Episode
41

Vancord: Securing a More Connected Future

If you haven’t heard the news, Vancord and TBNG are now unified as Vancord—and together, we’re securing a more connected future.

Tune into today’s episode of CyberSound with Jason Pufahl and Michael Grande to learn why we’re bringing the best and brightest security and engineering professionals together under one roof.

As global defenders in a world where good wins, we are excited to step into this next chapter with dedicated team members, loyal customers, colleagues, and listeners like you, who have continuously supported us.

CyberSound episode 41

Episode Transcript

[00:00:01.210] – Speaker 1
This is CyberSound, your simplified and fundamentals-focused source for all things cybersecurity.

[00:00:11.490] – Jason Pufahl
Welcome to CyberSound. I’m your host, Jason Pufahl, joined today by the CEO of TBNG Incorporated, Michael Grande. Hello. Hi, Michael.

[00:00:18.960] – Michael Grande
Hello. Good afternoon.

Expand Transcript

[00:00:21.570] – Jason Pufahl
Thanks for joining the podcast, although I will say in reality it’s our podcast but you’ve got some exciting news today.

[00:00:28.220] – Michael Grande
I do. I’m really excited to be here. Excited to talk about a big brand announcement between TBNG Consulting and Vancord moving forward under one name under Vancord, and the mission, vision, and values that will carry us to the future. I’m really excited to talk about and share today. It’s important to look at how far we’ve come and honor where we are today. I think there’s so much information that we can share and exciting information about where we’re moving.

[00:00:59.260] – Jason Pufahl
I think, the evolution of this, for me personally, is really something to behold. You’ve been in business 17, 18 years. I joined three-and-a-half years ago to start Vancord, the security side of the business. It’s really exciting to see, frankly, our recognition as a company of really where this needs to be really where we need to take it in terms of the combination of the two business models and the combination of infrastructure and security.

[00:01:28.340] – Michael Grande
Absolutely. Founded in 2005 by Jeff Grande and Mike Paone. We’ve been able to really successfully build on their vision over the past 17 years and to see where we are now with our size, our employee base, our scope of services is just really an incredible thing. Moving forward, we’re just so excited about this integration and singular brand.

[00:01:56.730] – Jason Pufahl
It really makes me think a little bit about, why is this important to us, frankly. I think, there’s us and then there’s ultimately what’s important for our customers that we’ll get to. I mean, it really feels like a success to me, where you recognize the need to build an information security practice about three and a half or four years ago, and here we are now talking about how it really is the foundation of the organization. That underpinning for everything we do is going to be based on a security-first mindset.

[00:02:27.300] – Michael Grande
Absolutely. Building great teams is really at my core belief of management. I think great teams are able to accomplish great things. We’ve been lucky, as I said, to have a wonderful vision over several years, and looking forward, realizing that we’ve got this incredible managed service practice that we’ve grown for 17 years and this added amazing information security practice.

[00:02:56.010] – Michael Grande
The integration of those two is really what will move us forward and create great things. Primarily, as our teams get to work together, what we can do and what we can accomplish is really stratospheric. We’re able to essentially use it as a force multiplier in all things that we do. That’s what’s most exciting.

[00:03:19.460] – Jason Pufahl
This process has really given us an ability to take a look at the company as a whole, not simply our services, but really who we are as an entity. What’s our mission? What’s our vision? What are our core values? I think it’s probably worth spending a little time on all of those because I think they’re going to permeate our culture, and I think our clients are going to get a lot of value out of that new foundational way of thinking for us.

[00:03:45.530] – Michael Grande
Yes, for sure. I’m really excited that this effort, and it truly is an effort, has given us the opportunity to redefine our mission and vision and essentially set forth our core values moving forward. Our new mission is to empower innovation through secure solutions that protect and support our client’s future.

[00:04:08.010] – Michael Grande
Our new vision is a really exciting one. Of course, it has to be big and audacious. We’re global defenders, in a world where good wins. As someone who had a lot to do with that, I’m interested in your take on that vision.

