THOUSAND OAKS, California., March 17, 2021 / PRNewswire / – SynED, a national not-for-profit organization that is identifying new best practices for effective articulation among employers, job seekers and education providers, announced today David Cumbow was selected as his national cyber hero for March 2021.

David Cumbow

David Cumbow selected as SynED’s Cyber ​​Hero to develop a holistic approach to cybersecurity education

Cumbow is System Engineering Manager at Palo Alto Networks, a global cybersecurity leader. He is also an advisor to SynED’s Cyber-Guild®, a community of cybersecurity and CTE experts, and a board member of the Aaron Barnett Foundation, an organization founded after the death of his former mentor.

He began his career in IT in the Moreno Valley Unified School District, where he developed his own love of computers as a student a few years earlier. Cumbow’s position in the school district and close proximity to students made him an ideal choice for speaking to the school’s CyberPatriot teams and engaging students with work experience.

However, when he stood in front of the students, Cumbow quickly realized that he would be much more successful in combining cybersecurity with other professions that the students were more familiar with, such as law enforcement or the medical field.

“”Aaron [Barnett] I found it important to put someone young and show them the personal side of what drives a passion for cybersecurity, “said Cumbow.” It became clear early on that not everyone is excited about the same things as I am, and I started tweaking my presentation to make it more relevant to IT in areas that students were interested in. “

Cumbow and Barnett also worked together to create a Student Technology Advisory Committee within the district that would enable them to make technology decisions based on the input of those who would actually use those devices and services. The committee’s recommendations helped inform Chromebook purchases and changes to Internet firewalls based on class level rather than a blanket policy for the entire district.

David Thurston, Chief Technology Officer at San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools was the network manager at Moreno valley and started working with Cumbow almost 20 years ago. Even though Cumbow had just graduated from high school himself, Thurston could already see the potential for his career in technology.

“It was great to see him develop his skills as he went from student worker to field technician and ended up in my previous position as network manager,” said Thurston. “David is a lifelong learner in cybersecurity and is always ready to share his considerable knowledge and skills with others, especially young engineers and technicians working in the K-12 and public sectors, so that they can grow into cybersecurity Leader. “

Finally, Cumbow was at a professional fork in the road. He could either move up to CTO in K-12 IT or move into the private sector. He had worked closely with and joined Palo Alto Networks to resolve the issues he had been working on on a larger scale in the school district.

Elton FontaineCumbow, senior director of systems engineering at Palo Alto Networks, said Cumbow had quickly established himself as one of the company’s top engineers. His leadership has helped build the company’s work in the public sector.

“David has done more than anyone at Palo Alto Networks to achieve the vision of making each day safer than the day before as students increasingly turn to technology to make their learning easier,” said Fontaine. “He is genuinely passionate about customers in this space and is proactive in owning and driving internal initiatives that allow us to better focus on and secure those customers.”

Maggie Bunter, Technology Director of the Chino Valley Unified School District, is one of those clients, commending Cumbow’s passion for cybersecurity education and how K-12 education can help establish successful career paths for high school students. According to Bunten, Cumbow also made a significant contribution in the past year to supporting the district in the transition to distance learning.

“He is able to empathize with the needs of K-12 as well as the budget and staffing constraints that most organizations face,” said Bunten. “He’s also a big advocate of engaging students and providing opportunities for districts to work with organizations that can offer low-cost or free cybersecurity curricula to our schools. He has an all-round friendly, caring, and brilliant mind who takes care of everything. ” the K-12 room. “

Seeing the bigger picture in his role at Palo Alto Networks helped Cumbow see the extent of the cybersecurity lack The United States.

“There are aspects of the industry that we don’t even talk about [in classrooms] Like AI, machine learning, and identity and access management, “said Cumbow.” We talk about this huge talent shortage, but no one talks about what’s missing in cybersecurity and what’s to come. “

However, Cumbow is confident that these conversations will accelerate as cybersecurity becomes increasingly important in the national conversation. Much like the presentations he gave Moreno Valley He sees students as the best chance they have for advancement by combining cybersecurity with other things people are interested in, like medical informatics or risk assessment.

“People need to become familiar with cybersecurity in general and understand the impact of not backing up data versus backing up our data,” said Cumbow. “Once that happens, the skills gap will close as people understand that cybersecurity isn’t just about staring at logs all day.”

Indeed, Cumbow sees a world in the not-too-distant future where machine learning and other technologies can take over these more mundane tasks and free cybersecurity workers to address bigger, more intellectually engaging problems and issues.

Cumbow is currently pursuing his Masters in Cybersecurity Operations and Leadership at University of San Diego and hopes to begin teaching at the college level after completing the program.

“Having a passion for what you do, turning around and sharing the skills with those around you, will help us all successfully build a better curriculum,” he said. “It’s not a competition. The more we all share, the better it becomes for us.”

Via Palo Alto Networks
Palo Alto Networks, the global leader in cybersecurity, is shaping the cloud-centric future with technologies that are transforming the way people and organizations work. The company’s mission is to be the cybersecurity partner of choice and protect our digital way of life. We help address the world’s biggest security challenges with continuous innovation leveraging the latest breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, analytics, automation and orchestration.

Via the Aaron Barnett Foundation
The Aaron Barnett Foundation was founded in 2019 and is designed to provide young public school students with the opportunity to learn and develop cybersecurity careers. The foundation’s mission and goals are to develop, promote, and improve cybersecurity programs and skills in the K-12 education sector in California.

About SynED®
SynED’s CyberHero series, showcasing cyber heroes who tacitly do everything possible to protect our nation and communities, is a monthly column published nationally. SynED is a not-for-profit organization that acts as a catalyst to help colleges and other college partners equip students with the skills they need to enrich their lives through education, knowledge, and skill acquisition, and thereby offer them rich career opportunities Offer. SynED also maintains a community for CTE experts on®.

Liz Fraumann
[email protected]

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