Michael Figueroa, the Senior Director of Strategy and Information Security Services at Toptal, is the guest in the recent episode of the Dinis Guarda YouTube Podcast series. He shares valuable insights about how global businesses and talent, through platforms like Toptal, can make significant advancements in the current hyper-changing technological landscape, while maintaining the highest standards of cybersecurity and ethics. The podcast is powered by platforms like openbusinesscouncil and citiesabc.

As industries are transformed by automation, artificial intelligence, and digital disruption, organisations must adapt to survive and thrive. Acquiring and retaining skilled professionals who can navigate these hyper-changing markets is a strategic imperative for companies across all sectors. 

Toptal is a global freelancing platform that connects businesses with software engineers, designers, finance experts, product managers, project managers, and more. Michael Figueroa is responsible for establishing and growing Toptal's security services and has more than 20 years of experience in various security and consulting roles. 

He highlighted that the current pace of technological change has created a seismic shift in the talent landscape. As businesses race to stay ahead, they require professionals who possess a blend of technical expertise, adaptability, and a growth mindset. 

"The core theme is to move quickly. We know the market is going to turn, it always does. It's just a matter of rebaselining and figuring out the pathways of the future. Networks like Toptal are helping businesses adapt to these shifts in the most nimble and agile fashion so that they focus on the solutions that they have established for themselves,” Michael shared with Dinis.

More interviews

How Businesses And Remote Workers Cope With Tech And Generative AI: Insights from Michael Figueroa, Toptal's Senior Director of Strategy, Information Security Services 

Aaron Lau, CEO Of Gusto Collective, With Dinis Guarda On The Future Of The Metaverse And The Creative Industries

Dinis Guarda Interviews Samir Ceric, COO Of Blocksport & Discusses Digitalisation & Tokenization In the Sports & Industry

Innovation As The Tool To Create Balance In Society And Business: Hirander Misra, Chairman And CEO Of GMEX Group, Discusses The Pivotal Role That Technology Plays

Mitigating Cybersecurity and ethical issues in the web 3.0 world

In the past, organisations and individuals relied heavily on walled cybersecurity measures such as firewalls, antivirus software, and intrusion detection systems to fortify their defences. While these measures provided a level of protection, they often operated on static rules and signatures that struggled to keep pace with the rapidly evolving threat landscape. 

"The perception of control in the yesteryears has always been a myth", Michael said.

He argued that cybercriminals constantly find new ways to breach these walls, rendering traditional measures inadequate in the face of emerging threats such as advanced malware, social engineering, and zero-day exploits.

According to Michael, staying informed and continuously learning about emerging threats, vulnerabilities, and best practices is crucial for effective defence. 

"In this hyper-changing environment, we just have to understand that from a security perspective, our best opportunity is to keep up with the changes by being informed about it and by utilising our available talent to help us in that process. It's important to understand how this change is impacting us, instead of trying to wall ourselves from it, so that we can actually start engaging our workforce to better use it and be better custodians of what it is to be a part of corporate culture", said Michael.

In the technological dynamic world, evolution of talent and skill is the key

Cybersecurity, Ethics, And Talent Management Dinis Guarda Interviews Toptal’s Michael Figueroa 2.png
In a rapidly changing landscape, industries recognize the need for experts in disruptive technology.

As industries grapple with this transformative landscape, there is a growing recognition of the need for experts who possess a deep understanding of disruptive technology. However, it is equally important to acknowledge that experience will unfold organically as we embark on the journey of harnessing these innovations. Michael told Dinis:

"It's an interesting time when we are facing these major disruptive events. There will be a huge focus on the experts who understand this disruptive technology. But we also need to recognise that experience is going to be organic as we start learning how to use it." 

Therefore, a synergy between expertise and experience is essential. While experts provide the necessary knowledge and guidance, experience adds a layer of practical wisdom that can only be gained through active engagement with these transformative technologies. Organizations should foster an environment that encourages collaboration, enabling experts and novices alike to learn from each other's insights and experiences.

"There is an emerging trend where companies are going to hire talent based on skills, ones that are evolving with the markets. These companies would then find an edge over their competitors while making an overall impact", Michael highlighted.

Misuse of tech should never be a barrier for us to learn and embrace it

Technology, in its essence, is neutral. It is the way we utilize and directs its capabilities that determine its impact. In the realm of technology, we often come across instances where a promising innovation is used for malicious purposes. From social media platforms to cutting-edge advancements like artificial intelligence and biotechnology, every good tech has the potential for misuse.

"Technology has a history of bringing about disruptions that can potentially be used badly. But we will still continue to innovate. That's the best thing about humans is that we continue to push boundaries, even though we don't always succeed in the best of ways", said Michael.

He highlighted the essence of discussions and forums on the potential misuse of Generative AI, because it paves the way to establish a consensus and ultimately create a policy framework for the same. 

To listen to the full podcast episode, click here.

To explore other podcast episodes, visit Dinis Guarda YouTube channel.