How do you describe your job to average people?
I usually just tell people that I work in IT security and then expand on that by telling them that I help develop software to aid a wide range of organizations in blocking spam and viruses from getting into their users' inbox, and stop their users from visiting inappropriate sites at work.
What was one of your biggest challenges?
In terms of role challenges, although the specifics of a head of R&D role are organization-dependent, the set of issues that we face are universal. Challenges exist in areas of technology partner selection, managing employees and corporate role identity.
What makes you most proud?
I am most proud of how my relatively small, but highly motivated development team is continuously innovating and developing high quality anti-spam and web filtering solutions which protect thousands of organizations globally.
What keeps you up at night?
I lose sleep when there's an issue or bug with a project that hasn't been resolved yet, or when a new exploit is published for software which we may use in our products. With email and web browsing being so integral to everyone's work routine, if there's a known exploitable issue it's imperative that we get a hotfix issued to address it.
Why did you get into IT security?
My first job was at DEC [Digital Equipment Corp.] where I worked as a software engineer on the first commercial firewall. It was a very exciting time to be working in security, and I felt I was building products that mattered and thankfully I've continued to do that. Ever since, I've been fascinated with developing non-intrusive security tools to protect users.
SpamTitan Technologies is a Galway, Ireland-based security solutions vendor with customers in more than 100 countries.