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CYBERFORCE Profile Series: Transforming Technical Conversations with a Best Practice Assessment

This is the first in a series of blogs featuring a Palo Alto Networks CYBERFORCE Engineer and the business challenges they tackle. CYBERFORCE recognizes the best-of-the-best from the NextWave Partner Community; proven partner engineers who put the customer first, are trusted for their security expertise, and focus on preventing successful cyberattacks

Meet Chris, CYBERFORCE Hero #029

Chris Yates of Texas-based Critical Start, is a 25-year veteran in the cybersecurity industry.  With a master’s degree in teaching, Chris applies all that he has learned in school and in his career to help those around him, including the customers he visits. “I like to start conversations with new customers by saying, ‘Tell me your story.’ I spend a lot more time listening to the pain points customers have instead of talking.”

Tools of the Trade

Using the Palo Alto Networks Best Practice Assessment (BPA) has become one of the most effective ways for Chris to transform a technology conversation into a business level one. The BPA evaluates a customer’s platform configurations by measuring their adoption of capabilities, validating whether or not their policies adhere to best practices, and provides recommendations and instructions for how to remediate failed best practice checks.

In a recent meeting with an oil and energy customer, the BPA and Heat Map provided metrics and visibility into significant improvements that could be made by adopting new Security Operating Platform features. Rather than presenting technology and features to the CEO, an elevated conversation around metrics and visibility validated further investment in cybersecurity for the company and resulted in immediate board approval.

Before the BPA, Chris said “it was hard to do metrics for management, especially for network security tools.” He continues, “Now we can provide data that measures progress and customers love seeing that on paper. It became a game changer for the CIO who was able to share it with the board and immediately secure budget needed for the next phase of the plan.”

Recognition for Valuable Experience

As a CYBERFORCE engineer, Chris has access to resources and tools that help during customer meetings and conversations.   “CYBERFORCE gives us tremendous credibility that recognizes we’ve gone beyond the standard sales engineer certification/accreditation and that we’re working at a different engagement level.” says Chris. “Customers believe in us. The partner community believes in us. And Palo Alto Networks believes in us and supports us.”

At Palo Alto Networks events, such as SE and Tech Summits, CYBERFORCE members have special invitation-only opportunities to network with other CYBERFORCE members which Chris values. “As part of this elite community, we are on the same team and we trust each other as peers. We can help each other, exchange best practices, share what tools prove to be most effective and all be successful together.”

Chris has some pretty impressive stats, certs and skills. Find out in his video below.

Learn more about joining CYBERFORCE.

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