Optiv continues to build out Canadian presence, adding three new executives

Debbie Heiser has moved to a new position, as vice president, Canadian services delivery, while Daina Proctor has been appointed as a regional director for the National Capital Region and Western Canada. Osman Baig is now a regional director for Optiv in Toronto.

Cheryl McGrath, Optiv’s area vice president and general manager for Canada

Security solutions integrator Optiv Security has been building up its Canadian presence over the last year. Now the company has expanded again, with three new positions. Debbie Heiser has been named to the position of vice president, Canadian services delivery. Daina Proctor come on board as a new regional director, who actually has charge of two regions: the National Capital Region of Ottawa/Gatineau, and western Canada. Osman Baig has also been hired, as a regional director in Toronto.

Optiv Security was created in 2015, merging security solution providers Accuvant and FishNet together to create a cybsersecurity giant in the U.S. At the time, their presence in Canada was very limited. Fishnet had not been in Canada at all, and Accuvant had a grand total of three employees in Canada, who mainly did fulfilment for U.S.-based subsidiaries here. In March 2016, expansion in Canada was approved, and Cheryl McGrath was hired as Optiv’s area vice president and general manager for Canada. They are now up to 55 employees, with a key development there being the acquisition of Mississauga-based Conexsys last year.

“At a corporate level, we have been positioning ourselves as a security solutions integrator, who can make sense of all the security tools that customers have available to them today,” said Peter Evans, Optiv’s Chief Marketing Officer. “We bring together solutions based on reference architectures, and this spring at RSA, we announced SecureData@Optiv, which includes technologies from several SIEMs and from our acquisition of Decision Lab.” It’s a reference architecture for rapid deployment of a secure data lake.

“We have been adding new sorts of solutions like patch management on almost a monthly basis, and have been getting a lot of good resonance back from the marketplace,” Evans added.

“We perform the same type of services in Canada,” McGrath said. “CISOs tell us that they are faced with 1500 different tools in security, with a wide assortment of regulations and with threats from all the hackers out there. Clients want services to help tackle those three elements, to automate and streamline what they are doing, and to make sense of it. Because all we do is security, we are well positioned to help them, and we find that we are getting a lot of repeat business now.”

Because the Optiv brand was new in Canada, and its predecessor companies were much less well known here than in the U.S., McGrath said that the company has had to build out its brand aggressively, with considerable success.

“We have grown our business 85 per cent year over year from a services perspective,” she said. “We continue to build out the brand, and have a number of events planned in the fall. We were also recognized in the IDC MarketScape for  Canadian Security Services this year, where we were named a Major Player.”

Heiser transitions to her new role from the position of Optiv Canada managing executive director – executive advisory, office of the CISO, to which she was hired in January 2017. She spent over two decades at technology leadership positions at Pepsi, in both Canada and the U.S., and her more recent resume includes a stint as Rogers Communications’ Vice President of Enterprise Systems.

“Debbie’s role will be managing the existing team of delivery people that do implementation, advisory and professional services, as well as PEN testing, as well as assessing what other service capabilities we need to add to our suite of offerings,” McGrath said. “Optiv  corporate has a broad bench and we draw on those where we can, but her role will be to develop specifically Canadian offerings. We can provide security services to the federal government, and you can’t use U.S. resources for that work.”

Managing those services for the federal government will be part of the job of Daina Proctor, who is responsible for the National Capital Region, which is not limited to the federal government business. Western Canada also reports to her. Previously, she spent nine years at CGI, most recently as Director, Information Security National Accounts, and before that was a manager at Nortel for twelve years.

The third new appointment is also new to the company. Osman Baig is now a regional director in Toronto. He was formerly a senior major account executive at Mimecast and major accounts manager at Proofpoint