Why I Joined Todyl: Spotlight on Brent Murphy

Zach Dressander
September 28, 2021

We sat down with Brent Murphy, Head of Detection Engineering at Todyl, to discuss the journey that led him here, what he is working on, and his advice for people looking to get started in the security space.

How did you get started in security?

My journey in security began in 2009. I just graduated from Salisbury University with a B.S. in Information Systems and was working in a data center. My responsibilities included responding to various server alerts, configuring networking and security tools, and troubleshooting and re-imaging PCs. I enjoyed the security side of my role and quickly learned the ins and outs of configuring Firewalls, Intrusion Detection Systems, and Antivirus Appliances.

Back then, there weren't any clear-cut paths to get into cybersecurity. I continuously raised my hand for more and more security projects, gaining a significant amount of hands-on experience and foundational knowledge before making the jump to work in a Security Operations Center (SOC).

Once I joined the SOC, I doubled down on security and pursued getting several certifications, including my Security+ in July 2016, Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) in December 2016, Certified Ethical Hacker in November 2017, and Offensive Security Certified Professional in May 2018. These certifications, combined with my continued on-the-job growth and experience, only deepened my passion for security.

With my passion came new opportunities and side projects. I started a cybersecurity blog and Twitter account to help people in the space stay on top of the latest vulnerabilities, tactics, techniques & procedures (TTPs), and leading security practices. I wrote a book on threat hunting. I also dove deep into the offensive side of security, honing my hacking techniques to gain a holistic understanding of how threat actors breach systems. This understanding is critical to becoming a better defender. It taught me how to strengthen our defenses and recognize threat actors’ techniques.

How did you end up at Todyl and what are you working on?

The security space is a tight-knit community. Through my network, I learned about the opening for Head of Detection Engineering at Todyl and applied. I was amazed by the platform throughout the interview process and onboarding. I’ve worked in several industries with different roles and was intimately familiar with the need for an all-in-one platform like ours.

I’m very excited to be part of Todyl and leading our Detection Engineering Team. We have such a talented team here in every facet of the company, and everyone is laser-focused on our mission.

My focus is to supplement our partners’ security teams with our knowledge and expertise. Security is a team sport, and with our global reach and unmatched observability, we can empower our partners to provide world-class security to their clients.

My team’s work spans:

  • Managing and optimizing our intelligence pipelines to proactively block malicious traffic, implement countermeasures, and support our detection capabilities...along with tuning out the noise
  • Creating new high-fidelity detections around behavioral analysis and zero-day/emerging threats
  • Helping our partners address cyber incidents and vulnerabilities through our Managed Extended Detection and Response (MXDR) beta product that assists with everything from identification to remediation
  • Implementing additional capabilities across the Secure Global Network (SGN) Connect Agent and SGNTM Cloud Platform to help prevent malware and ransomware, identify suspicious behavior, and so much more

It’s been a rewarding experience to lead our Detection Engineering Team and help our partners stay ahead of threat actors. Our MXDR capabilities, currently in beta, have already helped several of our partners proactively remediate issues. We work together to empower them to educate their clients and staff on what happened, resulting in faster detection and remediation of similar issues in the future. As a security practitioner, it is great to see us invest in the platform to add additional layers of defense to our revolutionary networking and security platform.

What can we find you doing outside of work?

As a recent Colorado transplant, you can find me exploring Colorado with my wife and 15-month-old daughter. You’ll see me sporting my Raven’s jersey and rooting for all of Maryland’s sports teams. I’m also constantly reading and researching the latest in security.

Any final advice for people looking to get into security?

It's never too late to get into cybersecurity. A love of problem-solving is one of the few prerequisites to get into the field. Beyond that, there are loads of free resources out there to learn most things you’ll need on the job. The security community is also helpful; take the time to network and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Everyone in the field has impostor syndrome at some point.

The only other advice I’d have is to get a basic grasp of a programming language like Python to automate simple tasks and explore certifications like Security+ to add credibility to your resume. These should be more than sufficient to get an entry-level position.

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