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Lise Lapointe: Successful Woman Entrepreneur in Cybersecurity

Lise Lapointe is the President of Terranova, a privately held company incorporated in 2001. Business is in her blood, as her grandmother and father were also business people. Lise says, “I guess it runs in the family.”
Lise started her first business as soon as she got out of University at the age of 24 and she has been in business ever since. As Lise had studied to become a teacher, at first it was never part of her plan to start a business.
It all began when she developed a course for the first IBM word processor classroom in Montreal. IBM was looking for a resource to develop and teach a new course for the IBM Displaywriter System. Lise considered it was a great opportunity and took it without hesitation.
After that, she started a business developing Accounting Software for IBM’s Displaywriter and then for PC’s and created a training center for corporations. The training center was spun off as a new business and she ran it successfully for 12 years until it was sold to a large telco.
Inception of Lise’s Company
In 2001, Lise started a new company and her goal was to make it product oriented aiming at the international market. It has always been important for Lise to stay in the fields of Training and IT. She organized focus groups and realized there was a lot of technical training in the security field but no end users’ awareness. There were no laws and regulations at that time to drive the market. She thought it was the perfect opportunity to answer a business need by developing a solution for end users. As a visionary, this is how Lise founded Terranova in 2001.
Today, Cybersecurity is one of the most critical business issues. There are billions of dollars invested in technology to fight cybercrime but even then, the employees are still the weakest link. Terranova has developed a complete solution to help organizations change employees’ security behaviors and make them strong links to protect information and reputation.
Company Known for its Leadership
Terranova was recognized as a World Leader in Security Awareness (Gartner 2015 Magic Quadrant for Security Awareness Computer-based training). Terranova has trained over 6 million users, in more than 37 languages for some of the largest employers in the world such as Caterpillar, County of Los Angeles, Fox, Total, etc. One of the main keys of Terranova’s leadership is listening to its clients’ needs. This allows the team to be innovative, anticipate emerging risks, and proactively enlarge and improve its library of products and services.
Terranova provides a complete and proven solution: high impact, interactive, and focused online courses combined with measurement tools such as a phishing simulation platform and adaptable communication and reinforcement tools to ensure that security awareness is learned quickly and easily, instilling a robust security culture within a company. Terranova’s multilingual, multicultural approach provides great support for global companies. All the platforms are automated so clients can be independent and manage their awareness campaign on their own. But Terranova also provides professional and managed services if they need support.
Terranova’s Products
It is a real asset for Terranova to have an R&D Vice-President who is extremely conscious about the importance of high-quality products. Exhaustive quality controls and constant testing of the tools and platforms are part of everyday operations. Furthermore, all of Terranova’s products are conceived internally by its team of developers and integrators, which gives them complete flexibility and total control over product’s quality.
Since Terranova is in the security awareness industry, continued learning is part of the business model. They develop new topics every year depending on new risks, policies or regulations.
Clients benefit from Terranova’s learning methodology, which employs a whole host of purpose-built communication and reinforcement tools, including videos, games, simulations, posters, screen savers, wallpapers, videos, Intranet security messages, marketing banners, 3D mascots, and other online and/or visual content. These are repeated throughout a number of channels to drive home expected behaviors and best practices. Terranova has a poster, newsletter, and video specifically crafted for each topic, thus ensuring continued learning.
Determined to Stay on Top
The information security awareness market is evolving and is getting more mature as the years, even the months, pass. It is becoming highly competitive internationally. Even though Terranova’s products are recognized as part of the best products in the world, Lise believes that the company still needs to stay on top, innovate, and continuously improve its products and services. On the marketing side of things, more investments need to be made in order to become known by companies all around the world and be recognized as a leader in the information security awareness industry.
Empowering the Women
“There are not enough businesswomen in my opinion. We are still part of the minority. I think I am the only woman owning an information security awareness company.”
Lise realizes women introduce a different way of thinking and a different view to the business world that brings a positive contribution to the diversity of ideas and product development. There is still a lot of space for women to go into business and she thinks it should be encouraged a lot more.
Balancing Work and Personal Life Perfectly
“It seems to be easier as I’m getting older.” As a mother of three children, Lise had to find some kind of balance. It’s an everyday challenge, but with help and discipline in dedicating quality time to her family, she has built strong relationships and two of her children now work in the business. Her family is the balance in her life. Lise has a lot of long-time friends and a great social life too. She thinks it’s important to be well-rounded in her personal life in order to stay efficient in her professional life.
A Journey without Regrets
Lise does not think that she would have done anything differently. “I’m in a market that I love and I have always liked education because it brings a positive outcome to the world,” Lise’s words. Although there’s a lot of pressure, she has learned to handle it pretty well over the years. Lise accepts that she has made mistakes during her career, but she wouldn’t undo them as she learned from them. The important thing is, not to make the same mistake twice. Lise works very hard and takes action. According to Lise, when you make a decision, you have to be able to accept the responsibilities that come with it, whether they are good or bad consequences.