Optiv Snags Two Security Vets To Spearhead Marketing, Emerging Services Growth

Optiv has landed a former Dell and HP marketing leader and a security expert employed by the likes of Fidelity, Barclays and Bank of America to drive clarity for customers.

The Denver-based company, No. 27 on the 2017 CRN Solution Provider 500, said newly-hired CMO Peter Evans and VP of Emerging Services Sean Catlett would help Optiv package and promote holistic solutions capable of addressing security challenges in areas such as orchestration, automation and cloud. The hires were announced Thursday, with Evans starting at Optiv in October and Catlett in July.

"There's 1,500-plus vendors, and there's more confusion that ever before," Evans told CRN. ""The market is crying for a different voice to solve a different kind of problem."

[Related: Optiv Security Expands Board Of Directors, Adds Former FireEye CEO DeWalt And Retired General David Petraeus]

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Catlett's position is newly-created to facilitate the delivery of solutions rather than a set of point products. Evans fills a role that had been vacant since December 2016, when longtime CMO Steve Perkins left to take the chief marketing position at network security startup Nubeva.

Evans will focus on moving Optiv away from tactical, reactionary marketing efforts that fail to provide a return on investment and potentially create confusion for customers to a more programmatic set of activities oriented around a plan that's defined ahead of time.

These campaigns should be aligned with big, broad market needs and business problems described by customers, Evans said, and should manifest themselves in year-long programs focused around a solution rather than a slew of two-week calling campaigns.

"Innovation and marketing are two sides of the same coin when it comes to strategy," Evans said.

Evans will focus on building out a demand generation engine that works with customers to solve their biggest problems, enabling Optiv to build out a reference architecture and move up the stack. He also plans to launch a branding campaign around Optiv in 2018 to create engagement with customers and make the company more recognizable.

Too many customers have a bloated security infrastructure, Evans said, with 25 percent to 30 percent of the tools they've purchased not even being implemented yet. Evans said Optiv is laser-focused on making customers more comfortable with their security investments by optimizing, rationalizing, and boosting the effectiveness of their portfolio.

"When all you have is a hammer, every problem is a nail," Evans said.

Catlett is coming off a year as CEO of ROI-focused startup Pharos Security. Before that, he spent a year as SVP of cybersecurity detection and response at Fidelity Investments, two years as the global head of threat and vulnerability management at Barclays, and nearly four years as a network security-focused senior vice president at Bank of America.

Catlett said his role at Optiv moves him away from the zero-sum game of trying to grow market share and get into more accounts and instead allows him to serve in a more consultative or advisory role, building multi-vendor bundles that proactively address customer needs in emerging areas.

Evans most recently spent 20 months as the CEO of Austin, Texas-based software startup Pristine. Before that, he spent two years as vice president of global marketing for HP servers, a year as CMO for Dell's $12 billion enterprise solutions business, and 2.5 years as senior vice president of marketing for Atlanta-based Internap Network Services, No. 78 on the 2017 CRN Solution Provider 500.

Evans said his career experience provides him with a first-hand perspective on how vendors work and what's needed to create an effective channel program.