The piece of hardware at the cutting edge of cybersecurity.

By John Chambers, Founder and CEO of JC2 Ventures and former CEO and Chairman of Cisco

As a mentor, investor, and longtime player in the tech industry, I’m frequently asked which market segments I’m betting big on over the coming decade. My knack for spotting market transitions and the technologies that will fuel these shifts partially stems from my relentless focus on outcomes. That’s why I approach investing like a multiplayer chess game; I play out the entire game, replay various scenarios and anticipate others’ moves before I make the decision to invest my time and resources.

A key element of the “chess game” strategy is about seeing around corners and anticipating the challenges that could arise with any technology. I’ve always believed in the power of digitization, but I’m also acutely aware of the security challenges that come with it. While mobile technology has become an indispensable tool for today’s workforce, privacy concerns around data collection are also creating significant risks for businesses. When it comes to capturing our sensitive data, hackers and malicious actors are turning toward the devices that have become an extension our ourselves: our smartphones. That’s why cybersecurity is one of our focus areas at JC2 Ventures, and the reason I’m convinced that Privoro’s SafeCase is one of the most important pieces of hardware that exists today.

Governments Are Catching On, Here’s Why Business Should Too

Governments and businesses alike are starting to acknowledge the real threats of mobile espionage and the competitive disadvantages it can create. Consequently, federal agencies have adopted temporary and ineffective solutions to ensure that their most sensitive information is not at risk to eavesdropping. For instance, the Pentagon adopted new cellphone restrictions this past Spring that all but ban mobile phones in areas where the processing, handling or discussion of classified information occurs. While this solution handles the immediate threat of surveillance and espionage, it’s not sustainable for the modern workplace.

Not only do these policies hurt productivity in the settings they are enforced in, they also tarnish employee morale and harm recruiting efforts. According to research by Frost & Sullivan, smartphones “make employees more productive and efficient at work, and deliver a better work-life balance to those who use them.” In fact, smartphones in the office boost productivity by 23 percent and employee work-life balance by 13 percent, not to mention government employees gain back an average of 52 minutes of productivity per day by using a smartphone at work. But worst of all, restrictive phone policies are actually back-firing against overall government mobile security measures. According to a survey by Lookout, mobile security strategies are implemented at 96 percent of federal agencies, yet over 60 percent reported they ran into security incidents that involved mobile devices.

For businesses, restricted smartphone policies are simply unrealistic given the nature of our current work environment. Yet they pose a greater threat to enterprises today more than ever before. Threats to enterprise mobile security don’t stop once employees step out of the office. Smartphone cameras and microphones can be compromised at any time, from any location - and no one is immune to these threats - not even the President of the United States. Smartphones can be quickly exploited and turned into the perfect surveillance device, which is why businesses that want to stay ahead of the curve need to rethink their mobile security efforts.

The Shift from Reactive to Proactive Cybersecurity

In the Digital Age, no company is too big to fail, and no startup is too small to win their industry. This is particularly true for players in the cybersecurity space, which is becoming smarter and more agile as companies make the shift from reactive to proactive threat monitoring, detection and prevention. Anticipating these market transitions is essential for any startup to survive. During my tenure at Cisco, it was our ability to spot market transitions that enabled us to evolve from a routers and switches company, into a mobile and video tech enterprise, and then again to a cloud computing, global tech titan.

The Economist is right, “the world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data.” In today’s data-driven economy, it’s no wonder why companies with the best security posture are adopting a Zero Trust architecture. Considering the exponential growth of attack vectors and the growing sophistication of hackers in recent years, Zero Trust is rooted in the belief, “never trust, always verify.” This approach calls for the verification of everything that attempts to connect to its systems before granting access. When it comes to mobile security specifically, Privoro’s SafeCase is the most promising Zero Trust remedy that currently exists. Under the assumption that any smartphone is or can be compromised - a fair one given the recent news about Apple’s FaceTime bug - counter-surveillance protection can only be issued through physical and verifiable protections.

This will continue to be a C-Suite issue over the coming months, not only for CIOs and CISOs, but for CEOs too. In fact, Gartner predicts that 100 percent of large enterprises will be asked to report to their board of directors on cybersecurity and technology on an annual basis by 2020. Mobile security solution is no longer optional, it is mission critical. That’s why I’m investing my time and resources into the only counter-surveillance device that allows organizations to reclaim control over their most sensitive information.

A few years ago, I bet that 40 percent of companies would not exist in the next decade. Today, I’d say the odds of survival are even lower for enterprises that do not focus on disrupting themselves or move aggressively for innovation, including very active programs to partner with creative startups like Privoro, who are carving out new territory in cybersecurity. Back in 2013, when smartphones really started to take off, founder and CEO Mike Fong was already anticipating the threats that would come in a mobile-first world. Now is the time to turn to Privoro as your key partner because they’re committed to protecting the most important information in the world – yours.

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