Member Spotlight, September 2022 - Paul Spears

Zenith Community Member Spotlight: Meet Paul Spears

Paul Spears, Security Analyst at Sanmina Corporation steps into the Zenith Community member spotlight for September and we are excited to share his story!

Paul is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and has been a member of the Zenith Community since 2020. He currently uses ZIA, ZPA, ZDX, ZDT, and ZPC Zscaler Solutions in his role as Technical Lead for Sanmina Enterprise Security Department.

Read on to learn more about Paul’s experiences as a DoD contractor, advice to others looking at a similar career, and how he uses Zscaler products.


I was originally introduced to Zscaler as a possible replacement for our aging proxy deployment back in 2016. Our previous solution was very difficult to manage in an enterprise environment and did not provide the company with the level of security we felt should be in place. One of the key requirements was a proxy solution that was cloud-based. It was very important to us to not have to deploy more appliances to our manufacturing plants. In our review of alternative solutions, Zscaler’s vision aligned closely with ours as it proved the best fit for our needs.

After our success with ZIA, we were eager to participate in a trial of ZPA once it became available. We initially acquired a ZPA license in 2018 to begin the rollout as a VPN replacement solution slowly although the deployment was quickly expedited due to the shift to remote work brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. We were able to quickly and smoothly transition all of our new remote workers to ZPA.

Since rolling out ZIA and ZPA we have also acquired ZDX, ZDT, and ZPC and are experiencing great success with these products as well.

Q. Tell us about your family.

My wife, Kiley, and I have two children and make our home in South Alabama.

Q. What’s your favorite part about being a member of the Zenith Community?

I enjoy interacting and learning from others in the community and always try to share what I’ve learned from my personal experiences with the products. I believe an active community is very important for success with the products.

Q. What are some life achievements that you are proud of?

I am most proud of my time spent serving alongside the US military in Kabul Afghanistan as a DoD contractor from 2011-2012. I served as Lead Information Assurance Analyst at Camp Eggers embedded with the 25th Signal Battalion. Camp Eggers served as the Nato Training Mission Afghanistan (NTM-A) Headquarters.

Q. Tell us about your Organization.

Sanmina Corporation designs manufactures and repairs some of the most complex and innovative optical, electronic, and mechanical products in the world. Recognized as a technology leader, Sanmina provides end-to-end design, manufacturing, and logistics solutions, delivering superior quality and support to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). These OEMs serve the industrial, medical, defense, aerospace, automotive, communications networks, and cloud solutions sectors.

Quick facts about Sanmina:

  • Founded in Silicon Valley in 1980 as Sanmina Corporation
  • Corporate Headquarters: San Jose, California
  • Jure Sola is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
  • Revenue of $6.76B for the fiscal year 2021
  • Publicly traded under the NASDAQ ticker symbol: SANM
  • Approximately 35,000 employees worldwide
  • Global operations in 20 countries on 6 continents
  • Fortune 500 Company

Q. How did you grow your career and what advice would you give to people looking to forge ahead on the same path? What are essential skills to develop?

In 1997, although my degree was in Forestry, I began working at the help desk of a startup ISP in my hometown and soon realized my passion was in the IT field. I quickly moved up in the company and eventually became the Lead Network and System Administrator. While serving in that role, I brought several managed services in-house and was always drawn to the security side of the products I was deploying. In 2009, I felt it was time to focus more on IT Security and obtained my CISSP as well as various other security certifications. Looking back at my 26 years in IT, I feel one of the most important skills one can possess is attention to detail. I have learned you will get out of your career what you put into it.

Q. You attended Zenith Live - 2022 tell us about that experience

Zenith Live 2022 was an awesome experience. It was great to see the new community booth and all the product roadmaps. It was very nice to engage with others in the community.

Q. You’re a Zenith Trailblazer - what do you enjoy most about being in the Trailblazer program

Admittedly, I enjoyed seeing my name on that Zenith Trailblazers sign in the community booth at Zenith Live 22.

Q. What made you originally want to join the Zenith Community?

I originally joined the Zenith community to find answers to my questions faster and to see if any other users had experienced the same issues or had the same questions.

Q. What are your favorite hobbies?

In my free time, I enjoy running, biking, hiking and boating with my family. I am now able to share my passion for running with my daughter. I am assisting with coaching her 2022 Cross Country team.

Q. What is a typical day in your life?

I start a typical day consuming a lot of coffee and staring at a daunting inbox. Most of my time is spent in project meetings and tuning/optimizing security solutions.

Q. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Cheese

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Thanks, @Pspearsjr for being the first of many spotlights! And thank you so much for sharing your personal story!

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@Ben_Garrison Thank you for the opportunity to allow me to do so.

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How far do they run in their cross-country team?

Congratulations @Pspearsjr on being highlighted this month!

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