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John Parkinson, Secured Communications: “personal data is becoming increasingly valuable to criminals”

In these post-pandemic times, businesses have shifted to hybrid working models, and while everyone seems to understand the importance of securing the newly decentralized organizational networks, some still struggle to do it right.

While employing tools such as antimalware software combined with virtual private networks is often a step in the right direction, it may be not enough – especially with the increasingly prevalent ransomware attacks in mind. After all, managing several different security SaaS at once can get overwhelming. A solution that combines and keeps every system an organization could need in one place sounds like a dream come true.

With this in mind, Cybernews sat down to talk to John Parkinson, the President and Director at Secured Communications, a secure virtual office solution. They’re focused on providing businesses with a completely secure yet easy way of communicating and protecting personal data in the hybrid working environment.

How has your company evolved since your launch in 2016?

When we started, our primary focus was to support Public Safety and provide a secure service that complimented their use of land/mobile radio. We did that successfully and developed our platform through several major upgrades, which identified that we had a solution for corporate business as well.

Could you introduce us to your virtual office solutions? What are their key features?

We did a complete rebuild of our product architecture in 2021 and released our all-in-one virtual office called Mercury Workspace. This was built from the ground up on state-of-the-art encryption technology, and is the world’s first implementation of Messaging Layer Security. The platform is fully featured and enables instant messaging, calls, 2k video meetings, and unlimited file size transfer all in one easy to use yet ultra-secure application on desktop and mobile devices.

In your opinion, what are the best security practices companies can adopt nowadays to maintain secure remote operations?

Many companies are adopting working from home or hybrid working practices, and this is often a challenge for the security of company information both in terms of communications and data. Simply, the best way to protect remote operations is to use a solution like Mercury that reduces vulnerabilities from moving data/information from one platform to another, and keeps everything in one secure, encrypted system.

How did the pandemic affect your field of work? Were there any new features added to your products as a result?

We already had the most secure tools in place before the pandemic, but what we saw was a huge increase in the use of "bring your own device (BYOD)" and video conferencing. A lot of users want something that ‘just works’ without requiring a lot of technical knowledge. The rebuild that we did to produce Mercury Workspace not only focused on future proofing our security technology, but also an intuitive user interface so that it is easy to use by anyone.

In light of the current global events, maintaining creativity has been a struggle for some companies. How can organizations foster creativity and innovation when the majority of employees are working remotely?

Perhaps against the tide, we have moved from simply being a product supplier to an innovator in the tech security comms space. We realized the fast pace of those that would act to hack data or compromise accounts, so we needed to get in front, way in front of the current curve and design something that would protect organizations not just now, but in the next 5, 10, 15 years. Working remotely actually helped, because we were able to secure the brightest minds in technology and security expertise from across the USA and the UK to design and build our platform.

What issues do you notice come up most often when it comes to companies that don’t have an appropriate collaboration platform?

Companies that do not protect themselves against increasing cyber risks will become more and more vulnerable to attack. This will put their business reputation and operations at risk, as we have seen with many notable ransomware attacks across the world. But collaboration is not just about protection, it is also about productivity and efficiency. I predict email will become history in the next decade, and the use of separate platforms for messaging, file transfer, and video meetings – cumbersome and costly, when an all-in-one solution will do all those things better, for cheaper, and increase productivity.

What kind of threats do you think enterprises and the general public should be ready to take on in the next few years?

Cyberattacks are on the increase, and will continue as criminals and groups become even more sophisticated and target even wider groups of individuals and businesses. Personal data is becoming increasingly valuable to criminals and as we populate websites with our information, it's also becoming more available. We all need to protect our data through a better understanding of the risks and the use of secure platforms which prevent unwanted eyes prying on our information.

In your opinion, what will an average workplace look like in the near future?

I think the workplace has changed forever in many circumstances. We have been forced to work differently through the global pandemic, and we now have realized that remote working practices are more effective and efficient than businesses previously thought.

Share with us, what’s next for Secured Communications?

Secured Communications will continue to innovate and provide solutions that are at least one step ahead of the competition and criminals. We are committed to protecting personal and business data, and to providing solutions that are future-proofed from the challenges ahead, including quantum and super computer attacks.

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