Spotlight: There are no shortcuts to success

When Lyron Cobbins was growing up in Kansas, an uncle would advise him "there are no shortcuts to success."

It's advice that stuck with him over the years and seems like a good metaphor for the work he does today as an information security architect with the security engineering team at WaTech's Office of Cybersecurity.

Washington state residents are entrusting their data to the state, Lyron noted, and he takes pride in knowing the work he and his team does is "lowering the risk of a breach happening or incident transpiring."

Lyron Cobbins
Lyron Cobbins

Lyron, who joined WaTech on June 16, 2023, is the newest member of the agency's enterprise Security Engineering Team, SET for short, which is a group of experienced security architect engineers who collaborate with state agencies to build information security into the design of the systems being built.

Prior to joining WaTech, Lyron worked as an information security officer for Kansas City, Kansas. Prior to that, he worked in a variety of IT roles at different organizations including programming, system administration, firewall administration and network support.
Lyron said he got into information security because it's central to almost everything we do as a society.

"Security is always following you," he said. Most people don't think about it, "but I do. I still go to places and still look for access points and understand what vendor they're using."

Lyron noted he found out early in his career the importance of listening to customers to understand their needs. He recalled a time early in his career working in technical support when he was helping a customer learn to use a new operating system on a computer. As he was explaining all the new improvements to the system, the woman said "I don't care about any of that. I just want to know if it will still do this one thing" she used to be able to do on the old system.

"That's where I got that baptism by fire," he said. "If you don't care what the customer is saying, you're not going to survive in this in this world."

To that end, one of the things Lyron said he enjoys most at WaTech is working with agencies to help them understand the need to work security into the design of systems before they are deployed. Agencies at first may not understand, but as he works with them, they "begin to say, oh, yeah, it's an inconvenience, but I understand the point of adding this extra hurdle to meet the security needs for constituents," he said.

Here are a few other things Lyron shared about himself.

If he could learn one new skill, what would it be?

"Right now, jujitsu. I have a daughter who just started jujitsu two months ago."

If you were not working in cybersecurity, what career would you choose?

"That's a good one. I've never thought about doing anything outside of cybersecurity. Let's go with private investigator, which is pretty close to cybersecurity."