Martin Rudd is the CTO of Telesoft, a UK-headquartered cybersecurity agency that specialises in protecting high volume traffic networks, such as those belonging to governments.
Founded in 1989 in Dorset, UK, Telesoft now has offices around the world and counts the likes of AT&T, Vodafone and Ericsson among its customers. Prior to joining Telesoft as CTO in 2012, Rudd designed FX trading platforms and also founded a snow sports holiday agency.
In this Q&A, the 12th in our weekly CTO Talk series, Rudd explains why the tech industry needs to support education in the sector, talks ethics in data science and shares his love for baking.
Rob Scammell: Tell us a bit about yourself – how did you end up in your current role?
Martin Rudd: I’ve always been interested in stock markets and hacking but working on the markets had an added benefit of maintaining my freedom. I was building automated equity trading platforms when I was invited to meet Telesoft.
Luckily a digital revolution took place as the world exploded with data, supersized networks and cybersecurity, the areas I work in now – computer engineering operating at a huge scale.
What’s the most important thing happening in your field at the moment?
The interconnecting world – it’s challenging technology, people, commerce and sovereign integrity more than ever before. Political battles over 5G show just how important connectivity is and the longer-term need to invest in tech innovation and science education.
Which emerging technology do you think holds the most promise once it matures?
Data science to release equity held in the complex growing data sets organisations are building. Cloud, the explosion of machine learning, telecoms network evolutions and venture capitalism has enabled innovative tech data companies, like Uber, to grow rapidly and globally.
On a different tack, data science will change the traditional dynamic of humans asking questions and machines giving answers; we need to overcome concerns around transparency and ethics of artificial intelligence and machine learning. We can do this through greater understanding, standards and, importantly, diversity – as it will hold up a mirror to organisations and societies.
How do you separate hype from disruptor?
The disruptor stands up to diverse scrutiny – providing simple responses to questions. Hype does not tend to have the same level of quiet robustness.
What’s the best bit of advice you’ve been given?
Keep it simple.
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Where did your interest in tech come from?
Initially just being curious about computers and figuring out the internet from the inside out. That expanded into the hunger to understand the wider role tech plays in politics, society and business economics – then distilling it back down into finding simple solutions to complex problems.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Days are always interesting and different, but they more often than not contain collaboration with customers to help figure out and solve their problems.
Cyber intelligence, market and engineering briefings enable keeping on top of what’s happening right now in the business and also understand what our customers are facing. Allowing time for tech research and wider reading is also important to support the innovative streak of the business.
What do you do to relax?
I love baking bread. It’s all about the way in which three simple ingredients come together and the smell that fills the house is incredible. Everything from ciabatta to sourdough, spelt tin loaves to Danish rye bread gets churned out. It’s interesting to keep a skill going that millions of people over thousands of years all around the world have done. It also means I need to do lots of exercise…
Who is your tech hero?
All the academic staff teaching the new tech talent. Supporting education and careers is a responsibility the tech industry needs to encourage through programmes like work placements, sponsoring university projects and supportive mentoring. Benefits to business and society such as analysing diseases, improving communications and maintaining healthy tech are huge and long-lasting.
What’s the biggest technological challenge facing humanity?
We need to overcome the issue of trust in tech. Fast tech evolution, understanding AI, dark web markets, data privacy, the power of social media are just some of the things that are holding back digital transformations and adoptions.
Seeing tech used to grow companies, fight disease, protect the vulnerable in society is great news, but we need to build more trust in tech to leverage the benefits of innovation.