Meet our #TravelHeroes – Interview with Michał Błaszak, Information Security Officer at WorkTrips.com
Meet Michał, our Information Security Officer, whose journey took him from drawing comics for a local newspaper to becoming a cybersecurity mastermind!
Michał’s started his journey in our thriving startup 4 years ago, where he became an integral part of our testing department. From there, his insatiable curiosity and dedication to cybersecurity led him to embark on a whole new role, safeguarding our organization against the ever-evolving landscape of digital threats.
In this interview, we’ll delve into the intricacies of cybersecurity as Michał shares how he stays one step ahead of cybercriminals, fending off unauthorized access and potential data breaches. Be prepared to learn the secrets behind creating a robust security infrastructure, fostering a sense of safety among the team and our valued clients.
MATEUSZ: What was your first job?
MICHAŁ: My first job? In high school, I drew comics for the local newspaper and illustrated articles that appeared there.
MATEUSZ: I didn’t expect that! I was betting on work in an orchard, picking apples! 🙂 So, how did your journey at WorkTrips.com begin?
MICHAŁ: This journey started just like any other professional journey of mine – I knew someone who knew someone, and that someone happened to be looking for someone like me 🙂
MATEUSZ: So, you could say you got the job through a recommendation? 🙂
MICHAŁ: You could say that.
MATEUSZ: And who were they looking for at WorkTrips.com, and what were you supposed to do?
MICHAŁ: At that time, WorkTrips.com was setting up the testing department. The company was looking for someone who would take care of the entire area, streamline processes, take a broad view of software development quality, and also build a team. At that moment, I was just finishing a project for a large, several-hundred-employee company, where I was responsible for rebuilding the testing department and the entire quality process. So, it was quite similar to what I was going to do at WorkTrips.com.
MATEUSZ: You could say it was a perfect match, except for the fact that the environment you were moving to was smaller and definitely less corporate, right?
MICHAŁ: Yes, that was also a plus. Such an environment allows for serious solutions without the burden of formalities 🙂
MATEUSZ: How does it look now? What position do you hold, and how long have you been working at WorkTrips.com?
MICHAŁ: I’ve been here for 4 years now, and currently, I hold the position of Information Security Officer, dealing with information security broadly.
MATEUSZ: How did your area of responsibilities change so much over the years?
MICHAŁ: The topic of security has interested me for many years; it has been and still is my passion. When I was involved in testing, I spent a lot of time after work developing myself in the field of cybersecurity. I took courses, certifications, and read a lot. At the same time, at WorkTrips.com, information security, or cybersecurity, was a topic that, due to the growing organization, required structured care. One of the values of working in a startup is great flexibility, agility, and a streamlined decision-making process. So, although I was a bit apprehensive about it at first, after several discussions and my proposals related to security, I received a green light from the CTO, who motivated me to go in this direction. It was even more fitting since my previous mission related to the testing department was coming to an end.
MATEUSZ: So, you reinvented yourself, got a chance to showcase your skills, and turned your passion into actions that started bringing value to the organization?
MICHAŁ: Exactly. From the beginning, it was about creating value, a sense of security, and fulfilling all organizational and technical requirements when working with various clients, including the demanding ones. The company was embarking on a path of rapid growth, and security was crucial for us. Establishing a dedicated person in this area was necessary. We started developing areas that helped us function smoothly in this dynamic environment, full of predators waiting to attack 🙂 (laughs).
MATEUSZ: So, the often clichéd phrases from job ads like “We offer career development opportunities” turned out to be true in this case? 🙂
MICHAŁ: Indeed, my professional profile has changed somewhat, and my career has taken a slightly different direction, which I am very pleased with 🙂
MATEUSZ: What does your workday look like? Are you setting traps and catching hackers? 🙂 Can you somehow describe the routine of your workday?
MICHAŁ: Yes, we set traps and build walls. Seriously though, there are several repetitive tasks I handle, such as administrative and analytical tasks. However, there are many things that appear suddenly, are unpredictable, and usually require the most time.
MATEUSZ: What is the biggest challenge in your work as an Information Security Officer?
MICHAŁ: There isn’t one single most important challenge; it’s hard to pinpoint. But for me, one element that stands out could be raising awareness about security among employees. Raising awareness about new threats, how to protect against attacks, or data leaks.
MATEUSZ: How do you assess the level of awareness related to threats?
MICHAŁ: Globally, the level of awareness varies among society, to put it mildly :). Within our organization, it is looking better and better. I have significant opportunities to build and educate employees in the area of cybersecurity. The assumption is quite simple – unfortunately, people are often the weakest link, susceptible to social engineering, through which various types of attacks can be conducted. Therefore, this organic work of explaining and repeating to people what is important and where they may encounter danger seems to be crucial. What is satisfying to me is that this education and sensitivity within the team are showing results. Any suspicious content, attempts at contact, or events that raise doubts are quite often reported, and it’s evident that the team is vigilant about such behaviors.
MATEUSZ: Going back to these challenges, is there anything else you would like to point out?
MICHAŁ: Certainly, a major challenge is the environment in which we work. It’s full of dangers and people who would like to threaten the organization. Every day, we need to find answers and protection against unauthorized attempts to access, fraud, or all sorts of other attacks. This environment is incredibly dynamic. It doesn’t work like you build the entire security structure and can sit back and watch how well it functions. It’s a constant process of adapting to changes inside and outside the organization, keeping up with changes that arise practically on a daily basis, and reacting to new threats that we may not be susceptible to today, but tomorrow we might be, and we may not even be aware that we are.
MATEUSZ: Your job seems stressful!
MICHAŁ: This job of Information Security Officer comes with great responsibility, and unfortunately, great responsibility often comes with stress. But it can be seen as taking up challenges. It’s a bit like being on stage. Before the concert, there’s stage fright, but it’s a positive, motivating side of stress.
MATEUSZ: Is stress something you strongly feel? How do you cope with it?
MICHAŁ: I think it’s not beyond the norm. There are stressful situations in both private and professional life, but I know how to deal with them :). At work, a significant support is collaborating with highly competent and committed people who are engaged in their work. That builds a sense of security in me and often reduces the level of stress.
MATEUSZ: After work, what helps you relax?
MICHAŁ: I play in a rock band, actually more punk-funk style. I also like to spend time outdoors, and gardening brings me great joy. During the winter season, I often engage in building model ships.
MATEUSZ: You are a dad-bassist, a cybersecurity specialist – quite a resume!
MICHAŁ: Maybe I should make a business card like that? 🙂
MATEUSZ: Now, a question from the Sci-Fi category – what would you say to yourself from 2005?
MICHAŁ: Keep going, Michał!
MATEUSZ: Lastly, tell us what travel destinations you’re considering for your vacation?
MICHAŁ: Mediterranean climates. I love Turkey, and my last two trips were to Greece.
At WorkTrips.com, we’re very proud our exceptional team members like our Information Security Officer – Michał, who play a vital role in shaping our startup’s success. Stay tuned as we continue to unveil the inspiring stories and behind-the-scenes of our talented #TravelHeroes, who bring passion, innovation, and dedication to every aspect of our journey. Discover more about the heart of our community and the incredible individuals who make WorkTrips.com an extraordinary place to be.