Why I Joined Todyl: Spotlight on Michael Pak

Zach Dressander
May 26, 2023

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.

How did you 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.

What have been some of your security career highlights so far?

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.

What drew you to working at Todyl?

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.

What does your role as VP of Engineering at Todyl involve?

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.

What can we find you doing outside of work?

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.

What’s your advice for people looking to get into security?

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:

  • Problem-solving abilities and analytical thinking: These skills are essential for effectively addressing security challenges and finding solutions
  • Foundational knowledge of computers, networks, and cryptography: Cryptography is the foundation of good security, and a strong understanding of computers and networks is crucial for comprehending the intricacies of the field
  • Strong soft skills: Effective written and verbal communication skills are vital for conveying complex security concepts and collaborating with colleagues and stakeholders
  • Hunger for new knowledge: Given the rapid pace of change in cybersecurity, professionals need to stay updated with the latest advancements and threats
Stay up to date

Subscribe to receive the latest insights, news, and updates from Todyl.

Additional reading

Todyl updates

Sign-up to get the latest from Todyl sent straight to your inbox.