Defense Gets You a Seat at the Table | Offense Keeps You at the Table

The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) has been a RedZone customer for several years. CIO, Rafael Maldonado and I sat down to discuss how this partnership has helped him, his team and the enterprise as a whole.

How has RedZone helped you through the past several years? When I say that, what pops to mind as far as how you used us in the past from various infrastructure, security, troubleshooting, get out of jail free cards, different ways you’ve reached out to us?

I believe partnerships are defined when something goes wrong, and not necessarily under any other circumstances. In the heat of the fire… You prove yourself in the fire. I look for partners that – when I’m in trouble, they’re there with me in the foxhole. RedZone has been there with us in the foxhole – and that’s big.

I hope you enjoy this discussion. If you want to see the details, the transcript can be found below:

Bill:         How has RedZone helped you through the past several years? When I say that, what pops to mind as far as how you used us in the past from various infrastructure, security, troubleshooting, get out of jail free cards, different ways you’ve reached out to us?

Rafael:   As you know, you guys were very involved with our office move that happened back in October. And you guys have been helping me here for several years, probably now around seven years since I’ve been here. And you help us in several ways. I could say that when something goes wrong, you’re my go-to partner. You’re a trusted partner that I can call, that I know I’m going to get an answer, I’m going to get a response. And I’m going to get someone that’s going to be here with me.

I believe partnerships are defined when something goes wrong, and not necessarily under any other circumstances.

Bill:         The heat of the fire.

Rafael:    Exactly. You prove yourself in the fire. I look for partners that – when I’m in trouble, they’re there with me in the foxhole.

Bill:         I appreciate that.

Rafael:   I’m using the military analogy, but I feel that RedZone has been that. I use RedZone for security assessments, network design, penetration testing, issue resolution…..

Bill:         It’s been a wide variety of stuff, hasn’t it?

Rafael:   I mean, I don’t think there has been something you haven’t helped me with in the seven years that I’ve been here. And, yes, it’s a broad range. Your specialty is security, but you have helped me in so many other areas because you’re good at it all.

Bill:         We don’t market that to everybody but you have been with us so long you know that we’ve got a lot to offer. You can’t do security well unless you can do infrastructure well, too.

Rafael:   Correct.

Bill:         I mean, just flat out.

Rafael:   That’s right.

Bill:         I don’t put that out there, necessarily, because it dilutes the power of the message of what we’ve been doing since early on, which is security. But we get as excited about virtualization as anything else. It’s just always in the security context.

Rafael:   One thing that I appreciate about you guys is your messaging and then the focus on security. Even though you can help me in many other areas, your specialty is security. So that’s important to me, and you are definitely my go-to partner when it comes to security.

Bill:         I want to help you play offense. These days, most CIOs have to keep the trains running or they lose their job. That’s a core function of the profession. The CIOs of the future are being asked to create dealer frameworks – to do something from nothing. They’re asked to invent the future. If someone is unsettled with the core, meaning I’m layering security and core infrastructure in their soft spots, in different places, or they lost a team member, or issues just happen, then that’s defense. How do you scale defense? How do you always have someone on your bench that can do defense?

I think that’s part of the message. I know we talk about offense and defense, but I like to free up as much as possible so there’s more and more percentage of the week that you are able to ponder the future. And that’s a completely different area of the brain. That’s right brain, and the bits and bytes in getting the right architecture and routing loops fixed, and how do we make Cloud performance better and how do we migrate securely and buy the best systems? That’s a different part of the brain.

Rafael:    I like to say this, we always talk about the CIO having a seat at the table. I think defense gets you a seat at the table, offense keeps you at the table.

Bill:        That’s a good one. I hadn’t thought of that.

Rafael:   I think that’s the case.

Bill:        That’s a notable quotable.

Rafael:   You must be able to do both well. And I think you guys have helped me in that mindset. Being able to automate as much as possible. I use systems and platforms, to do what computers and platforms do best so I can free my staff and myself to do what humans do best – which is that innovation, that thinking, those things that computers are not as good yet.

Bill:         Well, I really appreciate you as a customer, I appreciate our friendship over the years. And you’re a big thinker, but you’re also a practitioner of dirt and clouds, you do it all. That’s a rare skill – and you push us and I think that’s good too. I love meeting with customers because they’re always challenging our capabilities. It’s a give and take. For us to be the best partner for you, we must push our envelope of what’s possible. But yet, clouds, dirt, you know… I think it’s important to keep your feet firmly planted on the ground while you envision the future.

Bill:         Is there anything that you definitely wanted to share, that you were hoping I was going to get to that you want to bring up before we end our conversation today?

Rafael:   No, I think I just wanted to say that I do appreciate not only the professionalism that RedZone brings to the table but also your personal friendship. I tell everyone that if they don’t know Bill Murphy, they should because not only are you an innovator and you’re always looking ahead, but also you’re a good human being, which is more important to me than anything.

Bill:         I appreciate that, Rafael.

Rafael:    Attitude reflects leadership. So the attitude that your team reflects is definitely a reflection of your leadership.

Rafael:    Dealing with your guys at RedZone, like James Miante and James Crifasi and all the others, it’s always a delight because they reflect your leadership, which is great.

Bill:          I appreciate that. I appreciate that a lot.

Rafael:    Thank you, Bill, for the opportunity.