Presenting Sponsor:

Palmetto Cybersecurity Summit for Local Government

The CyberSC Board of Governors invites you to the 2023 Palmetto Cybersecurity Summit for Local Government.

The 2023 Summit provides a critical venue in which current professionals can share the skills, knowledge, and expertise necessary to keeping South Carolinian’s safe from cyber threats in all their various forms.

The event, in its 1st year, will bring together experts to provide timely content and address a variety of cybersecurity issues impacting local government. Attendees will hear from government and industry leaders on the latest developments and gain insights into managing today’s cybersecurity challenges. Leaders from the Municipal Assn of SC, the SC Assn of Counties, SLED, CISA and the SC IT Director’s Association have all pledged their support.

The 2023 Summit provides a critical venue in which current professionals can share the skills, knowledge, and expertise necessary to keeping South Carolinian’s safe from cyber threats in all their various forms.

The agenda for the conference will showcase recognized speakers and experts to lead sessions on topics such as:

Government and private sector collaboration
Cybersecurity and workforce development
Cybersecurity infrastructure
Private sector cybersecurity trends

Cutting edge solutions

Meet with some of the world's most respected and high ranked vendors showcasing some of the latest cybersecurity technology solutions and services.

Technology trends

Learn from national cybersecurity researchers on what trends and issues to be looking for in these highly informative and forward leaning discussions.

Industry experts

Industry experts on Cyber Terrorism, Ransomware, and Incident Response provide their insight and share their knowledge.

Cooperative Conference Center


The Cooperative Conference Center at 169 Laurelhurst Avenue in Columbia, SC

is the venue selected to host this year’s summit.

Event Schedule

Check the program below for this year's summit agenda and learn about the speakers and sessions in store for cyber enthusiasts of all kinds.
Site: Salon C

Join us for the Kickoff Breakfast of the Women in Cyber South Carolina Affiliate

Site: Main Lobby

Registered Attendees can pick up their name badge and get any summit materials.

Site: Salon A/B

Join Emcee Michael Melore as we kick off the inaugural Palmetto Cybersecurity Summit for Local Government

9:30-10:00 AM

Site: Salon A/B

Join Crowdstrike Executive Strategist Debbi Blyth and learn more about what States are doing to address local government cybersecurity issues

Site: Concourse

Refreshment Break and Opportunity to Visit Vendors

10:20-11:05 AM

Site: Salon A/B

Join Moderator David Ulmer and special guests from our Sponsors

10:20-11:05 AM

Site: Salon C

Join CISA Representative Sean McCloskey and Anthony Carbone who will share some of the Federal Government offerings for local governments.

Site: Salon A

Hear Dr. Kelly Caine from Clemson University talk about how important end users are to an organization's cybersecurity.

Site: Salon B

Join Brandon Poole, of Panoptcy, as he leads participants through a discussion exercise on ransomware response.

Site: Salon C

Hear from speakers at the SC State Guard and the SC National Guard on how they work with local governments to address cybersecurity need.

12:15-1:30 PM

Site: Concourse

Join luncheon keynote Erik Avakian as he shares stories of his time as a State CISO in Pennsylvania.

Site: Salon A

Join Mike Nicholson and Sean Fay as they explain ATARC and learn more about what they offer to local governments for cybersecurity protection.

Site: Salon B

Join Spartantec's Lisa Carter as she discusses how the Security Landscape is changing with a furious pace, whether it's Remote-Work, Advanced Phishing Attacks, Ransomware-as-a-service, Credential Exposure on the Dark Web, the digital risk to your organization is greater than ever before. Discover strategies that will help better protect you. Don’t Be The Next Statistic!

Site: Salon C

Join Kyle Bryans as he explains how the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) under a Cooperative Agreement with the United State Department of Homeland Security provides no-cost cybersecurity tools and resources for all state, local, tribal, and territorial governments across the nation. In this session, you will learn more about what is available, and how you can leverage these resources.

Site: Concourse

Refreshment Break and Opportunity to Visit Vendors

Site: Salon C

In this session Jeremy Kopacko will present on Sophos’ security research and findings on current threat landscape and trends in the industry. It will also dive into market conditions and factors impacting cyber security insurance, staffing, and a successful cybersecurity program.

