2022: The Year We Changed The Game

Difenda Year in Review

2022 was a big year for Difenda. Not only for our team but for our partners and customers who put their trust in us to protect their businesses. 

At every step of the way, we ensure that the needs of our customers are heard and we always deliver. We architect, deploy and deliver Microsoft Security tools through our Microsoft expertise to help your team maximize your investment and license usage. We deliver on our promise of optimal security outcomes, even if this means architecting security environments that have never been done before. 

We’ve pushed hard this year and succeeded in so many different ways.

Microsoft & Difenda: Better Together

At Difenda, everything we do is powered by Microsoft. As a testament to our cybersecurity-first, Microsoft-only approach, we went the extra mile to deepening our Microsoft partnership with new accomplishments and a few firsts.  

At the end of last year, Difenda became a member of the Microsoft Intelligent Security Association (MISA), an ecosystem of independent software vendors and managed security partners, that have integrated their security products and services with Microsoft to better defend against a world of increasing threats. 

As a member of MISA, Difenda has been able to deepen its existing relationship with Microsoft through preview product access and input, streamlined integrations, and co-marketing opportunities throughout 2022.

Being a Microsoft Security partner allows us to help our customers achieve better outcomes and customize their environments. When looking for new ways to protect and monitor the security of our customers’ IP and data you want to know who the reliable partners are for your security services. This means looking for focused knowledge, extensive experience, and proven success at delivering outcome-driven customer solutions.  

For Difenda, committing to cybersecurity excellence and Microsoft expertise means continuing to improve our team by constantly upskilling our technical team members, validating our performance through external sources, and demonstrating our growth within Microsoft security to remain a trusted security partner.   

It is imperative that we exceed industry standards and are credentialed where it matters most. This year Difenda earned two Microsoft security Specializations in Threat protection and Cloud Security. These specializations prove that we are committed to advancing our security expertise in order to provide the best services for our customers in partnership with Microsoft. 

Microsoft Security Solutions Partner and specialization

The First Microsoft MSSP to Have 9 Offers on Microsoft Azure Marketplace

It was clear that to change the game we needed to go beyond Managed Extended Detection and Response to transform security operations with End-to-End Microsoft Security solutions.  

Ending the year on a high, Difenda is the first Microsoft MSSP to have 9 offers on Microsoft Azure Marketplace. These 9 service offers cover all Microsoft Security Solutions and enable customers to do more with their Microsoft license capabilities and drive ROI by maximizing their investment at any stage of their cybersecurity journey. 

Difenda’s current Marketplace offerings include: 

Innovative Product Launches

Our technical team has been working diligently to create better outcomes for our customers. Throughout this process, we have been able to architect new products that are now available on the Microsoft Azure Marketplace.

In 2022, we looked into the Operational Technology used by critical infrastructure companies that collect, share and store data both within and outside the business. It turned out that not only are these environments dangerously insecure, but the companies that have them aren’t even aware of the assets available to them. We responded by giving customers the technology they need to gain visibility into their OT environments and then protect it from on-coming threats to mitigate the risk of a data breach.  

Powered by Microsoft Defender for IoT, Difenda MDR for OT offers Unified Threat Protection For All Your IoT/OT Devices.

Download the MDR for OT eBook to learn more about the offer.

We won big in Microsoft professional services this year. After years of hearing customers struggle with deploying everything their Microsoft Security licenses have to offer, Difenda now offers professional services that can meet our customers where they are on their security journey. From the End-to-End Microsoft Security Roadmap to Microsoft Purview IP&G, Difenda has taken the time to curate solutions for our customer’s biggest security challenges. 

Resources to Level-Up 

In our quest to help our customers do more with less, we have published 3 new resources to help you get the most out of Microsoft Security:

Providing More Value with the Build Partner Program  

Early this year our team launched our Channel Partner Program: Difenda Build.  

Partners can now sell Difenda Shield powered by Microsoft directly or as a white-label offering. The program’s flexible engagement model allows the partner to customize the program in alignment with their business goals.

Since the launch of the Build Partner Program, we have doubled the number of partners we are working with and can provide even greater value for our customers.

