Welcome to LIVEcommunity's 2023-2024 Cyber Elite Program!

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LIVEcommunity created its Cyber Elite Program to recognize experts in our community from around the globe who demonstrate excellence in participation and contributions. This innovative program is part of Palo Alto Networks commitment to empower outstanding members who enrich our global online community.


About the Program


Cyber Elite members are our LIVEcommunity experts! They are closely engaged with the community, share technical insights, knowledge, and assist fellow community members in elevating their security posture in an increasingly complicated world of cybersecurity. Their know-how and expertise helps others protect their companies and customers. Cyber Elite experts demonstrate characteristics we believe exhibit the values that make up a vibrant and interactive technical community.


Cyber Elite status is awarded for a one-year period. Ongoing participation will be reviewed annually, and membership will be extended based on positive, engaging, and shared contributions during that time.


Key Characteristics of a Cyber Elite Member


LIVEcommunity Cyber Elite.png


Advocacy: Acts as a trustworthy and balanced representative for the community; fosters the spirit of collaboration and advancement of better security practices


Expertise: Displays a strong technical understanding of Palo Alto Networks products, and provides valuable solutions and recommendations to others


Tone: Engages in a supportive, positive, and collaborative style when helping community members learn and succeed



Responsiveness: Active and responsive with members in forums; clearly dedicated to sharing, supporting, and providing value to the community


Leadership: An advocate for all members of LIVEcommunity and consistent and their promotion best practices for Palo Alto Networks products, technologies, and solutions



Aleksandar Astardzhiev


Aleksandar started his career as a network engineer before moving into the network security arena; he worked as Senior Support Engineer and later as Project Implementation Engineer for different Managed Service Providers, and was mainly responsible for data center and perimeter firewalls. In his current role at Sunwell Solutions LTD, he provides security consulting and managed security services working with Palo Alto Networks NGFW and EDR. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family and cycling in the city or mountainside near his home. Read the Spotlight interview with Aleksandar!


Otakar Klier


As the Sr. Security Engineer at Peraton RDG, Otakar is focused on all things security and networking related. He is a seasoned security professional with more than a decade of experience in cybersecurity. Otakar holds PCNSE and Accredited Configuration Engineer (ACE) certifications from Palo Alto Networks and several others that help solidify his presence as a Cyber Elite expert. Watch the Spotlight video interview with Otakar!


Mahesh Parmar


Mahesh is the System Administrator III at the City of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. Mahesh holds PCNSE and Accredited Configuration Engineer (ACE) certifications and has spent the past 16 years becoming proficient in network security. His experience has helped him develop a knack for working with Palo Alto Networks technology including GlobalProtect and Next-Generation Firewall. Read the Spotlight interview with Mahesh!

Brandon Pry

Brandon Pry


Brandon is the Senior Network and Security Engineer for the Wisconsin Legislature. Through his years of experience in IT and cybersecurity, he is an expert with deep-dive troubleshooting and debugging on Palo Alto Networks devices, holding several certifications including a PCNSE and an Accredited Configuration Engineer (ACE). Brandon is responsible for securing legislative resources and ensuring the legislature is capable of serving the people of Wisconsin at all times. When not engaged with day-to-day functions, Brandon can often be found sharing and gaining knowledge within the LIVEcommunity. Watch the Spotlight Video Interview with Brandon!


Mayur Sutare


Mayur works as a Sr. Engineer with Transunion and has six years of experience in the Network security domain. He has worked on multiple projects like LAN and WAN deployments, design, implementations, and configurations of firewalls, load balancers and switching technologies. He is dedicated to learning new cloud technologies, cloud network security, and new scripting languages. He has a PCNSE and is an Aviatrix Certified Engineer. He looks to LIVEcommunity for much of his continued education and as a way to connect with others in the network security community. In his spare time, you can find him watching movies and spending time with family and friends. Watch the Spotlight Video Interview with Mayur!


Steven Cantwell


With more than 23 years of experience in IT and cybersecurity, Steven is a Senior Security Architect for Cloud Harmonics, a Palo Alto Networks preferred Authorized Training Partner (ATP). Steven holds Palo Alto Networks certifications as a PCNSA, PCNSE, and PCNSC and has spent the past eight years working for Elite ATPs as a certified instructor for all Palo Alto Networks EDU classes. Steven is also the business Lead for Cloud Harmonics’ Professional Services, focusing on implementations and migrations to Palo Alto Networks Strata, Prisma, and Cortex branded solutions. Read the Spotlight interview with Steven!