Site: Salon B

Join Corey Bishop, Director of Surgery and Emergency Management, as he explains the impact of a ransomware attack on a rural SC hospital.

Site: Salon A

USC Professor Dr. Dan Ostergaard moderates this panel on workforce and apprenticeship programs in the Palmetto State. Hear from Innoventure's John Warner, ECPI's Dean of Computer and Information Sciences Dr Keith Morneau and Apprenticeship Director Debbie McLeod from McLeod Information Services.

Site: Concourse

Refreshment Break and Opportunity to Visit Vendors

Site: Salon A

Join Noel Adams from Greenville County Schools as he tells you about the mulit-year cyber journey undertaken by Greenville County Schools.

Site: Salon B

Join Robby Hill as he shares a story about being a SC-based managed services provider who was cyber ransomed. In the presentation he discusses- what happened, how they responded, and what they do differently post-breach.

Site: Salon C

This presentation will provide an overview of CyberSupply (, a research initiative that provides data on the availability and access of cybersecurity education in public high schools. A deeper dive into South Carolina will be presented. In addition, efforts from DARK Enterprises, Inc. to support the high school cybersecurity educational ecosystem will be shared.

Site: Concourse

Refreshment Break and Opportunity to Visit Vendors

Site: Salon A/B/C

Please join CyberSC Board of Governor's Chair MG (USA Ret) Les Eisner as he gives closing remarks. We will also have an IPAD giveaway.

Featured Speakers

Our speakers come from all over the US. You’ll hear from renowned industry experts and visionary leaders.

Debbie Blyth

Former CISO State of Colorado

Deborah Blyth, Executive Strategist, is part of the Industry Business Unit at CrowdStrike, where she provides strategic advisory services related to enterprise cybersecurity solutions for all industry verticals including Government, Education and Healthcare. Prior to joining CrowdStrike, Deborah Blyth spent 7 years as Colorado’s Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). During her tenure she was successful at doubling the cybersecurity budget, recovering from a large-scale ransomware attack, and measurably reducing risk across the state. Deborah has over 25 years technology background and 15 years leading information security programs. Before joining the state of Colorado, Deborah led the Information Technology Security and Compliance programs at TTEC (5 years) and Travelport (3 years). Deborah is a Colorado native, and graduated Summa cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree from Regis University.

Erik Avakian

Former CISO Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Erik Avakian is former state Chief Information Security Officer for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Erik has over 22 years enterprise experience in security and program management, strategy, service delivery, relationship management, cross collaboration, program execution, and leading and mentoring teams. Throughout his 12 1/2 year tenure in a CISO role, spanning three different administrations, Erik has amassed a wide range of practical cyber security experience. Erik’s accomplishments and contributions to the security profession have been nationally recognized . In 2015, Erik was named by GovTech as one of the top 10 Influencers in Government. Erik received a Top 50 in Cybersecurity from StateScoop in 2018 and was named a Top 25 Doer, Dreamer & Driver from GovTech in 2019. Erik also served on the MS-ISAC Executive Committee over the past 8 years assisting in the nationwide strategic approach for cybersecurity efforts for state and local government.

Vinod Brahmapuram

Former CISO State of Washington

Vinod Brahmapuram is Senior Director of Security for state and local government and education markets at Lumen Technologies. With more than 25 years of information technology experience, Vinod has held cybersecurity leadership positions in three states, advising governors and legislators on key cyber issues. Before joining Lumen, he served as the State Chief Information Security Officer for the State of Washington. Vinod holds a master’s degree in computer science from the University of South Carolina. He also holds several certifications, including Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP) and Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD). As a cybersecurity thought leader with a passion for fostering and transforming in the public sector, Vinod believes in working to align security programs with organizational business models and building a threat-centric security operation. He is the proud father of two sons and enjoys camping and paddle boarding with his family.