Expanding Difenda’s offering through partner channels allows us to continuously meet the needs of customers’ evolving security requirements. We’re committed to making the service available to the broadest base of resellers possible through Difenda’s channel-led growth focus because we want every business to maximize the value of their Microsoft investment.

Difenda In The News

In response to our continued growth and the increased innovation within the Microsoft Security space, we were asked to speak on behalf of our growth and broader industry trends throughout the year. 

Some familiar faces popped up in Cyber Defense Magazine and CyberNews this year including our Director of Strategic Partnerships, Juliana Zaremba and VP of Revenue, Derek Nugent.

Game-Changing Webinars for Customer Success 

For the first time ever our team dove into the webinar space to create exciting new educational content for our customers and the broader security community. From overcoming challenges in your industry of choice to getting hands-on experience with Microsoft KQL, the Difenda team truly stepped up to provide new, valuable resources to help you succeed in cybersecurity.

Check out our top three webinars from 2022:

Curating An Expert Team

At the heart of Difenda is our team. This year, we nearly doubled in size not only to support our growth but to expand on what was possible from development to delivery.

We pushed the envelope in every department and were able to:

  • Increase our workforce by 47%,
  • Expand the delivery team by 30% alone, and
  • Onboard 50% of our customers to Managed Services.

But that’s not all. Throughout the year, were able to challenge the typical male-dominated industry of cybersecurity.  

Despite many challenges over the past few years, women’s representation has improved across all levels of the corporate pipeline and in almost every industry. But there are still persistent gaps. According to a report by (ISC)² women account for only 24% of the overall workforce in the cybersecurity industry. At Difenda we are actively working to close this gap.   

We are proud to say that women make up 34% of Difenda’s workforce. But that’s not all:   

  • 20% of Difenda’s C3 Team, is women,
  • 60% of the Revenue Operations Leadership Team is women, and
  • 20% of the Service Operations Leadership Team is women.  

Read more about how Difenda is Going Beyond Recruitment, Promotion And Training when it comes to gender diversity in Cybersecurity.

Awards and Recognition

With development and execution in full force, we weren’t the only ones to be excited about the amazing team we put together. This year were honoured with multiple security excellence and Great Place to Work awards.

Difenda Infosec award winner Cyber Defense Magazine
Most Innovative Managed Detection and Response (MDR) Service Provider 
Difenda Infosec award winner Cyber Defense Magazine
Editor’s Choice Vulnerability Management
Difenda Infosec award winner 2022
Market Leader Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC)
Difenda Top 250 MSSP's 2022

We owe our success to the initiatives that helped us not only gain industry awareness and establish Difenda as a security leader but also by continually up-skilling our team were able to create innovative solutions to today’s most challenging security issues. Through outcome-driven services and technical skills, our close-knit team was recognized by many of the leading security award organizations.

We are thrilled at what our team has been able to achieve and we will continue to change the game with new and innovative solutions in the coming year.

Building Momentum to Accelerate Growth in 2023

Looking back, it’s incredible what we have been able to accomplish together. Our primary goal is to introduce tools and features that can create better security outcomes to inform business decisions, without dictating where your data is stored, or locking you into a contract with services you will never use. As we continue to expand and take on new projects, we hope to build on this momentum and continue to protect our customer’s businesses with industry-leading cybersecurity technology and expertise.  

Thank you for helping us achieve these amazing moments this year. We can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together in 2023.  

Our Partners

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Ken Perkins

Biography coming soon.

Deepak Khandekar

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Carlos Espinoza

Biography coming soon.

Sheldon Shaw

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Megan Miller

Megan Miller’s energy and passion for learning flow into all aspects of her work. As the Growth Manager, North America, she brings a background in sciences which she has transitioned to the tech sector in her role at Difenda.

With a Bachelors of Science in Geology, Megan is a lifelong learner who is voracious about learning anything she can get her hands on about cybersecurity. Her positive energy has built a sales strategy with a focus on expanding in the United States while nurturing the Canadian presence. She is responsible for recruiting and training the sales team. Together with the company’s leadership, she creates the sales process and the company’s product strategy in order to better serve the customer base. This ensures that our customers have a highly trained and highly motivated team to help them every step of the way, Megan has completed Microsoft SC-900 training and working towards mastering Microsoft.