[00:04:24.510] – Jason Pufahl
We did toss around a lot of visions where we had really large multi-syllable words that I thought sounded great but didn’t roll off the tongue. For me, I feel like it really is simple. Every time I do a security awareness presentation or even talk on this show, I feel I’m living in a world of doom and gloom. It’s threat actors, it’s attacks, it’s response.

[00:04:49.450] – Jason Pufahl
In a lot of ways, I just love the simplicity of where good wins, ultimately succeeding from the defense side and actually getting to a point where people are secure, businesses are functioning, and that daily threat, that unknown attack, is largely gone. I love the simplicity of it personally.

[00:05:10.780] – Michael Grande
It’s so true. We see it in so many different levels of engagements with clients. Unfortunately, we see it all the time from an incident response perspective, where clients feel defenseless. They’re looking for the white night to roll in and save the day. I think, that to a certain extent, that vision really brings that thought across, and we’re going to deliver on that service for sure moving forward.

[00:05:39.070] – Jason Pufahl
Who doesn’t want to feel like a superhero?

[00:05:40.670] – Michael Grande
Absolutely.

[00:05:41.790] – Jason Pufahl
Which I do every day. This process was interesting to me because not only did it give us an opportunity to talk about that mission and vision but then we said, who do we want to be as a company? Let’s really discuss that set of core values that probably set forth 17 or 18 years ago and maybe not as formally revisited until now. I think, we spent a lot of time on that and came out, I think, with five specific values that we’re going to try and hold ourselves accountable for as a company.

[00:06:13.180] – Michael Grande
Absolutely. One of the most exciting parts of this entire process was thinking about all the stakeholders of the organization, all of our employees, all of our business partners, and everyone who every day thinks about Vancord and is putting clients first and coming up with unique solutions to deliver exactly the services and the solutions that we’re seeking to do.

[00:06:41.790] – Michael Grande
I really enjoyed this process. I’ll start with brilliance. We’ve talked about how talented our team is and how exceptional teams do exceptional things. Well, we are experts and innovators and we take tremendous pride in our work. I feel as though all of our clients will agree with that notion and understand that we’re always looking out for their best interests and we’ve got that technical talent, that human emotion, all of those intangibles that go along with a great client experience captured and brilliant for sure.

[00:07:15.630] – Jason Pufahl
The next two, actually are probably the most meaningful to me, with your creativity and virtue. Not every client is the same. I think, we do an outstanding job of me just talking to each client, figuring out what their challenges are, and designing solutions that are going to reduce the concerns they have, whether they’re security concerns or maybe they’re simply networking availability or server stability. Whatever those are, we talk about their needs and identify solutions that are going to solve them.

[00:07:49.040] – Jason Pufahl
The second is a virtue. It’s incredibly important to me that we interact with every client honestly and transparently and collaboratively. The only thing that we have, actually, maybe there are two things. I think, there’s reputation and then there’s talent. The reality is reputation is incredibly important. Doing the right thing for the clients is incredibly important to me and interacting honestly. I’m really happy with those two.

[00:08:16.830] – Michael Grande
One of the wonderful aspects of this integration, especially from our service lines, is the fourth, which is an affirmation, of working together collaboratively and respecting each other and the integrity of our work. Everyone has a voice and it’s important to listen to diverse perspectives and gain understanding and perspective on how each member of our team, our clients, approach different issues and problems and how we solve them. Feeling that structure and that support is such a big deal. Affirmation is such a big piece of that for me.

[00:08:55.720] – Michael Grande
Lastly, the opportunity for our hard work and our ambition really to set forth what’s possible, what’s new, what can we do next as we create and hold space for others to grow both internally and externally?

[00:09:12.390] – Michael Grande
This is a great example, this CyberSound podcast, something that we never thought of before. It’s a way to not only increase our audience but really important topics that matter to our clients and to our friends and those close to us that are interested in this area, technology and security. These types of opportunities moving ahead are really exciting.

[00:09:36.810] – Jason Pufahl
Our internal opportunities are going to be incredibly important to me. Because, I think, the best way to attract good talent is to have that talent understand that within the company, there’s opportunities to grow. They might be small, I’m honestly looking over here at Jane, who’s serving as a sound engineer for us, a part-time sound engineer for this.

