This piece was was written by Juliette Kayyem, former Asst. Sect. at DHS and CNN security analyst. It originally appeared on LinkedIn.
Coronavirus spread silently through the United States for weeks, if not months, and early last week that silent transmission turned into something that’s impossible to ignore. Institutions ranging from my own workplace – Harvard University – to my former government offices in Washington have shut down. And now that many of us are no longer able to go into our offices to work, we are working from home.
Now comes the cybersecurity challenge. Hackers see this new normal as a rich opportunity for them to profit from the data flowing over our jumble of home computers and Wi-Fi setups. To combat them, we need to think beyond the traditional office tools to find an effective way to secure employees’ data from this new realm of exposure and we need to do it quickly.
Fortunately, this is one of those times when smart, light footprint tech really can help in a hurry. I’ve been following a company out of MIT called PreVeil. They provide end-to-end encrypted email and file sharing that is fast to deploy, easy to work with and super secure.
To my eye, PreVeil was made for this moment. Its end-to-end encryption means secure communications without heavy infrastructure. Data is inaccessible to bad actors at all times, even if there’s a breach of a user’s router or a company’s server. Its encrypted email works with apps like Outlook or Gmail, so users can keep their regular email addresses. Its encrypted file sharing works like DropBox, but with much higher security. It integrates easily with Mac and PC applications and its end-to-end encryption means secure data sharing, regardless of our tangle of wires and routers at home.
This week, PreVeil has stepped up on the public service front to offer its platform at no charge to institutions on the frontlines in battling the coronavirus – federal, state and local governments, first responders, crisis management teams and healthcare nonprofits. I think that’s great. As a homeland security pro, I see the vulnerability of those organizations as they fan out to tackle the pandemic and encourage them to take advantage of this offer. The last thing we need is a hacked response effort and I can’t think of a quicker, more effective way to guard against that.
For all kinds of organizations trying to maintain cybersecurity as employees have streamed out the door to home, this is a time to be nimble and smart. The technologies that we relied on to protect us in our offices aren’t available in many of our homes, and working from home means more sensitive information is being shared digitally, via email or file sharing, than ever before. To protect our companies and our data through this disruption, we need to think beyond traditional tools.
The good news is we are saving lives by working at home, with the social distancing that allows. We don’t have to put our cybersecurity at risk in the process. PreVeil’s platform is the kind of smart, fast solution we need to secure and steady our response in this time of challenge. Check it out.