Sophos Community: Staff Spotlight - Richard Baldry

In our staff spotlights, we get up close and personal with our amazing Sophos team members.  

Up next is Richard Baldry, Senior Product Manager of STG.

Let's Talk Career 

1. Can you tell us about your role at Sophos? 
I’m a Product Manager in the Network Security Group. I’ve worked on web security for the past 15 years, including our standalone Sophos Web Appliance, SG UTM, Endpoint Web Control and Sophos Firewall. 

In a nutshell, the role of a Product Manager is that we must understand and prioritize market problems that customers need us to solve. We work with engineers and other key stakeholders within the organization to help develop effective business solutions.  

2. How did you get to the role you're in now? 
I’ve had many other roles ever since I started working in Sophos. I was a Software Developer, and IT manager, and even became the Managing Director in Sophos Australia. After that stint, I returned to the UK and led our OEM and Alliances group.  

With all that experience across the technical and business sides of the organization, along with the experiences of working with customers and other technology vendors, the variety and breadth of a role in Product Management was an obvious choice. 

3. What inspired you to get into IT and security? 
In the very early 1980s, my primary school teacher brought a computer (a Commodore PET) to our class, and I got hooked immediately. During my university years, our computer facilities were infected with one of the first computer viruses (Stoned) and I got involved in cleaning things up.  

After graduating, I learned about job openings at Sophos and its sister company, Virus Bulletin. I thought it would be an interesting way to combine my interests and my skills. After meeting the founders at my interview, I knew it was the right fit for me.  

4. What do you enjoy most about your role? 
Technology is constantly changing and in many areas of IT you are still always solving the same problems. But cybersecurity is different - our problem space changes with technology itself – new technology brings new security problems. And there are always new challenges to get stuck into. 

Working with all the smart people at Sophos to find solutions to these problems and keep the world of technology secure never gets old! 

5. What's something you've done during your time in the organization that you're proud of? 
My proudest moments working in Sophos include: 

  • Setting up Sophos’s first operations in Australia 
  • Growing the business to $4M over two years 
  • Providing a home for the first SophosLabs operation outside of the UK – together with Paul Ducklin – allowing our first ‘follow the sun’ operations 

More recently, working with the NSG Engineering team to deliver a completely new high-performance solution for TLS decryption in Sophos Firewall version 18 was very rewarding. 

6. Describe a typical day in your Sophos life. 
Being on the west coast of Canada, my typical day starts early so that I can connect with colleagues in India and Europe. After that, I review project status, groom feature backlogs, help the Sales teams and SEs with customer issues and synchronize with the different teams required to keep our products going. 

During my non-meeting time, I spend it doing market research, drafting feature requirements, and thinking about how to solve customer problems. 

7. What's the best advice you can give to someone who has just started their career? 
Get involved as much as possible. Take every opportunity to learn – not just about your role, but about how other parts of the business work and what drives them. 

8. What would you do (for a career) if you weren't doing this? 
I originally applied for a role as an assistant editor at Virus Bulletin, which was owned by Sophos’ founders. Jan and Peter offered me a role with Sophos instead, but I guess if I’d got that job, I would be working in publishing right now. 

Role in the Sophos Community  

9. What's a fun fact about you that you could share with the Community? 
I designed the graphical illustrations used to show the working of the ML detection models in our Intelix analysis reports. 

10. Have you posted any Recommended Read guides on the Community? 
Yes, I have written several Recommended Read articles and KB articles. Here are some of them: 

Who is Richard outside of Work?  

11. What are your hobbies outside of work? 
I play the Tuba. I play in a British-style Brass Band in Vancouver, which is great fun. I also enjoy baking bread and playing disc golf, although not at the same time.  

12. What’s something you’re planning on doing in the next year that you’ve never done? 
I recently managed to source some food-grade sodium hydroxide so that I can try making soft pretzels. The secret is you need to bathe the dough in a lye solution before baking, which gives it that dark brown color and unique flavor.  

13. What's one thing you're really good at? 
My kids tell me I make a really good sourdough loaf.

14. If you could learn how to do anything, what would it be? 
I would love to be able to play the piano properly. I had a few years of lessons when I was a kid, but not enough to produce anything particularly musical. 

15. Tell us about where you live (and your journey getting there - if applicable). 
I live in Vancouver, Canada. I moved here, with my young family, 18 years ago. At the time, I was leading our OEM partnership team and working a lot with customers based in North America.  

16. What's your favorite thing about where you live? 
The city of Vancouver has a range of mountains along its northern edge that are lush and green in the summer and capped with snow in the winter. As you drive around the city, there are places where you suddenly get dramatic views of the mountains between the buildings.  

Even after 18 years, these still take my breath away.  

17. Tell us something that might surprise us about you. 
I am a shareholder in the Spanish football club SD Eibar.

18. Any favorite line from a movie? 
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” - Ferris Bueller’s Day Off 

19. If you had a superpower, what would it be? 
The ability to transform atmospheric carbon dioxide into industrial diamonds and oxygen gas with my bare hands.