Whether at work or play, Megan is fully committed. She took her love of hockey all the way to the semi-professional level as a competitive hockey player. Megan loves all things sports including water skiing, scuba diving, cycling, and snowboarding. She also enjoys time with family and reading about alternative energy, innovation, and cybersecurity.

Natasha Phanor

As the Microsoft Partner Manager at Difenda, Natasha Phanor is responsible for driving growth within our Microsoft Partnership. With six years in the industry, she offers a fresh, energetic approach, and the ability to focus on our customer’s needs throughout the entire process. Natasha has the innate ability to foresee customer needs and solve problems before they arise, which creates a smooth road for each customer she encounters.

As the recipient of the Outstanding Services Partner of the Year Award in 2018, it is clear that Natasha responds quickly to customer needs, creates a platform for understanding a customer’s business requirements, and walks them through the process to ensure their complete satisfaction.

In her spare time, Natasha is as energetic and passionate as she is on the job. A self-proclaimed foodie-extraordinaire, she enjoys dinner parties, traveling, downhill skiing, hiking, biking, and reading. Natasha has a Bachelor of Fine Arts, specializing in Dance, from Ryerson University.

Ian Miersch

Ian Miersch has energy to spare, and uses his eclectic background to make a positive mark on the cybersecurity industry. As Vice President of Finance & Human Resources, Ian Miersch is responsible for overseeing scalable business growth as Difenda expands throughout North America. But it is the way he does it that sets him apart. By leveraging his engineering background and critical thinking skills, he has been able to develop unique strategies that balance the company’s current business needs with its long-term growth plans. And the results of his unique background and drive mean that the company is growing in a fiscally responsible manner, all with the customer’s needs at the forefront.

With a Bachelor’s of Mechanical Engineering, coupled with an MBA in Finance, both from McMaster University, Ian’s ability to analyze data and make informed decisions is augmented by his ability to understand all facets of the business. He has a holistic understanding of the craft, from operations to project delivery and management, to his niche in financial planning. Ian’s ten years of experience in the industry mean that he has seen it all, and knows how to create a dynamic team and manage the resources needed for success.

Outside of work, he uses his energy to help others through the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Program, earning the Group Recreation Volunteer of the Year Status.

Ian also enjoys exploring and hiking with his three young children, exercising (so he can keep up with them), and reading professional development books. He is an avid but generally heartbroken fan of the Toronto sports teams, including the Blue Jays, Maple Leafs, and Raptors.

Derek Nugent

Derek Nugent, Vice President, Revenue lives by the motto “Be early, be better.” Derek leads our Revenue team and is responsible for the customer’s journey with Difenda. His high energy level and creativity have built high performing teams, whether at the Herjavec Group, CDW, or in his current leadership role at Difenda.

After earning a Bachelor Administration and Management degree from the Academy of Learning, Derek started in the information technology industry in 2004 and transitioned to the cybersecurity industry in 2014. With so much experience in a wide-variety of roles, he is poised to take the team at Difenda to the next level.

He excels at leading revenue strategies, new market entry, partnership engagement, and customer acquisition and retention. His work ethic and interest in rising to the top motivate his sales teams, who respond well to his passion and zeal. Under his tutelage, they are able to achieve attractive lead generation, YOY growth, and sizable deals. Derek works tirelessly to build a better team, and his constituents follow his road to success, which ultimately leads to a rewarding experience for the customer.

Even when volunteering, Derek is all in. He was a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters from 2005-2015, earning Group Recreation Volunteer of the Year Status.

And when he isn’t busy leading the team to the acme of sales, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two kids, running, working out, watching thrillers, action and dramatic television shows

Manoj Arora

Manoj Arora, Difenda’s Founder and CEO has always been ahead of the curve in Technology and Cyber Security. After securing his engineering degree in Computer Science, he wrote his first mobile banking application when he was just 23 years old. This accomplishment certainly set him apart from the crowd and prepared him for a lifetime of innovation and success in his field. At just 25 years old, he was selected as the youngest Cyber Security Officer for one of the largest banks in Asia.

As a globetrotting young cyber security professional, Manoj was instrumental in designing cyber security infrastructure and controls for some of the largest institutions around the world. Depth of his expertise and passion to serve customers at the highest level of competence and integrity lead to Difenda. Founded in 2008, Difenda is a rapidly growing cybersecurity firm operating in North America and Asia.