[00:09:56.690] – Jason Pufahl
But it’s a small thing. We made a shoutout, you answered that call, and I appreciate that. I think it’s the little things combined with bigger career opportunities that I really want to make sure 2022 and beyond bring everybody.

[00:10:13.750] – Jason Pufahl
This is a question that I actually had a hard time trying to figure out, which was, how did this happen, what was the catalyst? Because I know, you and I, chatted about it a lot over the last couple of years. I’d say we bounced back and forth around, should we become a single entity, Vancord? Should we remain two different divisions? There’s a value to it. I’m interested in your perspective on how we actually got here.

[00:10:35.590] – Michael Grande
Well, time and the ability to look back and examine what works and sometimes what doesn’t work is a great benefit. I think for the organization to see that the opportunities working together were far greater than those if we remain two distinct divisions.

[00:10:57.310] – Michael Grande
The opportunities to not only work together and have our teams more cooperatively function and different engagements, but to also build out that client, build out that product set for our clients, we had to be creative with that. Integrating the two lines moving forward as one brand and one identity was really the way to make that happen. But you’re right. It took some time. It took a few years of a few iterations, but I’m so pleased with where we are now.

[00:11:30.970] – Jason Pufahl
I always feel it’s important to mention to people that we were two divisions intentionally. Where we started this endeavor with the idea that we wanted a security organization that offered, call it, GAAP or remediation related advice and an infrastructure entity that could actually help fulfill some of that.

[00:11:50.360] – Jason Pufahl
We really thought originally that was going to be really important to our clients, that they would want two separate entities. I think, what we really have discovered was, it’s more important for the majority of our clients to feel they’ve got a single entity with a broad set of capabilities across both, that security and infrastructure space and they frankly liked the ability to bring support and capabilities across both of those. This is as much a client experience as it is the opportunity internally, as well.

[00:12:20.130] – Michael Grande
Our ability to sort of break down those, indirectly created, silos and boundaries that we may have unintentionally established. Breaking those down and allowing clients to have the full breadth of services available was truly the right move and moving forward.

[00:12:40.630] – Jason Pufahl
Ultimately, I think, for all the benefits it will provide us internally, this is largely done to provide a better experience for all of our customers. I think it’s really valuable to at least, spend a couple of minutes on [inaudible 00:12:53].

[00:12:54.160] – Jason Pufahl
What does it mean to you, the listener here who was hearing us talk about the changes that we’re making? I think they’re going to manifest themselves in, I’d say, three distinct service areas. We’re going to build practices around the idea of manage, defend and respond. We’ve done all of that for the last four years.

[00:13:15.210] – Jason Pufahl
Certainly, the, say defend and respond, side of things. But I think we’re going to integrate our practices such that we really maintain that infrastructure side to make sure that we build networks that are scalable and reliable. Implement all those infrastructure building blocks, that everybody needs to be able to roll into the office or frankly, nowadays, stay at home and connect with all of their peers, reliably and robustly every day, but then build that defend sphere.

[00:13:49.450] – Jason Pufahl
How do you make sure you know what your security risks are and how do you build a plan to address all of those risks over time? It may take time to deal with that. But that defend category, making yourself as secure as you can.

[00:14:02.280] – Jason Pufahl
Then, of course, we’ve dealt with plenty of clients that have had incident response or security incidents where we’ve come in and done the response for that. You have to have a respond component of your business nowadays. I think we’re building that out as well. There’s going to be a lot of value for clients in those three tiers.

[00:14:19.010] – Michael Grande
Absolutely. One of the things we touched on it briefly early on, especially with regards to our mission, was that enabling our clients to move forward with secure solutions, or empowering innovation. Being a business enablement tool for our clients and allowing them to grow, our growth over 17 years is directly associated with the growth of so many of our clients.

