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Need for cybersecurity solutions create job demand

Tampa, Florida -- Massive data breaches have become a national problem. Recently we've seen several cases where hackers have been able to swipe consumers credit card information, pin numbers and other personal information from national retailers.

On Monday, the University of South Florida hosted a panel of experts and top executives to talk about how to best protect you.

The fears started in December, when Target was hacked. Then in January, we learned that a total of 110 million people were impacted. Neiman Marcus was also hacked followed by Michaels and Yahoo.

SEE ALSO: Verizon investigating two more retail breaches

The panel spoke at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel downtown off Florida Avenue near Channelside. 

The need is so great when it comes to cybersecurity that the Tampa Bay area could be on the verge of becoming a major player when it comes to finding solutions.

While the recent retail breaches have been bad you have to consider the potential problems hackers could cause by going after our electronic health records, power and transportation grids, even our national security.

That may explain why U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), secret service special agents, Hillsborough County School District, health industry workers, and private companies packed the event hosted by USF and The SunTrust Foundation.

Michael Nelson attended the event.

"Prior to the Target security breach, awareness was probably at level one." 

Nelson says now it's at a 6 or 7.

Nelson is the managing partner of Global Telecom Exchange which is a downtown Tampa business that's been around since 2008. They encrypt calls and messages to keep communication secure. Nelson says consumer awareness is good for business.

"We're out here. We're ready to serve the public."

Brandon Metz is a project manager for Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation which focuses on attracting and retaining high wage jobs to our area.

"Since cybersecurity is such a big issue right now and there's such a demand for that workforce we want to do whatever we can to support that initiative." 

Peter Warren Singer, Ph.D. is a cybersecurity expert and author of, "Cybersecurity and Cyberwar What Everyone Needs to Know." He was the keynote speaker of the event. Dr. Singer told the crowd that cybersecurity will be a $120 billion industry by 2017 and will create a lot of jobs.

"It's not just that there's one million new jobs out there, but there's also the fact that the majority of them pay over a $100,000 a year."

Meanwhile, USF is offering online master's degrees and graduate certifications in cybersecurity. Those students, and the solutions they offer will, no doubt, be in high demand since Florida is number one in the nation for identity theft. Click here for more information about the program.

USF is also launching the Florida Center for Cybersecurity at USF, but they need the first round of funding from the Legislature which is creating the budget right now.

Related: Target breach ushers in new world of data security
MORE: Data breach takes toll on Target profit




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