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Meet the Vanguards: Celebrating Innovators in Data Protection


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    Virtru has long been committed to celebrating innovation and leadership in data protection, privacy and sovereignty. That's why we're so excited to introduce the inaugural Virtru Vanguard Awards, honoring Virtru customers and partners who are pioneering new frontiers in cybersecurity.

    Why Recognize Virtru Vanguards?

    We created the Virtru Vanguard Awards because we believe it's important to highlight the creativity and commitment that's driving real change in cybersecurity strategies. As attacks grow more severe and regulations tighten, encryption and data-centric security matter more than ever. The winners of our Virtru Vanguard Awards represent the best and brightest pushing this critical field forward every day.

    “The winners of the Virtru Vanguard Awards represent some of the brightest and most creative minds in cybersecurity,” said Virtru CMO and SVP Matt Howard. “Cybersecurity leaders are up against immense challenges, including sophisticated cyber attacks and macroeconomic pressures — yet these awardees are relentless in their pursuit of powerful, data-centric security to protect the sensitive information that’s been entrusted to them. At Virtru, we believe in celebrating excellence when we see it, and we are thrilled to honor this group of innovative security leaders with the Virtru Vanguard Awards.”

    By celebrating these cybersecurity trailblazers, we hope to inspire even more organizations to make data protection central to their technology roadmaps. Because when respecting the data comes first, everybody benefits.

    Meet the Customer Vanguards

    Now let's recognize the inaugural Virtru Customer Vanguards.

    Our Customer Vanguards have skillfully harnessed their unique expertise, adaptability, and creativity in their field. With the help of Virtru's solutions, they've significantly boosted both compliance and security in their work, setting a new bar for security professionals everywhere.



    Virtru Vanguard Award – Education

    paul-drakeWinner: Paul Drake, University of Notre Dame

    Paul Drake has made a remarkable impact at Notre Dame, earning him the Virtru Vanguard Award in Higher Education.

    By implementing Virtru across the university and driving staff adoption, Paul has made Notre Dame a leader in secure education. Protecting sensitive research while maintaining academic collaboration is no easy task, but Paul's innovative approach sets the bar for data-first security in higher ed.




    Virtru Vanguard Award – Healthcare

    bill-doughertyWinner: Bill Dougherty, Omada Health

    Bill Dougherty brings over 25 years of cybersecurity leadership to his role as Vice President of IT and Security at Omada Health. His extensive work mitigating threats and navigating complex regulations like HIPAA made him an ideal leader to implement the Virtru Data Security Platform across Omada.

    Bill pioneered an elegant privacy-focused architecture to enable secure health information sharing for Omada’s over 1 million chronic care management program participants.

    Watch our webinar with Bill + Omada



    Virtru Vanguard Award – State & Local Government


    Winner: State of Utah

    The State of Utah leads in cybersecurity preparedness for governments. Backed by breach notification laws, Utah prioritizes employee training, infrastructure testing, and framework compliance across state agencies. The state also audits local entities to identify security gaps, driving better resource allocation through partnerships.  Utah's clear commitment to assess and bolster defenses has strengthened its resilience against escalating digital threats.




    Virtru Vanguard Award – Federal Government

    Winner: Steven Jordan, Mission Partner Capabilities Office, SAF/CDMX

    Steven has spearheaded the integration of Virtru's differential privacy technology into into the Mission Partner Capability Office, where the U.S. Air Force is the executive agent. MPCO has enabled secure information sharing across U.S. Allies and Partner nations.





    Virtru Advocate of the Year


    Winner: Troy Lunt, Iron County School District, Utah

    As Technology Director and Data Privacy Manager for Utah's Iron County Schools, Troy Lunt is a tireless champion for protecting student data. He oversees a complex technology ecosystem handling sensitive information for thousands of young learners. 

    Today over 200 district employees rely on Virtru's user-friendly protection every day, enabling Iron County Schools to meet stringent state and federal compliance standards with ease. 

    Watch our Webinar with Troy Lunt



    Meet the Partner Vanguards

    Now, onto the inaugural Partner Vanguards.

    The Virtru Vanguard Award celebrates visionary partners expanding data security's possibilities. These entrepreneurial pioneers exhibit remarkable skill delivering Virtru's transformative defense solutions to market. Their innovative drive establishes towering new benchmarks elevating the entire industry's standards for excellence in protection.



    Platinum Partner of the Year



    Winner: SADA

    As Virtru's top-performing partner overall, SADA raised the bar delivering Virtru’s innovative data security to new heights. Their technical expertise and customer intimacy catalyzed market growth while cementing enduring client relationships. SADA represents the pinnacle of visionary partners accelerating transformation through defense.



    Gold Partner of the Year


    Winner: Daston

    With savvy leadership and sales execution, Daston provided exemplary customer success fueling Virtru’s momentum internationally. Their global perspective and strategic counsel equipped clients to achieve both compliance and competitive advantage. Daston embodies partner excellence on a world stage, unlocking new markets with data protection.



    Premier Partner of the Year


    Winner: Accelerated IT

    Accelerated IT increased Virtru's presence among healthcare organizations, leveraging vertical expertise addressing emerging patient data vulnerabilities. Accelerated IT continues redefining state-of-the-art cyber strategies safeguarding critical infrastructure with care.



    Emerging Partner of the Year


    Winner: UpCurve Cloud

    As an emerging partner, UpCurve Cloud brought impressive early traction showcasing Virtru's potential to developers. Their skill customizing encrypted workflows tapped new competitive differentiators for modern businesses. UpCurve Cloud represents the next generation of partners engineering privacy into the fabric of innovation.



    Virtru Partner Sales MVP


    Winner: Austin Reeder, SADA

    As Virtru’s top sales performer, Austin Reeder of SADA drove explosive expansion securing major customers across all territories. His technical acumen translating encryption’s value and forging key relationships sets the new standard of sales excellence. Austin stands at the forefront of partners pioneering data protection’s wide-reaching future.

    Watch our Podcast with Austin Reeder



    Virtru Channel MVP


    Dhwani Rao, SADA

    Dhwani Rao fueled SADA’s Virtru success through exemplary channel leadership with large service providers and carriers globally. Her vision of cultivating mutually beneficial relationships between Virtru and third-party channels amplified exposure worldwide. Dhwani Rao represents the spirit of partnership expanding security’s reach to new regions through collaboration.

    Become a Vanguard

    Does your organization have what it takes to push data protection to the next level? Follow in the footsteps of our Virtru Vanguard Award winners and see how data-first security can help you become an industry leader. Contact our team today to learn more.

    Editorial Team

    Editorial Team

    The editorial team consists of Virtru brand experts, content editors, and vetted field authorities. We ensure quality, accuracy, and integrity through robust editorial oversight, review, and optimization of content from trusted sources, including use of generative AI tools.

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