computer networks are necessary skills for analysts.
    The average salary for a Data Analyst is $64,738*
  • Auditor
    Cybersecurity auditors work with companies and organizations to perform internal reviews of security controls to execute cybersecurity audits. Communication, time management, and critical thinking are important skills for auditors to have.
    The average salary for an Auditor is $60,385*
  • Junior Systems Administrator
    Junior systems administrators are responsible for handling day-to-day IT operations and assisting system administrators with systems support for end users. Skills for this role include troubleshooting, analytical abilities, project management, and verbal and written communication. 
    The average salary for a Junior Systems Administrator is $44,878*

Mid-Level and Senior Cybersecurity Jobs

  • Software Engineer
    Software Engineer responsibilities include defining software requirements, writing clean and efficient code for various applications, and running tests to improve system functionality. Common skills include an aptitude for problem-solving, communication, creativity, and self-motivation.
    The average salary for a Software Engineer is $90,777*
  • Operations Manager
    Operations Manager responsibilities include monitoring network infrastructure and resolving system issues. Experience with IT performance management, network administration and system security is a must for this role.
    The average salary for an Operations Manager is $69,819*
  • Director of Operations
    Director of Operations manages the daily activities of a company. Responsibilities include directing actions across multiple departments to improve efficiency and reduce costs as needed. Strong negotiation skills, an analytical mindset for spotting trends, and collaboration make great Director qualities.
    The average salary for a Director of Operations is $97,078*
  • IT Consulting
    IT Consultants help people develop, use, and integrate IT systems and troubleshoot hardware, software, and network problems. An IT consultant must be knowledgeable and customer-oriented with superior communication skills.
    The average salary for an Information Technology (IT) Consultant is $82,535*
  • Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
    CISOs work alongside company officers, business managers, cyber security teams, and IT managers to effectively monitor and maintain the security of their organization’s applications, databases, computers, and websites. Key traits held by CISOs include the ability to lead teams, work across the organization, and exhibit a wide range of IT experience.
    The average salary for a Chief Information Security Officer is $172,880*

*Payscale.com Florida figures provide salary averages. 

Top Jobs Florida Employers Need To Fill

According to cyberseek.org, these are the top cybersecurity job titles that employers in Florida are currently trying to fill:

  • Cybersecurity Analyst
  • Penetration and Vulnerability Tester
  • Cybersecurity Manager
  • Cybersecurity Consultant
  • Software Developer
  • Network Engineer
  • Systems Engineer
  • IT Director
  • Systems Administrator

Cybersecurity Salaries in Florida

  • Entry-level cybersecurity salaries in Florida typically range from $50,000 to $71,000 annually. 
  • Mid-level cybersecurity salaries in Florida typically range from $78,000 to $110,000 annually. 
  • Senior-level cybersecurity salaries in Florida typically range from $125,000 to $180,000 annually.

According to a 2020 report from Cybersecurity Ventures, the average salary for a cybersecurity professional in Florida is $86,255. However, salaries in Florida can vary greatly depending on experience, company size, and industry. In larger metropolitan areas such as Miami and Tampa, cybersecurity salaries can be as high as $105,000.

Security Architects, Security Engineers, Security Analysts, and Chief Security Officers typically require more experience and expertise and tend to earn higher salary ranges.

Two people working information security jobs

How To Start Your Cybersecurity Career With Zero Experience

  1. Take Note of Your Skills and Interests. Many cyber professionals have a thirst for continued education and are excellent problem solvers and analytical thinkers.

  2. Find the Right Training Path. There are many online courses available that can help you learn the basics of cybersecurity. These courses will give you an understanding of the different types of cyber threats and how to protect systems from them.

  3. Gain Hands-On Experience. A bootcamp is a great way to learn more about the field and gain hands-on experience.

  4. Obtain Certifications. Many different certifications are available, including those from CompTIA, ISACA, and the SANS Institute. Choose one that fits your goals and interests and start studying.

  5. Build Your Professional Network. Building relationships with other professionals in the cybersecurity industry can help you learn more about the field and make connections that can lead to job opportunities.

Cybersecurity Training Online

If you are looking for a way to gain cybersecurity knowledge and skills quickly, then a cybersecurity bootcamp can be a great option. With the University of Florida Office of Professional and Workforce Development (OPWD) Cybersecurity Bootcamp you can enter the field in less than a year. 

Online training allows learners to study new skills while maintaining a busy schedule. Night and weekend classes allow learners to continue working as they gain hands-on experience and immerse themselves in the world of cybersecurity.  

Most Sought-After Cybersecurity Certifications in Florida

Industry-recognized certifications serve to both increase your knowledge of specific subjects within cybersecurity and to showcase your accomplishments to prospective employers. The combination of the knowledge and credentials you gain from achieving certification will help you stand out from the crowd when starting and advancing in your career. 

