April Build Partner Champion 2023 

We are thrilled to introduce Jonathan Raymond, Cybersecurity Executive – Ontario Public Sector at Microsoft and the proud recipient of the April Build Partner Champion award. Jonathan has consistently demonstrated commitment to Difenda and Microsoft’s better-together story. His passion for collaboration, innovative thinking, and ability to execute have set him apart as a true champion, not only for Difenda but also for his customers and colleagues, well deserving of this recognition. 

We sat down with Jonathan Raymond to gain valuable insights into his strategies to overcome cybersecurity challenges in the public sector, and the key factors that have contributed to his success working with Difenda.  

Managed Microsoft Security in the Public Sector  

Jonathan specifically works with different government groups and agencies to support them on their journey with cybersecurity, identity, access management and compliance. Throughout his experience, he found that there are many unique characteristics in both the business processes and the security landscape that require specialized knowledge and support to navigate.  

From understanding budgeting and resource restrictions to navigating the often-complex procurement process, partners in this sector face a multitude of obstacles. Finding the right security service isn’t always easy.  

One thing that can make it more difficult is the lack of understanding among partner solutions regarding the intricacies of the public sector, leading to rigid or “cookie-cutter” approaches that may not align with each customer’s environment, Jonathan explained.  

Luckily, Difenda has been excellent at assessing the customer environment and meeting our joint customers where they are on their journey.  

How Does Difenda Meet the Unique Needs of Your Public Sector Clients?

Working with Difenda has made Jonathan’s job a lot easier because of the team’s ability to excel in meeting the unique needs of customers by demonstrating a deep understanding of their challenges and recognizing the specific skills required to address challenges effectively. 

Difenda’s approach to security maturity is rooted in a comprehensive assessment of each customer’s current situation. Jonathan appreciates that flexibility. “Rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach, Difenda prioritizes what is relevant to the client, considering their specific priorities and identifying gaps in personnel skills or other areas. They go beyond the standard with customized, modular solutions that help customers get exactly what they need and work with the resources they have available.” 

By working closely with the customer, Difenda identifies gaps and proposes tailored solutions to resolve them. This level of understanding resonates with clients, as it showcases Difenda’s ability to comprehend their organizations’ operations and their essential needs for success.  

“You can tell that Difenda really cares about the success of its customers and puts in extra effort where it’s needed to create sustainable solutions,” Jonathan said, “I continue to hear from clients directly that they’re very impressed with the work that’s been done, whenever Difenda is involved.”  

What Has Your Experience Been Like Working With Difenda?

Jonathan highlighted the importance of being able to trust his partners, noting that “Difenda’s commitment to timely delivery and surpassing expectations has solidified their position as a trusted partner in our efforts to modernize cybersecurity posture.”  

Building trust with partners is important to Difenda because it is the number one way to build and execute successful partner and customer relationships. This trust allows teams to tackle challenging jobs with more confidence, knowing that they have a dependable partner who will consistently deliver.  

Jonathan’s favorite part about working with Difenda is the collaborative approach and feeling like part of the team. “It truly feels like they are an extension of the Microsoft team, working seamlessly to orchestrate and deliver positive outcomes for our clients in a meaningful and relevant way.” He went on to explain that even in complex deployment scenarios, clients who have worked with Difenda have achieved the desired outcomes and expressed high satisfaction with both the work delivered and the relationship built with Difenda.  

Ultimately, the goals for Difenda and Microsoft are to meet project requirements within the expected time frame and set customers up for success long term. “This level of customer satisfaction and seamless collaboration between partners is the ultimate scenario, and it has been my consistent experience with Difenda.”  

Learn more about the Build Partner Program here.

Learn more about the Difenda Build Partner Program here.

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Ken Perkins

Biography coming soon.

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.

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.

Jeffry Jacob

Biography Coming Soon