We sat down with Michael Pak, VP of 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 security.
I entered the cybersecurity field 25 years ago through a chance encounter with the CTO of McAfee (then Network Associates). While driving home from a trip, I decided to stop by a job fair where I met a Network Associates representative. They were looking for someone skilled in x86 architecture and assembly, C coding and optimization, and was able to read disassembled binary. The next day I met the CTO, and he hired me on the spot.
I have several standout memories from my career. At McAfee, I played a pivotal role in architecting a security API/framework that was adopted as an international standard (OMA). During my tenure at Samsung, there were numerous memorable moments. For example, I contributed to the rewriting of the Common Criteria standards for mobile handsets and spearheaded the development of the first Common Criteria approved consumer mobile headset for federal government usage. Additionally, I successfully facilitated the approval of Samsung's phones and tablets for both U.S. and UK government applications. At Cloudflare, I worked on Key Management for a large-scale network.
After a conversation with John Nellen, I was instantly captivated by his visionary approach of delivering comprehensive security through a unified platform. The team's impressive accomplishments so far left an immediate impression on me, and I jumped at the chance to contribute to their future growth and vision.
Todyl offers the only viable/pragmatic security product for small businesses, mid-market companies, and many (large) enterprises. Security solutions are often segmented, lack interoperability, and are expensive to own, which adds a lot of challenges as threats constantly evolve and become more sophisticated.
Todyl is an exceptional organization, and its engineering team achieved remarkable feats within a short span of time. My role involves refining our day-to-day processes to enhance engineering maturity, all while ensuring the consistent delivery of innovative, impactful products and features for our partners.
A significant portion of my focus is devoted to scalability and resilience. Given the ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape and the needs of our partners, my responsibility is to anticipate and forecast our short-term and long-term requirements, enabling us to strategically plan workflows and prioritize effectively.
I love going to art museums and concerts, reading spy novels, and walking my dog. I’m also a startup advisor in my free time, advising growing businesses on some of my favorite topics including cryptography (homomorphic encryption), hardware security, etc.
This is a tough industry that isn’t for everyone. It’s important to develop stress management techniques and routines because the field is so demanding that a lot of people experience burnout.
Regardless of which part of the security industry you’re in, I think there are a few basic skills/tools people need to have:
Subscribe to receive the latest insights, news, and updates from Todyl.