Florida is home to many businesses, government agencies, and institutions that require cybersecurity professionals to protect their systems, networks, and data. As a result, the following certifications are highly valued by employers in Florida. Some of the most sought-after cybersecurity certifications in Florida include:

  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • CompTIA Security+
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
  • Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC)
  • Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP)
Cybersecurity certificates in Florida

What Skills Do I Need To Become a Cybersecurity Professional?

Many learners already have many essential skills needed to become successful cybersecurity professionals. Hard and soft skills applicable to the cyber field can be learned from other careers. 

Hard skills are specific, teachable abilities that can be defined and measured, such as typing, writing, math, reading, and the ability to use software programs. Soft skills are less tangible and harder to quantify, such as communication, problem-solving, decision-making, adaptability, and leadership. 

Hard SkillsSoft Skills
Network Administration

Network Security

Application Security

Incident Handling

Digital Forensics

Malware Analysis

Ethical Hacking

Incident Response

Risk Management 

Threat Intelligence



Curiosity (Continuous Learning)

Active Listening



Types of Cyber Attacks and Vulnerabilities

Cyber attacks are malicious activities aimed at disrupting, damaging, or gaining unauthorized access to a computer system or network. Vulnerabilities are weaknesses in a computer system or network that attackers can exploit to carry out cyber attacks. It is important to stay vigilant and protect against these types of attacks and vulnerabilities by implementing good cybersecurity practices. 


Ransomware is a specific type of malware that encrypts whole or part of file systems, rendering it unusable, oftentimes in order to extract ransom from the infected user or organization in exchange for the decryption key. In 2022 Florida implemented new ransomware and cybersecurity restrictions.


Malware, short for malicious software, is computer software designed with harmful intent including viruses, ransomware, worms, spyware, trojans, and adware.


Phishing is a social engineering tactic used to send emails that appear to be from reputable sources in an attempt to deceive the recipient into divulging sensitive information, clicking on malicious links, or opening malicious attachments. 

Other forms of phishing include spearphishing and clickjacking. Spearphishing is the same tactic but applied to specific, targeted recipients. Clickjacking is an attack where the actions of a legitimate seeming website link are changed in the code to activate an attack, such as cookie or session hijacking or even malware downloads.

Social Engineering

Social Engineering is the act of deceiving legitimate, authorized users into divulging confidential information or granting unauthorized access to information systems or facilities.

Zero-Day Exploits

Zero-day exploits leverage vulnerabilities, such as software flaws, that are unknown to the target and have not been protected.  

Distributed Denial of Service

A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack involves the use of multiple systems (i.e., Botnets) to overload a service with requests and make the service, such as a website, unavailable for users. 


A man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack is a type of attack where an attacker intercepts communication between two parties, allowing them to monitor, modify, or inject malicious data into the communication. 

SQL Injection

A SQL injection is a vulnerability in a web application that allows the attacker to insert or “inject” malicious SQL code into the backend database to manipulate and retrieve information that was not meant to be accessed.  


Spyware is a form of malware intended to share user or system behavior as it happens with the attacker; spyware includes attacker access to webcams and keyboard activity (such as typing in passwords).

Someone sitting at a desk with several laptops and screens learning cybersecurity skills

Recent Cyber Attacks in Florida

Florida has been the target of numerous cyberattacks. In May 2019, the City of Riviera Beach was hit with a ransomware attack that caused the city to pay a ransom of $600,000 to regain access to its data. The attack impacted the city’s IT systems and caused the disruption of essential services for over two weeks.

In June 2020, a ransomware attack on Miami-Dade County disabled the county’s systems, leading to the closure of its website and the delay of essential services. The hackers demanded a ransom of $600,000 in order to unlock the systems.

In July 2020, the Florida Virtual School (FLVS) experienced a data breach that compromised the personal information of over 3.2 million users. The hackers accessed the names, addresses, emails, and passwords of students, employees, and parents.

Basic Cybersecurity Best Practices

Password management. Password management is the practice of creating, storing, and managing passwords for online accounts such as email, social media, and banking. Its purpose is to ensure that only those who are authorized to access the accounts can gain access. This is done by setting up strong passwords that are difficult to guess and periodically changing them. 

Enable two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a process that requires two different components to verify a user’s identity. These components typically involve something the user knows (such as a password or PIN) and something the user has (such as a physical token or their mobile phone). 2FA is useful because it adds an additional layer of security to the authentication process, making it harder for attackers to gain access to an account, even if they have the user’s credentials. 