[00:14:47.680] – Michael Grande
We’ve seen that sort of scalability really be a meaningful and impactful driver for business and success. Being able to do that and integrate a wonderful security offering and new services that, frankly, maybe five years ago, we didn’t even really think were possible, I’m so excited for that, for the benefit of our clients and really letting them focus on what they need to do and to grow their business and be successful, whatever their organization is.

[00:15:17.190] – Jason Pufahl
I do think in the future you and I should talk a whole separate podcast around what’s the process of combining two entities into a single one. Because there’s a lot more to that, frankly, than I ever thought it was going to be.

[00:15:33.280] – Michael Grande
We may need more than 10 or 15 minutes for that. That may be a multi-session podcast. But for sure, obviously, getting great advice and guidance and we have a wonderful board who’s stuck with us and offered us tremendous insight, both industry-related and market-related. Having access to that brainpower and a team that wants to deliver all the time has really been one of the most remunerating aspects of this entire endeavor.

[00:16:08.170] – Michael Grande
Moving forward, it will be a new look, and I’m excited to share that and talk about that briefly. Our visual identity for so many years was from the MSP perspective and infrastructure. TBNG Consulting was a logo that actually Mike Paone developed when the business began. It was really exciting and wonderful and adorned all of our shirts for many years.

[00:16:35.090] – Michael Grande
We’ve got a lot of TBNG consulting gear out there for sure. Also very exciting. When Vancord was established several years ago, unique ID and logo, and name, for sure. Moving forward, what we’ve done was integrate those two things, understanding that the Vancord name is synonymous with security and that’s a leading focus for us moving forward and pulling in the legacy of a great visual identity that we’ve established and color combinations with our shield.

[00:17:10.510] – Michael Grande
It’s going to be a new look, but it will be a familiar look and we’re really excited about that.

[00:17:16.090] – Jason Pufahl
Just the amount of time and attention it takes to say how do you blend the original entity with the new entity and make everybody feel they have had a voice and that they’re represented? It is amazing how tied both internal people and frankly, clients are to, hey, I’m familiar with that look, or I understand what that logo is going to be and trying to tie in elements from both. Clients will definitely see the new name, Vancord.

[00:17:41.780] – Jason Pufahl
They’ll see the Vancord shield and the traditional TBNG Consulting blue colors, which in my opinion really manifests in a much more professional and forward-looking field than we had with either set of icons individually.

[00:17:59.360] – Michael Grande
Absolutely. Vancord means its origins, vantage, and concord. Vantage to have a unique perspective, and that means so many things, whether it’s in a client relationship or internally. Concord is harmony in partnership. I think, that name moving forward, does mean so many things for the organization. It’s not just the visual identity, which is an exciting piece of it. It does harken back to our newly established mission and vision and our core values and just so excited for what this means and where we’re going.

[00:18:38.120] – Jason Pufahl
So am I. I’d like to take a second and thank all our existing clients for being clients for so long. We hope that everything that you’ve heard today on the podcast resonates and that you’re more excited to potentially work with us.

[00:18:51.380] – Jason Pufahl
Anybody knew, of course, who heard this, we’re a company that can do security and infrastructure with the best of them, and I think we’re going to continue to grow and there are a lot more exciting services that we’re going to be pushing out over the next year.

[00:19:06.310] – Jason Pufahl
We’re going to try and do our best to keep LinkedIn up to date with announcements and information relative to CyberSound going forward. Search Vancord and on LinkedIn to join the newly expanded community. Follow us to get the latest trends and best practices offerings.

[00:19:22.930] – Jason Pufahl
We’ll do giveaways periodically. I think you can expect even in the next CyberSound podcast some exciting giveaways there so stay tuned for that. With that, Michael, I appreciate you joining. It’s an exciting time. I’m thrilled to be part of this announcement.

[00:19:40.290] – Michael Grande
Thanks. Wonderful being here. Great telling and sharing the story and very excited for all things to come.

[00:19:46.500] – Jason Pufahl
Thanks, everybody for listening.

[00:19:47.660] – Michael Grande
Thank you.

[00:19:49.450] – Speaker 1
Stay vigilant, stay resilient. This has been CyberSound.

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