Meet the team: Topsec CTO, Gavin Roberts

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Meet The Team: Gavin Roberts Chief Technical Officer Send an Email Gavin Roberts Chief Technical Officer A lover of technology and a committed family man, Gavin Roberts has the work/life balance conundrum sussed with a focus on technology’s capabilities and regular (not as regular as he’d like though!) fishing trips. We recently enjoyed a friendly chat over coffee to delve deeper into Gavin’s world, both professionally and personally. Here’s what we discovered! Q. 1 Can you share key experiences that led to your role at Topsec Cloud Solutions and how they shape your approach? Gavin: Sure, I’ve had quite the journey in the tech field. I started in support roles with major companies like DEC and Compaq, which later merged into HP. This early experience laid the foundation for my tech career, emphasising the critical nature of robust support systems. Then I got an opportunity to move into the secure payments industry. This was a pivotal moment. It was the early days of online payments, and I was deeply involved in fraud prevention. This role gave me a thorough grounding in understanding the intricacies of security and technology. The next step for me was a natural progression to focus more on coding and security solutions. Which led me to the CTO role at Topsec. My approach has always been about blending robust technology with strong user support. I believe that technology should serve people. Not the other way around!  “I believe that technology should serve people. Not the other way around!” Q. 2 Can you outline major shifts in email security and their impact on Topsec’s strategies and the industry? Gavin: Over the years, the landscape of email security has evolved significantly. The rise of AI and machine learning has been transformative, but we need to have a balanced approach. It takes time to separate the hype from the true functionality. At Topsec, we integrate AI cautiously to enhance our existing strategies while maintaining the human touch. This is crucial in crisis situations. We’ve also seen an increase in sophisticated threats like QR code phishing and tricky OneDrive URLs, which can change after passing security checks. To combat these, we’ve developed tools that re-scan links and attachments over time to catch these delayed threats. “This proactive approach keeps our clients safe and cements our place as an industry leader in innovation.” Q. 3 How do you ensure a human-centric tech approach amidst technical complexities, and can you share examples? Gavin: Technology is complex. But Topsec sets itself apart by investing the time to make it accessible and beneficial to our users. This isn’t lip service; we put our money where our mouth is. For example, we prioritise user-friendly interfaces and clear communication, so our clients understand what our technology is doing for them. A great example of our human-centric approach is our customer support. Our clients regularly comment on how reassuring it is to speak with a person when they encounter an email security issue. We have a dedicated team that not only addresses technical issues but also ensures our clients feel supported throughout their security journey. It’s about building trust and relationships, not just offering tech solutions. Q. 4 Highlight a significant success story during your tenure at Topsec that exceeded expectations. Gavin: One standout moment was the development of our “Inbox Protect” tool. It was initially designed to offer internal tenant protection but ended up solving several emerging loopholes involving dynamic links. This tool has been crucial in preventing new kinds of email-based attacks, protecting their email eco system both internally and externally. Q. 5 What emerging trends in email security excite you, and how is Topsec preparing for them? Gavin: The integration of AI in cybersecurity is particularly exciting. As mentioned, there’s a lot of hype around AI but some remarkable use cases are also emerging. “At Topsec, we’re focused on leveraging this technology to enhance our predictive capabilities and improve the user experience.” Sometimes speed is a good thing and sometimes not. At Topsec, we’re deliberately taking a gradual and informed, and even incremental approach, to ensure the adoption of AI ensures we remain at the cutting edge without compromising on security. Q. 6 Share strategies for maintaining work-life balance in a high-pressure tech environment. Gavin: Well, life is busy which makes the business case for taking breaks even stronger! I’m from Wales originally, and while I’m delighted Ireland has been home for many years already, it’s a great feeling to head back to see my family and friends too. I’m lucky to be able to do that fairly regularly with my friends. I also love fishing and a fishing trip is my ideal weekend away. And then I also sketch. I’ve drawn portraits for many years. In fact, I was once considering studying art. I’m glad technology won out but that I still draw. People occasionally ask me to draw portraits for them, perhaps of their children or grandchildren to give as a gift. So I still get plenty of opportunities to get my sketch pad out! Q. 7 How does customer feedback influence product development and service strategies at Topsec? Gavin: Customer feedback is integral to our development process. It helps us understand user needs and guides our product enhancements. For instance, feedback on our email security tools has led to improvements that make them more intuitive and effective. Feedback is how we evolve in alignment with our customers’ needs. Q. 8 Describe your leadership style and its impact on your team’s dynamics and performance. Gavin: The broader culture at Topsec is all about taking ownership and this filters into my leadership of my team. It’s important to convey to team members that they are part of a team. We’re here to support each other, and as CTO I am determined to give my team members everything they need to succeed. However, at the same time I create an environment where my staff feel empowered to take initiative and own their projects. We