As the CEO at Difenda, Manoj drives the strategic vision to protect our customers and enable our team members to deliver our services in line with core values- competence, integrity, and innovation. Currently one of Microsoft’s leading North American partners, Difenda reflects Manoj’ single-minded focus on our customers. Difenda is fully vested in success of its customers and takes pride in considering our success as a byproduct of our customers. Manoj has always been committed to building a great team and forging strong partnerships to serve our customers with standards that top our industry.

When he is not busy bringing cybersecurity to the world, Manoj enjoys playing golf and squash, and continues to travel the world.

Lisa Templeton

Lisa Templeton is the perfect combination of human empathy and technological prowess. In her role as People Services Manager, she takes care of our team members to support them in their daily work, as well as on their personal life paths. Happy employees make for happy customers, and Lisa excels in giving our employees the tools they need for success in order to become the best possible versions of themselves. Along with employee formation, she shines in the service delivery support domain to continuously improve the process. Her 24 years of experience in IT Operations and Service Management help her create quality and efficiency at Difenda.

Having attended the Information Systems Management certificate program at Ryerson University, and with various other certifications to her credit, Lisa is perceptive and innovative when it comes to information technology, but also sensitive to the needs of her human constituents. Responsible for achieving the first privately owned company HDI Support Center certification in Canada, she has also designed and implemented Service Management excellence programs and 24×7 IT Operations departments for multiple IT organizations, and has created corporate rewards and recognition programs to keep her employees engaged and motivated.

On the personal side, Lisa passionately supports the cause of breast cancer research, having lost her mother to the disease. She reads voraciously in her spare time, and enjoys the art of home renovation. The summer months also bring time on her boat and exploring new hiking trails.

Miranda McCurdy

Miranda McCurdy uses her myriad super powers in all aspects of her job and personal life. As the Marketing Director at Difenda, Miranda McCurdy brings over a decade of experience to the table, which includes expertise in all facets of operations, brand management, and content marketing, as well as a multitude of successful strategies for the ever-expanding digital world. She is an expert at simplifying the message the company is trying to send, filling in gaps in the information, and strengthening the content in order to create compelling narratives that strengthen the brand and developing programs that bring teams together.

With several Addy Awards issued by the American Advertising Federation Cleveland to her credit, and her never say die attitude, Miranda understands both the broader picture and the minute details that are needed to successfully market a product. With her abilities to harness both the talent needed to spread the message, as well as to create the message itself, she is an integral cog in the company’s ability to communicate with customers and other stakeholders.

When she is not building a brand, she shares her ability to fill the gaps in her community by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, the Special Olympics, and the Charleston Food Bank. In her spare time, Miranda spends time with her family, enjoys fitness and health, paddle boarding, reading, and arts and crafts.

Juliana Zaremba

Connections are the name of the game for Juliana Zaremba. As Strategic Partnerships Director, she is responsible for Difenda’s channel partnerships and the development and ownership of the channel partner program. She is also responsible for the global Microsoft Partnership, including the creation of strategic plans with MSFT contacts that will facilitate the continued growth of the business and establish certification and training protocols in all security technologies. Her role is multifaceted, as she acquires partners, manages relationships with them, and develops strategies that will provide cutting edge security solutions to our customer base. Another integral aspect of her job is to facilitate growth.

With a Bachelor’s in Math from the University of Waterloo and 14 years of experience from her previous roles at Herjavec Group and CDW, her cutting edge focus and ability to develop long-lasting relationships and strategies provides world class security solutions to our customer base.

Juliana thrives on connections outside of work as well. She is a philanthropist and contributor with Women4Change based in Hamilton. This group of local women is passionate about supporting local causes, and she focuses her efforts around Women in STEM. She is also a member of Club Italia in Niagara Falls and supports their youth events throughout the year.

When not managing the Microsoft Global partnership, Juliana enjoys reading, often reading several books at once. Juliana enjoys exploring the Niagara Escarpment with her family, as well as sharing meals and experiences with her extended family. Juliana’s competitive nature has her always trying new things, like Whoop band challenges and Peloton.

Andrew Hodges

Biography Coming Soon

Jeffry Jacob

Biography Coming Soon