Pavel Kucera


Pavel, who hails from Czech Republic, started his career as a System Administrator before becoming a Network Engineer and focusing on cybersecurity. In his current role in Rakuten Group, Inc. in Tokyo, he works as a Security Engineer, mostly focusing on NGFW, EDR, SIEM and SOAR. He has more than 15 years of IT experience and holds his CCIE. He enjoys helping others and answering questions in LIVEcommunity. In his spare time, he loves to snowboard, ski, and go on long runs. Read the Spotlight interview with Pavel!


Tom Piens


Tom was Palo Alto Networks' first international support engineer in 2010 supporting the EMEA timezone. He became part of the LIVEcommunity in 2015 and, despite leaving PAN in 2020 to become a freelance consultant, has continued to be a highly involved member in the community. Tom is a Palo Alto Networks Certified Network Security Engineer (PCNSE), is PSE-P Strata certified and a Palo Alto Networks Micro-Credential Remote Consultant (PMRC). He runs PANgurus, a Palo Alto Networks VAR and Partner bringing value to PAN customers. He is the author of both Mastering Palo Alto Networks and Securing Remote Access in Palo Alto Networks. Watch the Spotlight Video Interview with Tom!

Raido Rattameister

Raido Rattameister


Raido has over two decades of hands-on experience in configuring, operating, and securing entire infrastructure stacks, including networking, storage, virtualization, operating systems, and backup. In his current role, he serves as an Enterprise Architect for Cloud Carib, the premier provider of trusted cloud services in the Caribbean and Latin American regions. Raido's extensive experience with Palo Alto Networks firewalls dates back to 2011; Raido's passion for sharing his knowledge has led him to engage in various activities, including lecturing students and working as a Palo Alto Networks instructor. During his free time, Raido enjoys Latin dancing and taking to the tennis court. Read the Spotlight interview with Raido!

Tom Young

Tom Young


Tom is the Principal Network Architect for Flair Data Systems, a value-added reseller. Through three decades of IT, he has earned his Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert certification three times, as well as a CCDE and his PCNSE. He helps his customers with routing/switching, security (including firewalls), wireless, and data center design, implementation, and troubleshooting. In his spare time, he likes to hike, ski, and enjoy nature—especially with his wife, Denise. Check out the Spotlight interview with Tom!


Member Benefits


From a unique LIVEcommunity badge to special Ignite benefits, members will be awarded, recognized, and assigned the Cyber Elite title within the LIVEcommunity.


Some of the member-only benefits include:

  • Access to a private forum to enable deeper discussions about advanced topics and answers (the “Cyber Elite Members Lounge”)
  • A Cyber Elite badge that clearly differentiates a member as a top contributor and trusted advisor
  • Promotion within LIVEcommunity and Palo Alto Networks at company events
  • Exclusive access to technical information, experiences, and resources that help Cyber Elite experts do more with Palo Alto Networks technology
  • May include options to meet privately with Palo Alto Networks team and executives in a roundtable format
  • Plus, a fantastic Cyber Elite appreciation package and Award that members can proudly display


How to Become a Cyber Elite Member


To begin your Cyber Elite journey, register in LIVEcommunity, share your knowledge and expertise, engage in discussions, provide answers, and help your peers in the community. Cyber Elite members are hand-selected by Palo Alto Networks based on positive contributions in the community, demonstrating a laser focus on bringing value, being helpful, sharing your know-how, and providing your unique expert perspective.

We want to reward and recognize community members that contribute high value and go above and beyond in assisting our vibrant community.


Start your journey today!


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Community Manager
Community Manager

Cyber Elites are the trailblazers of our community, embodying leadership, knowledge, and collaboration. It's a journey that rewards dedication with recognition, exclusive resources, and personal development. Continue to shine, and let your influence be a source of pride and inspiration.

Congratulations to @aleksandar.astardzhiev @SCantwell_IM @OtakarKlier @PavelK @MP18 @reaper @BPry @Raido_Rattameister @SutareMayur @TomYoung 

Community Team Member

Congratulations on becoming a part of this exclusive team, and thank you for your continuous contributions!

Community Team Member

Welcome to the Cyber Elite Program @Raido_Rattameister and welcome back @aleksandar.astardzhiev @SteveCantwell @OtakarKlier @PavelK @MP18 @reaper @BPry @SutareMayur @TomYoung! 

L0 Member

how can join?

Community Team Member

Hi @G0RDUCCI! We look at what members are most active in community — helping others, providing technical expertise, and sharing knowledge with a positive attitude! You can also check out the "Key Characteristics of a Cyber Elite Member" portion of this page to see what LIVEcommunity values we look for when scouting new Cyber Elite experts. Thanks for your interest and let me know if you have any other questions.

L0 Member


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Last Updated:
‎07-12-2024 12:28 AM
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