Culture, Uncategorized

Marrio McLaurin – Demystifying Cybersecurity

Life at Arlo

Marrio McLaurin was Arlo’s first cybersecurity hire in September 2018. As the self-proclaimed “OG Arlo employee,” Marrio serves as our Director of IT and Security, ensuring both Arlo and our clients have the right security policies and procedures in place. He works to “demystify” cybersecurity by transforming complex concepts into information people can understand.

We sat down with Marrio to learn more about his background and experience in cybersecurity and what he enjoys doing outside of work.

Being our first cybersecurity employee, how did you find Arlo?

Kind of a funny story. I was on the way to a dentist appointment with my wife. Her appointment was before mine, so I decided to do some work from the car. I came across an email from a headhunter looking for someone with experience in control systems, which isn’t a very common background. At the time, I was working for another tech/cyber startup, but given this position was seeking someone with my exact skillset, it seemed meant to be. I talked to Lonye Ford directly, we shared some great ideas, and I immediately took the job after that.

What do you find most rewarding about your job?

That’s a tough question! I’ve been really blessed to be at the tip of the sphere throughout my career. I love that my job allows me to combine critical thinking skills along with non-traditional thinking. Being able to support new efforts is very rewarding, such as supporting a new position or initiative by helping develop critical cybersecurity and defense policies. There’s so much I find fulfilling about my job.

On the flip side, what do you find most challenging about your job?

The federal government can be slow to change. So, anytime you’re dealing with a paradigm shift, there’s going to be pushback. You need to have thick skin, which isn’t always easy. But, once you break through and start to see changes happen, it’s all worth it in the end.

What makes Arlo different from your previous workplaces?

I have a unique perspective since I was Arlo’s first cybersecurity employee. I’ve seen the company grow tremendously. What I find really refreshing is the close relationship I have with Lonye. When I first started, I saw Lonye everyday because we were working together on a contract. It’s rare for an employee to get to work side-by-side with the CEO and have an opportunity to share ideas together. Working with her, I feel supported and empowered to be innovative.

What is your favorite thing to do outside of work?

My wife and I have a travel bug. We previously lived in Japan for six months and took a month off to travel around Asia. In fact, we’ve recently sold our house in Orlando and bought an RV! Being able to work remotely, or be “location agnostic” as I call it, why not live life “on the road?” We’re not sure where we’ll go first. While I’m a planner, I think it’s good to go with the flow and see where life takes you.

Where is somewhere you want to go but have never been?  

In the RV, I’d say Sedona, AZ or maybe even Nova Scotia. Overseas I’d love to visit India and experience that culture. South Africa and New Zealand also rank high on the list. It’s impossible to choose just one!

What hobby have you never tried but you would like to try?

It’s not really a hobby, but I’d love to be an astronaut. To experience being outside of Earth and seeing the void of space would be truly amazing. If I could do anything in the world, this would be it.

In a previous life, what animal were you and why?

While it’s a mythical creature, I’d have been a griffin. It symbolizes the innate power we have as humans to be strong and brave like a lion, but also free to soar like an eagle. I like the idea of tapping into who we are as an individual and embracing our own spirituality. We’re all more than we think we are.