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  • The Alliance has been maturing the Cybersecurity Converge Tour for nearly four years now.  Cerner Corporation, and over 20 professional information security volunteers showed what we are capable of, on a large scale.

    Cerner hosted OVER 160 STUDENTS and teachers for our second event of the year in Kansas City.  Kevin Shekleton, VP & Distinguished Engineer at Cerner, kicked off our program by welcoming students to their absolutely gorgeous new Innovation Campus.  Kevin spoke to students about the future of medical records and what that means for the information security team, guarding that valuable info.

    We set a number of records for the Converge Tour including; most students, most volunteers, most women volunteers and most diversity of career field.  The security community in KC has been growing its impact through the Converge Tour, building upon each former event.  Andy Nelson, Sr Engineering Manager for Cerner, attended our first event with North Kansas City Schools in 2018, and then volunteered his time again at our event this past spring.  Andy was so passionate about the work that the local community was doing for KC students, that he worked with the internal team at Cerner to host an event at their campus.  This is exactly the type of participation the Alliance and its members will need to make a real impact on the talent gap.

    Our day began with a discussion around the basics of information security.  Our volunteers guided students through several scenarios on risk, technology and human factors such as an employee termination.  “The Tour has evolved so much from the first event we hosted back in 2015” said Alliance Executive Director, Sidney Plaza.  “We spend a lot less time talking at the students, and a lot more time engaging them in real world challenges that provide them the opportunity to problem solve and make decisions working cybersecurity professionals encounter every day.”  The scenarios the students work through range from ethics, to vulnerability management and ransomware.  Volunteers help students understand the factors that get weighed when making a decision on risk.  We also show a video about vishing that demonstrates how someone with no technical abilities, but a keen understanding of human psychology, can represent a serious threat to employees and organizations/businesses.

    Students were then broken into teams of 2-3 and prepared for our virtual capture the flag experience.  Our CTF platform is designed to teach teamwork, analytical thinking skills, basic cybersecurity knowledge and problem solving.  Our participants were quizzed on topics like geo-spoofing, online lookup tools, ethics, encryption, decryption and more.  Volunteer Alliance members helped guide the students through the problem solving steps.

    Kansas City students proved, once again, how technically proficient they are with scores nearing our Converge Tour records.

    Our program typically concludes with a 4-5 person panel on career pathways, however we had so many incredible professionals in attendance that we decided to we mix things up and hear from every mentor in the room.  Paul Catalyund, CSO for Global Alliance Partner Palo Alto Networks, shared his experience being courted by one of the hottest technology firms in the world.  Brittney Homerziem, CISO for AMC Theaters, told students our industry monitors popular social networking sites, looking for public threats.  Lewie Dunsworth, EVP of Security Solutions for Herchevec Group, spoke about having the ear of billionaires and what responsibilities come along with that.

    We are incredibly grateful to Palo Alto Networks, Microsoft, Cerner, RiskIQ, and……for making our largest event event a reality.