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Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.


333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
United States


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News & Articles

July 1, 2024 |

New Cybersecurity Center of Excellence Aims to Build Stronger Workforce, Provide Key Services

Find out how the center is enhancing security education and offering vital cybersecurity services through its state-of-the-art security operations center.

The Missouri Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (MCCoE) reached a significant milestone with the completion of its state-of-the-art security operations center (SOC). This demonstrates its mission to enhance security education and offer vital cybersecurity services to the local community.

The 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in Springfield, MO, has two core objectives. First, it seeks to deliver hands-on, scenario-based cybersecurity training based. Second, it will provide comprehensive services designed for small to midsize businesses (SMBs) and local/state governments.

Focus on Cybersecurity Awareness

Heather Noggle discusses new cybersecurity center of excellence

Heather Noggle

The MCCoE offers a suite of cybersecurity services for SMBs and local/state governments. Some of those include risk assessment, security monitoring, penetration testing, security training and DevOps support.

Raising cybersecurity awareness among these groups is crucial, emphasized industry veteran Heather Noggle. Noggle, a volunteer director and one of the driving forces behind the center, is former partner at Trabex, a St. Petersburg, FL-based software developer.

The center wants people to consider cybersecurity more like a complement to physical security, Noggle said. “Small governments and small businesses are right in our wheelhouse, but a lot of them don’t even think they need cybersecurity. It’s about [encouraging] them to think about cybersecurity as a part of real and everyday life.”

Overcoming Early Career Obstacles

The MCCoE offers cutting-edge training and certification opportunities for college and university students, select high schoolers, and professionals transitioning into cybersecurity careers. It also partners with employers nationwide to facilitate job placement, ensuring that students have career opportunities after completing the program.

Top-performing students at the MCCoE can gain invaluable real-world experience by working directly with customers. This helps bridge the gap between academic learning and professional application.

It also will help people entering the workforce overcome a big sticking point. Despite having a cybersecurity education, they have yet to practice their skills in a company. And employers are reticent to hire people with no real-world experience.

New cybersecurity professionals often hit qualification hurdles, noted Noggle, who worked in human resources prior to entering the tech field. For example, the CISSP certification program has a five-year cybersecurity work experience requirement to enroll. But many employers demand CISSP for roles that may not require such advanced expertise, creating a barrier for entry-level candidates.

Wes Hester discusses new cybersecurity center of excellence

Wes Hester

“It’s not enough to just take a class; you really have to have some hands-on experience and industry certifications,” explained Wes Hester, CEO of Herndon, VA-based MSSP Foxhole Technology Inc. and a volunteer director of the MCCoE. Instruction combined with the opportunity to work with real customers better positions students for the workforce.

Noggle wants to start a discussion about this in the industry, she said. “We can help employers understand what [CISSP certification] actually means, and maybe translate that into their job requirements so that they’re not requiring that without needing it.”

Leveraging Cybersecurity Expertise

The MCCoE also wants to be an organization that fosters key industry connections.

It conducts research and holds forums to initiate collaboration between industry, academia, and local and state governments to address the current challenges in the cybersecurity realm. The center also partners with MSPs to help build cybersecurity assessments, vulnerability scanning, endpoint detection, and more for their customers, Hester said.

“Recognizing that everyone has their own expertise, we want to bring cybersecurity expertise to MSPs. If you look around our region, there’s a multitude of MSPs but they’re outsourcing — or at some point adding security support services. We want to be that focal point for our region.”

Missouri Cybersecurity Center of Excellence

  • Mission: A 501(c)(3) organization serving the Southwest Missouri regional community focused on equipping the upcoming cybersecurity workforce, as well as providing cybersecurity services to SMBs and local/state governments.
  • Location: In the Missouri State University campus’ Jordan Valley Innovation Center in Springfield, MO.
  • Volunteer directors: Wes Hester of Foxhole Technology Inc.; Shannon McMurtrey, associate professor of cyber risk management at Drury University; Heather Noggle, former partner at Trabex.
  • Website:

Image: iStock

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