Jenny Daughtery

Research and Curriculum Lead

Jenny Daugherty, Ph.D. is the Research and Curriculum Lead for DARK Enterprises, Inc, a non-profit dedicated to nurturing a sustainable cybersecurity education ecosystem. Jenny helped develop the High School Cybersecurity Curriculum Guidelines supported by the National Cryptologic Foundation and Teach Cyber, a project dedicated to providing curricular resources, training, and support to high school teachers. Jenny has several years of experience in STEM curriculum development, teacher professional development, and educational research and evaluation.

Tom Scott

CyberSC Executive Director

Thomas Scott (Tom) is the Founder of NCS Cyber and serves as CISO in Residence. As the inaugural Director of the South Carolina Cyber Consortium, he has been a key leader in the cyber education, cyber workforce development, and cyber protection efforts in both South Carolina and across the Nation. He currently serves as the founding director of the non-profit South Carolina Cyber Foundation and Association, known as CyberSC. With over 30 years of State Government experience in both Florida and South Carolina, Tom has developed a wealth of knowledge and experience in protecting State critical infrastructure and cyber assets. He currently holds certifications in information security, information auditing, security leadership, critical infrastructure protection, and project management – he is also recognized a FEMA Continuity of Operations Planning (COOP) Practitioner.

Sean McCloskey

Chief of Cybersecurity at Department of Homeland Security

Sean McCloskey is the Chief of Cybersecurity for Region 4 within the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). As the Chief of Cybersecurity, Sean leads the Cybersecurity Advisors located in all eight states within Region 4 (NC, SC, GA, TN, KY, FL, AL, MS). Cybersecurity Advisors are CISA cybersecurity professionals who assist critical infrastructure owners and operators to make improvements to their cybersecurity posture. CSAs work with members of all sixteen critical infrastructure sectors. Prior to being assigned as the Chief of Cybersecurity, Sean served as the Branch Chief for the Cybersecurity Advisor Program based in Arlington, VA. Sean is currently based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Mr. McCloskey holds a B.S. in Computer Science and a M.S. in Information Security and Assurance.


Our speakers bring decades of expertise to share with Summit attendees.

Mike Bimonte

SLED Chief Technology Officer

Mike Bimonte brings a diverse perspective to Armis as the CTO for SLED, with over 30 years of IT experience in both Public and Private sector roles. Most recently Mike came to Armis from his role as Deputy Commissioner with the NYC Dept. of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT). He spent close to 20 years modernizing, consolidating and transforming DoITT into a world class service provider for both City agencies and the 8+ million residents of NYC. His ability to relate with public sector clientele based on real life experiences and provide his own unique perspective has proven invaluable to State, Local governments across the globe. Prior to his role with the City of NY, Mike spent time in the Financial Services industry and with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Mike is a native New Yorker, born and raised in NYC and now resides in NJ with his family.

Kyle Bryans

MSISAC Specialist

Kyle Bryans is a Regional Engagement Manager for the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center™ (MS-ISAC®), a division of CIS® (Center for Internet Security, Inc.®). He is a member of the Stakeholder Engagement team, which works with our nation’s State, Local, Territorial, and Tribal (SLTT) governments, providing no-cost cybersecurity resources and services to enhance their collective posture. Kyle manages the accounts MS-ISAC members throughout the Southern U.S.

Colonel William Oden

Cyber Lead, SC State Guard

COL. Oden was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in November 1974. He served 23 years and retired as the Senior Network Administrator responsible for four Fighter Squadrons and associated units’ computer and network systems to include secure networks for the 20th Operations Group, Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. He completed five tours in the Middle East in support of Desert Shield and Operation Southern Watch. He also served as the Noncommissioned Officer in Charge of the 20th Fighter Wing’s Air Expeditionary Force deployment to Doha, Qatar in support of Operation Southern Watch, responsible for 25 F-16s flying combat missions and 350 personnel to include maintenance, medical and supply.

Dr. Kelly Caine

Professor, Clemson University

Kelly Caine is the director of the Humans and Technology Lab at Clemson University where she leads research in human-centered computing, privacy, usable security, human factors, and human-computer interaction. She is co-author of the book, “Understanding Your Users” which has been called an “authoritative” and a “comprehensive handbook” that “should be on everyone’s bookshelf.” Dr. Caine serves on multiple advisory boards, has published nearly one hundred peer-reviewed papers, and regularly speaks to a variety of audiences about the importance of designing technology with users in mind. Prior to joining Clemson she held positions at Indiana University and Google.

