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RSA Post 2

This blog is part of an ongoing Q&A series with CISOs on preferred marketing and sales techniques, leading up to the RSA Conference, taking place March 4-8 in San Francisco – where cyber professionals from all over the country will come together to make connections and keep the digital world safe.

Roland Cloutier has been an executive in the cybersecurity industry for nearly 15 years. As the Corporate Vice President and Chief Security Officer (CSO) of ADP, Cloutier works to protect and secure one of the world’s largest providers of Human Capital Management (HCM) business outsourcing solutions. Prior to ADP, Cloutier served as Vice President and CSO of EMC, where he led the charge on protection of the company’s global business across both the commercial and government sectors.

Roland Cloutier

In an interview with Merritt Group’s Security Practice Lead, Michelle Schafer, Cloutier shared his diverse range of experiences being a CSO and the importance of making meaningful connections with security vendors. He will be presenting his views at the upcoming T.E.N. & ISE® Sales and Marketing Breakfast during RSA 2019.

 What are your top challenges when it comes to securing your enterprise?

For me, the top three challenges are enabling business innovation, getting risk right and navigating the changing threat landscape. First, it’s difficult to balance innovation at a tech company when my focus has to be on risk. Then there’s getting risk right: my job is all about risk – managing it and reducing it. I have to ensure I’m making good decisions based on good information. Lastly, the threat landscape changes every year. That requires us to see over the horizon and plan accordingly to make sure we’re ready for the next threat.

What turns you off about security vendor sales?

Blind sales is my number one pet peeve – this is when a vendor has no idea about who we are, what we do and doesn’t put any research into it, but attempts to say they have the perfect solution to my problem. The don’t even know my business enough to have a discussion. I’m also not a fan of “promising the world syndrome.” Vendors that say “We do everything!” It’s okay if you just solve one problem, but it’s important to be truthful and really good at the one thing you do.

Any marketing frustrations?

Nothing is worse than “spray and pray.” Marketers try to hit every email of a person with a title they can find as often as possible. But with the market and level of person you’re trying to engage with, un-personalized, robotic marketing junk that just uses buzzwords makes no sense and wastes everyone’s time. Another frustration is gifts over substance. It’s amazing how many gifts I get in the mail like socks or iPads that I have to return or give to charity. Most organizations have ethical standards so sending gifts is a big waste of time.

Any tips for security marketing teams to improve their approach to you?

Be clear. Say what you solve and what you don’t solve. I’m also a big believer in visually telling your story. Help people to understand and see the concept of how you do it – that’s engagement. Also, it’s important to adequately prep your sales groups. Once you’ve done your research, make sure your sales team is ready. There’s a huge gap between how prepared the marketing team is and the sales team is in having a discussion with someone like me.

What do you plan to highlight to sales execs and marketers attending the T.E.N. RSA breakfast event?

I’m really looking forward to discussing the importance of creating networks. Some of the best engagements I’ve had are at birds-of-feather sessions at events. I usually have great conversations about who’s using what tech and how that would help us. It’s very useful to have peer-to-peer discussions about the value that a certain technology or service delivers. 

Please join Roland Cloutier and a panel of top CISOs at the T.E.N. & ISE® Sales and Marketing Breakfast during RSA 2019 on March 6, 2019 at Oren’s Hummus San Francisco located at 71 3rd St. To register for this event, please visit:




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