Meet the team: Topsec CTO, Gavin Roberts

meet the team-gavin roberts banner

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

Meet the team: Topsec MD, Niall Mackey

Meet the team- Niall Mackey

Meet The Team: Niall Mackey Sales Managing Director Send an Email Niall Mackey Commercial Director Our MD is a sports fanatic, plays pickleball at league level and enjoys celebrating the wins in life. We recently sat down with a cup of tea to discover more of what makes Niall tick. What ensued was a great conversation. We trust you will enjoy it too! Q. 1 Can you share key experiences that led to your role at Topsec Cloud Solutions and how they shape your approach? Niall: A story I tell quite frequently is how I landed up in IT because I was avoiding the religious studies class at school. From an optional study point of view there were just two choices – IT or religious studies. I suppose this is the part where we say “and the rest is history”.  But all jokes aside, this key experience does speak of one of the foundational aspects to the approach that led me to my role at Topsec Cloud Solutions which is that I followed my curiosity. Then another stroke of luck came my way in my early career in that “I discovered that while I loved the tech I could also communicate well with people.” This led to my tenure being the IT Manager at Bank of America where my team and I developed the first paperless office!  In time, I also held roles at Interoute, Nokie Networks and Horse Racing Ireland. In January 2008, I joined Topsec. All these years later, I still find the work we do fascinating to protect our clients’ businesses from cyber threats. I greatly enjoy the people I work with, both our team and our clients, and I make it my personal mission to fight the baddies every day. Q. 2 Can you outline major shifts in email security and their impact on Topsec’s strategies and the industry? Niall: Firstly, the optics for cyber hackers are changing. For too long, the prevailing image was one of a lone wolf teenage hacker in a hoodie drinking a redbull hacking through firewalls. Now, people are waking up to the fact that cybercriminals run massive businesses themselves. You can now purchase “ransomware as a service” just as you can do for software.  Then, when I joined Topsec, most organisations had on-prem solutions. Easily 90% of businesses had their entire business based on their premises. Topsec was always flying the flag for cloud-based solutions, before this term even entered the mainstream. Now, I’d say 98% of our clients have cloud-based email security data solutions. The next big shift I witnessed was the emergence of ransomware. Again, it’s now a commonplace term but it was not even a factor when I first moved into email security. Topsec was ahead of the curve on this one because we had identified that links could be weaponised and developed a URL protector.   Our URL protector goes up to 10 links down to check for any poisoned links in the “long tail” behind the link a client may be asked to click on.  Quite frankly, our URL protector is the best in the business. Q. 3 How do you ensure a human-centric sales approach amidst technical complexities, and can you share examples? Niall: Although the image of cybersecurity is heavily focused on the tech side of things, it’s not difficult to remember that humans are at the absolute centre of what we do.  Cyber attacks have really serious implications and those are borne by the people in the organisation. Especially by those in leadership positions. One of Topsec’s chief differentiators is that we actually have highly trained experts monitoring all of clients’ businesses. Yes, we make extensive use of AI capabilities, and we see technology as an integral part of the “cybersecurity solution stack” for all businesses, but you cannot replace human expertise.  We tell our clients our team will know you have a problem before you do – and we’ll already be on it sorting it out. Time and time again, we’ve been told this is why we’ve won their business by clients. Our human touch is highly valued. Q. 4 Highlight a significant success story during your tenure at Topsec that exceeded expectations. Niall: We work with both small and large companies across many industries. To name just a few, we currently have clients in engineering, intellectual property, food, healthcare, agriculture and forestry among others. Our case studies provide real world examples of the work we do for these clients. And the impact this work has had in protecting our clients from cyber attacks. Q. 5 What emerging trends in email security excite you, and how is Topsec preparing for them? Niall: AI is the big new thing on the block, but all the hype takes away the true game-changer this type of technology truly offers. We’ve had AI, or perhaps, more accurately ML (machine learning) solutions and tools in the email security space for years. What we’re seeing now is those tools and solutions become even more refined as firms build Zero Trust Architecture to really build a moat of protection around their data. We’ve also seen Google and Yahoo get serious about prioritising email security with their rulings on DMARC records.  Our marketing on this has taken the angle that email is growing up. It’s an accurate description of how massive email providers are taking steps to thwart cyber attacks via inboxes. And it’s a message that’s cutting through. Q. 6 Share strategies for maintaining work-life balance in a high-pressure sales environment. Niall: This is where the pickleball comes in! I’ve loved sport since I was a child and that love has only strengthened over the years. I played and coached tennis for a number of years, but my latest passion has been pickleball. Topsec sponsors a league and I am part of a team. It’s huge fun! My wife constantly asks me why I’m running around like a deranged lunatic, but what can I say, it’s my preferred way to