Palo Alto Networks and the Virginia Governor’s Office — Taking Cybersecurity Education to Virginia Schools

Jul 24, 2015
3 minutes

Excitement is building in Virginia about the introduction of the state’s new curriculum designed to educate students about cybersecurity. The Governor’s office has worked together with the Virginia Secretary of Technology, Karen Jackson, to author a program that trains high school faculty to teach the new curriculum to students this fall.

The Governor’s office recently partnered with the leader in enterprise security, Palo Alto Networks, and its Palo Alto Networks Academy, to help design the Cybersecurity Education for High School Teachers curriculum.

Why Palo Alto Networks Academy? 

The Palo Alto Networks Academy forms partnerships with universities, colleges, and educational institutions to spread technology and the study of cybersecurity to the next generation of students. It’s this shared passion for cybersecurity knowledge and its impact on all sectors of society that makes this a perfect match.

Palo Alto Networks Academy is working with the Virginia Governor’s office to help build a Cybersecurity Curriculum.

On July 10, Secretary Jackson conducted an exploratory meeting on cybersecurity education for high schools and forged a synergy among industry leaders and educational institutions to accelerate the development of this curriculum.  The goal was to initiate real-world, relevant cyber analytics and forensics training. Palo Alto Networks regional engineering manager, Brian O’Neel, attended the meeting and left determined to help Secretary Jackson achieve her goal and convinced that the Palo Alto Networks Academy could make a significant impact on the initiative.

Many industry leaders, along with several colleges in Virginia, were among those who attended the meeting, including University of Virginia, Norfolk State University, Virginia Tech, George Mason University, James Madison University, and Northern Virginia Community College.  The discussion centered on the scarcity of relevant knowledge and resources in the area of cybersecurity education throughout Virginia’s school systems; also discussed were the unique security challenges faced by the schools themselves. As the leader in enterprise security, Palo Alto Networks is uniquely positioned to act as a trusted advisor to these colleges and universities as they develop and implement their respective initiatives around cybersecurity education.  It is with this in mind that we will soon be collaborating with James Madison University (JMU) on their Cybersecurity Range and Boot Camp programs designed to educate students on cybersecurity and the prevention of cyberthreats.

Palo Alto Networks Academy works with James Madison University (JMU) in Harrisonburg, Virginia. 

JMU is conducting its first-ever Cybersecurity Boot Camp on July 27-31 in support of the Governor’s office and their endeavor of building a cybersecurity curriculum.  This boot camp will give interested teachers the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of cyber defense and will provide them with a complete set of course materials - including lecture slides, lab projects, and other tools - to take back with them to their home institutions. Palo Alto Networks Chief Security Officer, Rick Howard, will present the keynote address on July 28.

Howard has experience in both the public and private sectors managing internal security programs, and is currently responsible for overseeing the Palo Alto Networks Unit 42 Threat Intelligence Team. He has introduced cybersecurity thought leadership initiatives like the Cybersecurity Canon project, which identifies a series of highly recommended reading materials that every cybersecurity professional should read.

For more information on the JMU Cybersecurity Boot Camp, click here.

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