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 Getting to Know SDCOE: Cybersecurity Officer Keeps SDCOE Safe Online

Hackers are always looking for vulnerabilities online, but luckily, so is Ali Maroufi.

Maroufi oversees the San Diego County Office of Education's (SDCOE) cybersecurity efforts. Part of his job is keeping important information safe, and another part is keeping employees informed about how to stay safe online.

"We're getting the message out any way we can," he said. "One of the surest ways to make your networks safer is to inform the people that use them."

Maroufi has worked for SDCOE for nearly 20 years, starting as a computer operator and working as a programmer and database manager before becoming cybersecurity officer. 

He became interested in computers about 25 years ago, when he bought his first computer while in college. He was so fascinated with the machine that he changed his major from physics to computer science.

"They just fascinate me," he said about the appeal. "I can't explain it."

Several years ago, he read an article about hackers and the damage they can do once they're inside a network. That story got him interested in online security, and he pursued more responsibilities related to it.

To facilitate that work, he earned certifications from Stanford University and the SANS Institute related to secure coding, programming, and other security topics.

He oversees a team of four employees in SDCOE's Integrated Technology Services division.