I was recently involved in a fantastic initiative by the Florida Center For Cybersecurity, their Cyber Defense for SMB's program, which provides free resources that help small and medium-sized businesses improve their cybersecurity posture. Also known as FC2 or CyberFlorida, they are a state-funded organization dedicated to establishing Florida as a national leader in cybersecurity through education and workforce development, research and community outreach.

The Cyber Florida Team

Hosted at the University of South Florida, Cyber Florida works with all 12 State University System of Florida (SUS) institutions as well as industry, government and defense to build partnerships and develop programs that grow and strengthen Florida’s cybersecurity ecosystem. Their Cyber Defense for SMB's program is in partnership with the National Cybersecurity Alliance and includes an introductory guidebook, a series of free workshops in different locations around the state and a host of supplemental online resources available through their website.

The whole program is designed to help small business owner get to grips with the cyber risks that face their business, get a handle on their current cybersecurity posture and help them prepare for the worst by implementing best practices.  The whole program is a fantastic resource for any small business that needs guidance around implementing better cybersecurity controls within their organization.

The Cyber Defense For SMB's Guide Book

The Cyber Defense Guidebook For SMB's

The Cyber Defense For SMB's guidebook is being sent out to thousands of businesses across the state and can be downloaded from free from the Cyber Florida website or viewed using the LinkedIn SlideShare PDF embed below. I am proud to be the principal writer for this Cyber Defense For SMB's Guide, but I was not the only writer and the guide was produced by a concerted and collective team effort, including contributions from experts in academia, industry, government and the military.

Contributors include Ronald Sanders, COL (RET) John McLaughlin, Mark G. Clancy, Daniel Eliot and Steve Berlin. The star studded editorial team who worked on this guide included Mark G. Clancy (CISO, Sprint), Daniel Eliot (National Cyber Security Alliance),  Joni Jones, PhD (Associate Professor USF), COL (RET) John McLaughlin (President, IPR Consulting), Marian Merritt (NICE and NIST), Michael W. Myhre (Florida SBDC Network), Ronald Sanders, PhD (Director, University of South Florida) and Andy Zolper (CISO, Raymond James Financial).  One of the unsung heroes on the team is Kate Whitaker who runs communications over at Cyber Florida, she co-ordinated the production of the whole guide brilliantly behind the scenes.

Workshops For Small Businesses

Cyber Florida is hosting a series of workshops around the state of Florida over the next few months, to register and attend one of these workshops you can click on the schedule links below and register for the event through Eventbrite. These events are well worth going to for any business owner wishing to improve their cyber knowledge.

Presented in partnership with the National Cyber Security Alliance, these free workshops introduce the fundamentals of cybersecurity for business in a relaxed, interactive session. Participants are able to ask questions and move through the program's workbook to create a cybersecurity plan specific to their business’s needs.

Spaces are these events are limited, so make sure that you register early!

Additional Cybersecurity Resources

I have listed some additional resources that small businesses can leverage to improve their overall cybersecurity posture below, a mixture of frameworks, programs and guidance from federal agencies and organizations whose advice you can rely on.

  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework is widely regarded as the de factostandard for fundamental cybersecurity best practices. Their website provides an array of tools and guidance for achieving an appropriate level of cybersecurity for your enterprise.
  • CyberSecure My Business™ is a national program provided by the National Cyber Security Alliance to help small and medium-sized businesses learn to be safer and more secure online.
  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently published a suite of free resources to help small business leaders train employees in cyber awareness.
  • The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) provides guidance for small businesses, including free tools to conduct a cyber resilience self-assessment, an in-depth examination of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework.
  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has an online, interactive “Cyberplanner” to help small businesses create a comprehensive Disaster Response and Recovery Plan.

Follow CyberFlorida On Social Media

You can stay up to date on the fantastic work done by the Florida Center for Cybersecurity and get access to their latest articles, guides and courses by following them on Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram and Vimeo, so go give them a follow!