Brandon Poole

Founder/Principal Consultant

Brandon Poole is the founder/principal consultant at Panoptcy Security and a former associate instructor for the SANS Institute. With over 14 years of experience in cybersecurity, Brandon is considered an industry expert, trainer, and technical leader in incident response, digital forensics, disaster recovery, SOC operations, detection engineering, security architecture design, IT compliance, and risk mitigation. He's worked with small businesses and Fortune 100 companies and holds multiple professional certifications such as CEH, CCNA, GSEC, GCIH, GCCC, GCWN, and GCTI and is a member of Infragard, ISSA, and the SANS Advisory Board.

Noel Adams

Cybersecurity Specialist

Noel is a highly experienced cyber security professional, serving as a Senior Cyber Security Architect at Greenville County Schools Information Security department for the past 21 years. He conducts comprehensive vulnerability assessments, offers expert support in computer forensics investigations, and is an integral part of incident response efforts. Noel's expertise in the field was further strengthened by his 8-year service as a warrant officer in the South Carolina State Guard's Cyber Protection & Intelligence Unit, where he displayed a strong commitment to serving the citizens of South Carolina and honed his skills in incident response, digital forensics, network assessments, and web application penetration testing. Noel is a sought-after advisor, serving on the Google CIO Advisory Board for K12 Education and the Air Force Association Cyber Patriot Program. He also actively volunteers as a Cyber Liaison Officer with the South Carolina Critical Infrastructure Systems, an MS-ISAC K-12 Advisory Member for South Carolina, and as a board member for the FBI InfraGard National Cyber Camp

Corey Bishop

Cyber Program Coordinator

Corey Bishop, a native of Newberry, SC and graduate of Liberty University serves as the Director of Surgery and Emergency Management for Newberry Hospital. He has worked for the facility for the last 13 years. He also works for Newberry County Emergency Services as Chief of Rescue, Station 19 Lake Murray, and formerly as Director of EMS for Newberry County. He has been with Newberry County for the last 18 years. Additionally, he served 4 years in the South Carolina State Guard. He is married with 2 children and resides on Lake Murray in Prosperity, SC.

Karen Painter Randall


Karen Painter Randall is a partner and Certified Civil Trial attorney at Connell Foley LLP, where she chairs the Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Group and leads the Incident Response Team. With extensive experience counseling clients on cybersecurity, data rights, and privacy laws and regulation, Karen provides proactive measures to safeguard the enterprise data, including security assessments, policies and procedures, security awareness training, incident response plans, and cyber liability insurance.

Michael Melore

IBM Public Sector Security Ambassador

IBM Public Sector Security Ambassador, Sr Cyber Security Advisor, Certified Information Systems Security Professional, Author, frequent National public speaker and moderator, FBI InfraGard committeeman, and recognized subject matter expert in Security and Threat Intelligence, Identity Access Governance, and Authorization. Pioneer in Identity and Access Management, Access Governance, and Authentication. Past Consulting roles include: Lead architect for many of the world’s largest authentication and authorization infrastructures. This includes two of the 1st individual Billion user authentication infrastructures. Founder/Moderator for 19 Nationwide (1400+ Security Executive Members) CISO/Security Leader Round Table Chapters across the US (aka SecRT). Champion, host and evangelist of regularly scheduled cyber range threat simulation exercises, cyber training and education.

Mike Nicholson

Program Director, Cyber-Communications Common Operating Picture

Nicholson chairs the ATARC Security Mission Area, providing critical leadership of a coherent set of information security working groups, and the Cyber Cooperative, to leverage, build, and unify the cyber defense capability and capacity of stakeholder organizations - a complex landscape of interagency, state and local, international and private sector partners.

