My name's Kevin Butler and I'm the firewall admin at the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences campus in Little Rock, AK. I'm that guy that either allows or denies traffic over our network. I handle all of our VPN solutions and make certain to the best of our ability that we remain HIPAA compliant since we are a medical institution as well as a teaching one. I'm also a Palo Alto Networks customer.
Last week I had the opportunity to attend the RSA Conference. For anyone else that attended and visited Palo Alto Networks' booth, you probably saw the theme they were using was "The Most Interesting Firewall in the World," a take on the Dos Equis ads featuring "The Most Interesting Man in the World." You know the ones – "I don't always drink beer, but when I do, I drink Dos Equis. Stay thirsty my friends."
What you probably don't know is that I was actually the one that came up with the idea of using this same catchy slogan to describe Palo Alto Networks . I also started a Facebook page for The Most Interesting Firewall in the World.
Earlier this year I was talking to Dave Smith, one of our Palo Alto Networks sales reps in the Dallas area. I try to keep work pretty fun so we were joking around about what I've been able to do with my Palo Alto Networks firewalls - "Ya know, Dave, with your firewalls I've been able to defend against the huns invading eastern Europe." After I got off the phone with him I kept thinking about it and whipped up a firewall graphic, threw a bunch of different Dos Equis Interesting Man style phrases on it about PAN-OS and sent it to Dave. He called me back, saying it was awesome and asked if he could send it to a few other people. "Sure, no problem, but don't go taking credit for my idea," I joked with him. Then I got a call from Von Nguyenin the Palo Alto Networks Houston office, asking if he could forward it on to a couple other people.
Fast forward a couple weeks and we had some field engineers come in to talk with us and they started asking me, "Hey, are you the guy that did that Palo Alto Networks pictograph? That was so awesome, we hung it up in the office!"
Wow, people actually like this thing I came up with... Next thing I knew I was getting a call from people at the Palo Alto Networks headquarters asking if I minded if they used the concept for their booth at the RSA Conference. Pretty flattering and shocking at the same time. I couldn't believe it. They wanted to use my idea!
If they all like it, others probably would too I thought. Maybe other people would have even cooler phrases than what I thought up. So I started the Facebook page as a way to hear ideas from other people.
Seeing my idea at Palo Alto Networks' booth, their shirts, the Twitter contest - it was all a really mind blowing experience. This is one of the coolest things to happen to me in my professional career.
I'm going to keep going with the Facebook page, it's another way to keep my work fun. But in the meantime, stay secure my friends.