2FA Examples:

1. SMS-based authentication: A user provides their username and password, and a one-time code is sent to their mobile device.

2. Biometric authentication: A user provides their username and password, and then their fingerprint or face scan is used to verify their identity.

3. Security token authentication: A user provides their username and password, and then a physical token is used to generate a code to complete the authentication process.

4. One-time password (OTP) authentication: A user provides their username and password and then a one-time password is generated and sent to their email or mobile device.

End-to-end encryption. End-to-end encryption is a form of encryption that ensures that data is only accessible by the intended sender and recipient. It ensures that no third party can access the data being sent between two parties. This means that even if the data is intercepted, it will be impossible to read. End-to-end encryption is useful because it provides a secure way of transferring data between two parties, making it ideal for sensitive information such as financial details and medical records.

Data encryption. Data encryption is the process of transforming plaintext data (i.e., readable text) into ciphertext (i.e., unreadable text) using an algorithm and a secret key. It is a form of security that helps protect data from unauthorized access, modification, or disclosure. Encryption makes it difficult for anyone who does not have the secret key to access the original data. It is useful for protecting sensitive information, such as financial and personal information, from unauthorized parties.

Update device software and operating systems. Updating device software and operating systems is a best practice because it ensures that your devices are running the most recent version of software. This ensures that any security flaws or vulnerabilities that have been discovered have been addressed and that you are taking advantage of the latest features and bug fixes. 

Use a VPN in public spaces. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a service that allows users to create a secure connection to another network over the internet. It is used for encrypting data and routing it through a secure tunnel. This type of technology is especially useful in public spaces, as it prevents anyone else on the same network from seeing what you’re doing online. It also prevents anyone from being able to see where you are physically located while you are connected to the VPN.

Avoid suspicious or unknown online communications and files. Exercise caution when opening emails and attachments. Be wary of emails from unknown sources or any emails that are unexpected. Be extra cautious if you receive an email from someone you don’t know or a company you don’t recognize. Be wary of emails with obvious spelling and grammar errors, as this is often a sign of a fraudulent email and refrain from clicking links or downloading attachments. Do not click on links or download attachments within an email unless you are absolutely sure the sender is legitimate.

Never use or insert an unknown drive or USB. Using an unknown drive or USB could potentially risk your device and data. Unknown drives or USBs may contain malicious software that can infect your computer, steal personal information, or delete important files. Additionally, if the drive or USB contains a virus, it could spread to other connected drives and devices.

Regularly re-evaluate your security practices. Regularly re-evaluating your security practices is important because the cybersecurity landscape constantly evolves. It is important to stay up to date with the latest security threats, vulnerabilities, and best practices to ensure your systems and data remain secure. Re-evaluating your security practices also helps you identify any gaps in your security posture which can then be addressed.

Be aware of privacy settings.  Apps on your mobile devices may have default settings that can affect how data is shared. The following features may affect how data is shared:

1. Location Services – This setting controls whether an app can access your device’s location.

2. Background App Refresh – This setting allows apps to refresh their content in the background while you’re using other apps.

3. Push Notifications – This setting allows apps to send you notifications even when you’re not using them.

4. Data Sharing – This setting controls whether an app can access and share your data with other apps or services.

5. Analytic Tracking – This setting allows app developers to track how you use their apps and collect anonymous data.

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The Future of Cybersecurity

The future of cybersecurity in Florida is very bright. The state has invested heavily in its cybersecurity infrastructure, focusing on protecting its citizens and businesses from cyber threats. It has implemented initiatives such as the Florida Cybersecurity Initiative, which provides grant money to support cybersecurity initiatives. It is also home to several large cybersecurity companies and a vibrant research and development community. As Florida continues to invest in its cybersecurity infrastructure, cyber professionals will be in high demand to keep up with protection needs.

The Impact From Tech and Legislation

New technologies and legislation will impact cybersecurity professionals in various ways. As new technologies are developed, cybersecurity professionals must stay on top of the latest trends to secure their networks. Additionally, new legislation will require them to comply with new regulations, such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). These could significantly impact how information security professionals protect networks and data. Finally, the increasing number of cyber threats and data breaches means cybersecurity professionals must develop new strategies and technologies to stay ahead of the ever-evolving threat landscape.

Join the Cybersecurity Industry in Less Than a Year

Anyone who desires to learn can potentially work in the cyber industry. Many soft skills cybersecurity professionals have, such as strong communication and problem-solving acumen, are needed for every industry. 

Online training allows learners to maintain busy schedules while obtaining the in-demand skills the tech industry is looking for. In under a year, you could join the ranks of professionals defending our digital data. Check out the UF OPWD Cybersecurity Bootcamp to learn more or fill out the form below to schedule a call with our enrollment team.

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