Debbie Mcleod

President/Director of Apprentice Program

Debbie McLeod President and Apprenticeship Director for McLeod Information Systems. Debbie spent several years as an Elementary Educator in Title 1 Schools in the states of Florida in Alabama. Debbie Left the teaching full time to pursue her own private tutoring business in Montgomery, Alabama. In 2016, she and her husband, Rodney McLeod , combined his cybersecurity expertise with her desire to enrich students' lives and opened McLeod Information Systems. Debbie organized and set up the first Cybersecurity Apprenticeship in the state of South Carolina and is the program director. Debbie is a strong advocate for career opportunities for the underserved populations.

Dr. Keith Morneau

Dean of Computer and Information Sciences

Dr. Morneau is currently the Dean of Computer and Information Science for ECPI University for the last eight years leading ECPI’s cybersecurity programs with a focus on hands-on, certifications, and skills. He has over 20 years of professional and educational experience transforming learning. He guided ECPI in becoming a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education in 2018. In 2009, he became an ABET Program Evaluator for cyber programs. Last year, he became an ABET CAC commissioner and team chair. His research interests in workforce issues and bridging the skills gap in cybersecurity professions.

David Ulmer

Chief Information Officer

David Ulmer is the Chief Information Officer for Random Bit LLC. David has held senior and executive management positions in the public and private sectors, with emphasis in information technology management, security, and enterprise transformation. Most recently, he served as CIO and Deputy Director for South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, but he has experience in transportation, financial services, and manufacturing/distribution. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Furman University, Greenville, SC, and Master of Business Administration from Goizueta School of Business at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, where he focused on operations management. David also is a Green Belt in Lean/Six Sigma.

Robert Benfield

SCAC Director of Insurance Service

Robert Benfield, ARM, AINS - is the Director of Insurance Services for the SC Association of Counties Workers’ Compensation and Property & Liability Trusts. He has spent the last 29 years working with South Carolina Counties on their risk management, safety, and insurance programs. In working with the member counties, he conducts on-site assessments, reviews policies and procedures, formulates staffing studies, conducts training for County Sheriffs’ Offices and Detention Centers, and oversees the operations of the insurance Trusts. He also teaches risk management and liability classes as a guest instructor at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy.

Jeremy Kopacko

Sr Territory Solutions Engineer

Jeramy is currently responsible for the technical strategy in North and South Carolina, leveraging next-generation security solutions from Sophos. He leads community blogs for EDR and XDR Best Practices for Sophos users. With 10 years of industry experience, he has previously worked as a Network and System Architect and K-12 Technology Director. He is currently a 2nd year grad student at the Volgenau School of Engineering at George Mason University, pursuing his Master of Science in Applied Information Technology, focused on Cybersecurity Engineering.

Robby Hill

Founder, CEO

Robby Hill is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and Founder & CEO of information technology consulting firm HillSouth. Robby founded HillSouth at the age of 17, while still a student at West Florence High School. Robby has served in public office and on the board of numerous non-profit organizations across South Carolina. He is a graduate of Leadership South Carolina and Leadership Florence as well as the recipient of awards from the SBA, Florence Chamber, and SC Works. Formed in 2001, HillSouth is a privately-held IT consulting firm based in Florence, South Carolina, and services clients all over the country with a particular emphasis on the unique computing and security needs of the healthcare industry. Robby presently serves as a director at First Reliance Bank and holds a private pilots certificate

Lisa Carter


Lisa founded SpartanTec, Inc. in 2002 for one reason: to help the CEOs of businesses to eliminate the problems, costs and headaches of IT in their company. As CEO, I am responsible for the overall direction of the company as well as day-to-day decisions to achieve our goals. My responsibilities include but are not limited to overall delivery of customer service, quality technical support, developing new service offerings, selecting best of breed technologies and company marketing and events.

Major Britton Plath

SC National Guard

Major Britton Plath serves with the South Carolina Army National Guard and is the current Defensive Cyber Operations Chief for the State of South Carolina. He has 16 years of military service and has served on multiple deployments. In his civilian capacity he has over 20 years of technical IT and cyber experience in commercial and government service, supporting the Departments of Homeland Security, Energy, Justice, and Defense. He is also a certified information systems security professional (CISSP) among many other technical certifications. Most importantly, He is married to Jessica Plath; together, they have five children.